While attending a music festival in Murcia, Spain at the weekend for the first time in years I listened to a Celtic game on the radio. We could not locate a bar showing the game or get it online so we enjoyed a few beers on the balcony of our hotel.
Still buzzing from the bands we had danced to at the festival the night before we settled onto the balcony to listen to the game with Packie Bonner for company on commentary. Rene my big Celtic supporting Norwegian mate joined me for the game and even brought the beers.
The usual conversation took place between us that most fans have before games when you see the team sheet. James Forest was the surprise getting a rare start on Livvy’s plastic pitch. Would there be a European hangover? Would it be another plastic pitch disappointment?
Thankfully none of the above happened and Celtic ran out 3-0 winners with 10 men after Joe Hart got sent off after Reo Hatate opened the scoring from the penalty spot. On form Matt O Riley and Daizen Maeda added to the tally.
When Hatate opened the scoring a loud roar could be heard from my fifth floor balcony only to find out that a wedding was taking place underneath us in the early afternoon sunshine. The staff gave us the signal to be quiet and we had to be a bit more reserved in our celebrations for the other 2 goals.
After the game I noticed a hooped top at the swimming pool in the distance and when I arrived down for a swim it was the famous hoops of Celtic alright. It was Jackie Stewart and his lovely wife Sandra who I had met at the Las Vegas Celtic Convention last year.
It’s a small world and if I had met Jackie before the game we could have watched the game as he had it on his room. Celtic fans are everywhere, This is how it feels to Celtic.
Andrew Milne is Editor of More than 90 Minutes and host of the Celtic Soul Podcast
Its been 22 years today since More than 90 Minutes first went on sale outside Celtic Park. It’s been some buzz travelling up and down Scotland, Europe and beyond covering the Celtic Fans journey following the famous Celtic FC.
There have been ups and downs along the way but we thank everybody who has bought a copy, subscribed to the fanzine or sponsored us from 2001 to the present day. Special mention to the ground sellers from over the decades who stood in all weathers selling the fanzine before and after games.
To everybody who contributed articles we thank you for making the fanzine what it is today as we work on issue 129. Fan media has changed a lot since then and we have had to follow kicking and screaming into the digital age but with your support we are still able to put out the print edition against the odds.
On Tuesday night we faced Feyenoord for the first time competitively since that night in Milan in 1970. It’s a different world especially in football since those halcyon days of the early ‘70’s. We were European giants whereas the Dutch were an unknown quality probably the reverse of 3 years previously when we were the unknown against the illustrious Italian giants Inter.
I was 16 back in those far off days, working in a city centre bar as the conflict overwhelmed us all in Belfast. I had been at the Benfica game in November (my first game) when we hammered the Eagles of Lisbon 3-0 in front of 76,000, then Fiorentina in March 3-0 again 75.000 and of course the semi v ‘Super’ Leeds at Hampden with a record 136,505 crowd driving the Celts on to a 2-1 victory.
I was enjoying this European gig and planned to head to Milan for the final but that was easier said than done. First of all my pay was £5 a week and flights were crazy when you think that Michael O’Leary can get us to Milan for €20 now. But dreams are what makes life an interesting journey.
We had an eclectic cohort drinking in the bar just off the city centre. It was close to the Republican Markets area so a big cohort were from that area but we also had a trendy cohort who frequented the upstairs lounge which had photos of Al Capone on the walls and fake Thompson submachine guns, as Billy Connolly would say, ‘ffs this is Belfast they sell Bomber jackets in the shops’.
The most interesting cohort drank in the wee snugs in the back bar, they were all older shipyard workers and always spent Friday evenings on pay day there for a few pints of ‘Single X’, a Belfast delicacy of cheap Guinness.
The most amazing fact about these guys was that they were all Linfield and Rangers fans but I never once sensed a bigot among them. Once they heard I wanted to go to Milan they said they would have a whip round to help with the flight. It was a lovely gesture which I’ve always appreciated but between the jigs and reels I didn’t make it to the final but that didn’t reflect negatively on the generosity from those old guys who probably all passed away long ago.
As for the final itself we all know the story, we went in overwhelmingly favourites but didn’t turn up on the night not only on the pitch but on the terraces. Well we turned up as always 20,000 Celtic fans but the Dutch drowned us out with their bloody horns which was all you could hear.
Celtic played as bad as possible but almost made it to a replay and we would never have played as bad again. But it wasn’t to be, big Gemmell opened the scoring and became part of a unique cohort to score in 2 finals. Feyenoord equalised through Rinus Israel and while out played the Celts held on until almost the end of extra time when Ove Kindval scored the winner.
