After their disaster in Portugal last week things looked pretty black for Celtic, however their encouraging Emirates Cup performances may just have given them a glimmer of hope going into tonight’s game. So can they realistically overturn a 3-o deficit?
In a word No, Braga are too good a team to let a three goal lead slip and they will probably shut up shop and hope to snatch an away goal on the break. However Celtic should at least give their fans something to cheer about and they are capable of winning the game but not by a wide enough margin. Sorry hoops fans it looks like a short lived European Champions campaign again this season. Still this might improve their chances in the SPL.
As for Braga – well no one will fancy meeting them in the knockout game and they could prove to be a handful in the group stages should they get there.
Welsh champions The New Saints (TNS) lost 3-0 in their second leg tie against Belgian Giants Anderlect last night, but can still be proud of their seasons achievements.
The tie was effectively over after the first leg which TNS lost 3-1 and when Tom de Sutter grabbed the opening goal and in the second half Belgian U-21 international Romelu Lukaku came on as substitute and scored their other two goals.
To their credit Anderlect fans turned out in numbers to watch the game so giving the Welsh side a night to remember, playing in front of a 21,000 crowd. Its a shame that their own fans didn’t give the club the support it deserved in the home leg where the attendance was disappointing.
So TNS will now drop into the Europa League Playoff matches and here they have the chance of drawing the likes of Manchester City, Aston Villa,or Porto. If they do get a plum draw I hope the people of Wales are a bit less lethargic and The New Saints get the bumper home crowd their superb efforts deserve.
The Scottish League Cup (CIS Cup) 1st round kicked off this weekend and unusually all the ties were settled at the first attempt with only Elgin v Ayr United requiring extra time. Last seasons surprise Scottish Cup finalists Ross County progressed to the second round thanks to a good win over Livingstone and The only Premier League entry at this stage Inverness Caledonian Thistle had an easy 3-0 win over Queens Park; although they might have hoped for a bigger crowd than the 1,099 who showed up.
The Scottish Div 1 sides generally won through with the only losers being newly promoted Cowdenbeath who lost 2-1 at Clyde and Stirling Albion who will be slightly disapointed at losing at home to Forfar. Both of these sides will probably find life hard in the coming season.
The biggest win of the day came at Stranrear where a crowd of 470 witnessed Morton outclass their lower league opponents winning 7-1.
The full results were:
Inverness CT 3-0 Queen’s Park
Annan 0-1 Partick Thistle
Clyde 2-1 Cowdenbeath
Albion 0-1 Airdrie Utd
Dunfermline 5-2 Arbroath
Stranraer 1-7 Morton
Dundee 3-0 Montrose
Raith Rovers 4-1 East Fife
Stirling Albion 1-2 Forfar
Peterhead 1-0 Berwick
Ross County 2-1 Livingston
Stenhousemuir 1-3 Brechin
Elgin 3-2 Ayr Utd
Queen of South 5-1 Dumbarton
East Stirling 1 – 2 Alloa
Despite Losing 3-2 to Arsenal in the Emirates Cup Celtic have shown sufficient improvement in this much maligned tournament to indicate that the Champions League tie against Braga might not be over just yet.
Celtic looked a different team in this weekends games and this adds support to the call for the Scottish Premier league to start earlier so allowing their clubs, who are typically involved in the qualifying games to have a better chance. Many of their early stage rivals have competitive games under their belts and this is starting to show as the once relatively successful Scottish Clubs are now floundering.
An earlier start could also allow a short winter break, something of great benefit given the typically worse weather conditions the Country suffers. Hopefully some action will be taken before 2011-12 season as Scotland are in real danger of losing the second Champions League place if their poor results continue.