At last, a European night provides a much needed confidence boost for Scottish football

November 6, 2009

So, another European night has passed by, and still Celtic haven’t managed a win. Yes, this means we’re hanging on in the Europa League by the skin of our teeth, and Rangers are as good-as-gone from the Champions League. Not only this, but Scotland’s other representatives suffered defeats in the Europa League qualifying rounds to really damage the co-efficent.  A bad season in Europe all round for the game north of the border, but I’d argue last night provided a smidgen of optimism for Celtic at least.

Hamburg are one hell of a side. The German Bundesliga is one of the top leagues in Europe, and just this summer they spent £12 million on young Swedish striker Marcus Berg just to warm their bench . That is investment we can only dream of at Parkhead. That kind of money has taken them up to second in their domestic league table, and should see them in the Champions League next season.

Of course, we saw just how good they were when they beat us on our own patch a couple of weeks ago. So then, I’d imagine many shared my trepidation ahead of last night’s match at the Nordbank Arena. However, what was to follow was a thoroughly decent Celtic performance, and we were so unfortunate not to get the win we craved.

If Scott McDonald had taken a modicum of form into the match we’d have been two goals clear at the break, and Barry Robson should have perhaps done better early on. Granted, second half we were quieter, but Samaras should certainly have scored when put through by N’Guemo. And for once, we coped at the back. I’ve lost count of the number of away days where we’ve just surrendered goals without making our opposition work for them, yet last night I think we can be proud of our defenders.

Now that’s not to say we don’t have problems. I’ve said in previous blogs that Mogga should rip the squad apart in January, and bring in the type of player that suits his style of play. Indeed, our biggest problem last night was our inability to put the ball in the net, something which has haunted us since last season, so a new striker is a must.

However, I for one would like to congratulate the players on a thoroughly creditable performance last night. A few more like that and the title will undoubtedly be back at Paradise in May. After all, nothing else will do.

I believe it was Bill Shankly who once said “First is First. Second is nothing”. Touche, Mr Shankly, Touche.

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