To be honest we didn’t deserve to win but if 5 or 6 players have an off day it can happen. The Dutch victory put them on the European map and Cruyff and Ajax won the next 3 titles, it was the era of ‘total football’. 8 months later I did see Feyenoord in the flesh as Celtic played in a friendly at Hampden and I witnessed this ‘total football’ in the flesh. It was awesome stuff instead of mad British football booting the ball up the field it was modern football but back in the 70’s.
The big keeper out to Wim Van Hanegan, he passed it square to his left back, forward then to Wim Jansen who broke the 10 for the bears years later. It was intricate football and beautiful to watch and Ajax would show that for the next 3 years.
53 years have passed since that night in Milan and Scottish and Dutch football have suffered in the modern era being from small countries. The big 5 countries have tapped into serious financial sponging and we just can’t compete. It’s unfair but it is what it is.
On Tuesday night we played Feyenoord, we have a chance until the sending’s off put paid to any chance of a point in what was a 50/50 game of football.
I was at the Ireland v Holland game last week in Dublin, we had a chance, the Dutch are not world beaters now. Same as this group in this season’s CL we have a chance. I suggest it’s the easiest group if that’s not a contradiction in Europe but there’s none of the super heavyweights and we can take 9 points from the 3 home games and maybe something away from home in the remaining two games.
Paddy McMenamin was born in Belfast with Donegal and Tyrone parents. He spent the 70’s in Long Kesh. He has been going to Paradise since the Benfica game in Nov. 1969. He lived in Donegal for 30 years but now lives in Galway. He returned to University at 50 and became a secondary school teacher of history and English.
Celtic start their Champions League campaign tonight against Feyenoord in Rotherham. This will be the last season of the current CL format. UEFA will replace it with a new format from next season. The group stages as we know them will be replaced with a 36 team league structure.
Is the new format to counter anymore challenges from the clubs wanting to breakaway and form a European Super League? Is it to appease those clubs who threatened to break away from UEFA? Or is it in response to the new 32 team World Club Championships set for the summer of 2025?
The new World tournament is set to be bankrolled by the Saudi Wealth Fund, so will this lead to the Saudi teams being eventually invited into the Champions League at the expense of less well off league champions based in Europe.
Remember when Celtic won the European Cup in Lisbon in 1967 it was a competition open only to the Champions of each domestic league in Europe.
The new format will see teams play eight matches, two more than they currently play. Teams will play four home and four away games against different opposition. The top 8 teams will go straight into last 16. The teams placed between ninth and 24th in the table will then take part in a playoff round.
In a move to secure more places for the super rich leagues like the EPL etc., the two spots reserved for historical performance of teams in the competition will be replaced by the leagues with the best coefficient.
Club managers will not be too happy with their players having to play more games in the new format as 189 games will replace the current 125 in the competition. Squad and young players may be used for domestic cup competitions to keep players fresh for the big money games.
The four seeded pots will still remain but the domestic champions will not be guaranteed a spot at the top table. Now it will be based on the coefficient which again will favour the EPL teams. The new group stages/ league format will see the final matches take place in January (possibly during the SPFL shut down).
Teams in the CL will no longer have the chance to play in the Europa League, when you are out you are out. Two teams from each pot will play each other in the new league structure after the draw is made. After that the knockout stages teams will be seeded to make it easier for the big hitters to get to the final.
Andrew Milne is More than 90 Minutes Editor and host of the Celtic Soul Podcast
I did not take my usual seat at Celtic Park in the Main Stand on Saturday. There were no buses, planes or airport pints. Instead my pre-match was a swim in the Spanish sea and a cup of coffee in the sun before getting a taxi to Paddy’s Point home of the Paddy’s Point CSC.
It was standing room only as holiday makers wearing the famous green and white hoops joined the supporters club members who have made this part of the Costa their home. Before the game in Glasgow flyers were circulated by one of Celtic’s Ultra Groups, the Green Brigade/ North Curve.
Link to video at end of article to Barry from One Celtic Fans View video about the full statement. Barry is a regular at Paddy’s on match day and had been a Celtic Youtuber for many years.
Celtic as expected controlled most of the ball in the first half but headed back to the dressing room at half time with little to show for all the domination.
The mood remained confident among the Celtic fans gathered inside and outside the pub at half time. I had a quick look on social media during the break and viewed a mixed bag of comments regarding our first half performance.
Supporters Club t-shirts were on sale at half time which make nice gifts for like minded mates. Former Celtic player Andy Lynch who lives close by pops in and out to watch games and Alan Thompson has become a regular when visiting this part of the Spanish coast.
The second half was much better with 3 goals to celebrate which had me off my high stool and celebrating. David Turnbull opened the scoring from the penalty spot after a VAR check to make sure the Celtic player was in the box when he was taken down by Ryan Howley.
Kyogo doubled Celtic’s lead when he headed home from 12 yards after a great ball into him from Callum McGregor. He then turned from poacher to supplier when he cut the ball back to Matt O’Reilly to secure a comfortable victory for the bhoys.
At full time money was collected for the supporters club trip to Madrid for the Atletico game. You could hear the members chatting about train times, hotels and what part of the city they were staying in. They invited me to travel up with them but I have alternative arrangements made but I hope to meet up with them for a few beers pre or post match.
Nothing beats being at a Celtic game in the flesh home or away but pubs and supporters clubs around the globe are so important to bring Celtic fans together for a match day experience.
I have no doubt it will be another busy night at Paddy’s when I return on Tuesday to watch Celtic take on Feyenoord.
Andrew Milne is Editor of More than 90 Minutes and host of the Celtic Soul Podcast
James McClean appeared on the Late Late Show last night for an interview with the new host Patrick Kielty
It did not surprise me to learn that this was the Irish international football stars first appearance on the show. James’s view on the North of Ireland would not have sat well with the out going crew of media gangsters who controlled who would appear on the prime time show in the past.
James is booed in every ground in England for his stance on wearing the Poppy and tonight he did not shy away from who he is and where he is from and what happened in his home city of Derry and the crimes that were inflicted on the community by the forces of the crown.
Now plying his trade at Wrexham. He spoke about the sectarian abuse he has received while playing in England, his daughter and his own autism diagnosis and was very diplomatic when asked about Ireland manager, Stephen Kenny.
The new presenter of the show knows what it is like to grow up in the North. His father, Jack was shot dead by the UFF/UDA IN 1988.
Andrew Milne is Editor of More than 90 Minutes and host odd the Celtic Soul Podcast
Celtic return to action against Dundee at another SOLD OUT Celtic Park. Liel Abada could be out for the next four months after picking up an injury away on international duty. Brendan Rodgers spoke highly of him in his pre-match press conference.
Abada’s injury will now give someone else a chance to come in and show that he is capable of becoming a first team regular and nailing down a regular starting place.
Reo Hatate is available for selection and should make a return to the hoops. BR has had little luck with injuries since the start of the season but he remains upbeat with the players he has fit and has been impressed by the attitude.
Celtic fans are buzzing for the game on the back of the win at Ibrox against the rangers. Lets hope they can play like they did in the first half over the city when we controlled the game comfortably and showed plenty of fighting spirit in the second half to come away with all 3 points.
Celtic should take care of Dundee but we can expect them to park the bus, slow the game down and waste as much time as possible, in the hope that they can frustrate Celtic and the fans inside the stadium.
Dundee will have watched how St. Johnstone lined up and were able to leave Celtic Park with a point. When the final whistle blows all thoughts will turn to the tough task that’s lies ahead in Holland against Feyenoord.
Andrew Milne is More than 90 Minutes Editor and the host of the Celtic Soul Podcast
Celtic Football Club is delighted to announce that it has today approved significant investment into a state-of-the-art re-development of Celtic’s Barrowfield Training Centre, in the heart of the East End of Glasgow, as we aim to continue to create Celtic’s stars of the future.
The development will deliver a fantastic new complex, hosting Celtic’s boys’ and girls’ Academies and will also be the new dedicated training centre for Celtic FC Women’s First Team.
Today’s announcement re-emphasises our strategy of maintaining a strong commitment to both developing our own players and investing in women’s football, with the project representing the largest infrastructure investment by the Club since the redevelopment of Celtic Park in the late 1990s.
The new training centre will feature:
New indoor arena, featuring full-sized IFA-approved artificial surface
Combination of outdoor natural grass and artificial pitches
CFC (Celticfanzine.com) is the home of More than 90 Minutes Celtic Fanzine, which first went on sale at Celtic Park back in September 2001. The fanzine gives an independent view from fans and former players & deals with all issues concerning Celtic FC and the fans.
We also host Celtic AM live at Malone’s, Glasgow, before home games and host numerous events throughout the World for Celtic Fans. We produce original content for CFC TV and Celtic Soul Podcasts.