After selling off spine, where is the transplant?

Posted by Andy Muirhead

David Ramos/Getty ImagesSelling goalkeeper Fraser Forster may be good business for Celtic, but they need good signings to offset the loss.

We knew it would happen -- no one was really surprised the Celtic board sold off some of the club's top players as the likes of Gary Hooper, Victor Wanyama and Kelvin Wilson moved south. Now it seems that Benfica are targeting keeper Fraser Forster following his performances in the Champions League last season, with the Parkhead side reportedly placing a 10-million-euro pricetag on the English shot-stopper.

If Forster does make the move to Portugal, then the spine of last season's team will have been sold off for just under 30 million pounds. Continue Reading...

Flat Celtic advance, but fail to pack a punch vs. Swedes

Posted by Andy Muirhead

AP Photo/Bjorn Olsson/ScanpixThe sometime-reckless defensive play of Kelvin Wilson (bottom, shown trying to take the ball from Elfsborg's James Keefe), is one reason Celtics should sell him.

Celtic are through to the third qualifying round of the Champions League after a 0-0 draw with Elfsborg on Wednesday night, progressing thanks to a solitary goal from Kris Commons in the first leg.

Wednesday night’s game was certainly one to forget for the Celtic fans, as it was one of the worst performances from Celtic in a long time, both domestically and in Europe. Some would say "Hey, the performance doesn’t matter, we progressed" -- that is true. But against a more clinical side Celtic would have been torn apart playing as they did against Elfsborg. Continue Reading...

Win is a win, but Celtic need a striker

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Mark Runnacles/Getty ImagesAnthony Stokes (brace) is congratulated by manager Neil Lennon after his late goal saved the day for Celtic.

Celtic 2-1 Ross County -- that is what the final score says but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, Celtic secured all three points after coming back from a goal behind in their Scottish Premier League season opener Saturday night. But while others think it was a good performance, I have to beg to differ.

Conceding an early goal -- it wouldn't be Celtic if they started the game without having a hairy canary in the first five or 10 minutes. This time however, they were punished for it by a superb strike from County’s Darren Maatsen with only three minutes on the clock. Continue Reading...

Toothless Swedes downed by cruise control Celts

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Mark Runnacles/Getty ImagesA Kris Commons goal gave Celtic the advantage over Elfsborg in their Champions League third-round qualifying tie.

Wednesday night's game was no epic encounter; in fact, it will be quickly forgotten among the archives of European football at Celtic Park. Celtic's 1-0 win over Elfsborg was enough, a victory to put Celtic in the driving seat ahead of the return leg in Sweden and a clean sheet to boot. But, the performance was certainly not up to par for many of those Celtic players on the field.

- Commons gives Hoops slender lead

All the pre-match talk focused on Mo Bangura playing against Celtic -- from whom he is on-loan -- and during the match he caused enough trouble at the back for Kelvin Wilson without doing any damage. Continue Reading...

On paper, Celtic would be overwhelming Firm favourites

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Clive Brunskill/Getty ImagesCeltic fans showed the intensity of the Glasgow rivalry against Rangers before the teams' last meeting in April 2012, won by Celtic, 3-0.

ESPN FC Rangers blogger John DC Gow asked 'Could Rangers beat Celtic?' in a recent post. There was clear backing for Celtic to be the clear favourites if the derby game returned this season, in the League Cup or Scottish Cup.

However, many of those Rangers fans that Gow talked to were of the opinion that Rangers "would fancy their chances at Ibrox, while others thought they would be destroyed wherever they played".

Old Firm derby games over yesteryear could never be called, whether at Celtic Park or at Ibrox. Continue Reading...

Hooper to QPR as he bids farewell to Champions League football

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Mark Runnacles/Getty ImagesGary Hooper made a brief appearance in Celtic's win over Cliftonville Tuesday.

Gary Hooper's appearance in Celtic's 2-0 victory over Cliftonville Tuesday night, albeit as a substitute, was his last as a Celtic player -- and, in my opinion, will be his last in a Champions League game.

With Queens Park Rangers' bid of around 5.5 million pounds accepted by Celtic for the striker according to multiple news reports, the Englishman will be returning to the same league that Celtic snapped him up from, if or when he signs on the dotted line with the London side. Continue Reading...

How do Celtic solve a problem like Mo Bangura?

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Neil LennonPA PhotosNiel Lennon has warned Mo Bangura that his Celtic career will be over if he lines up against them for IF Elfsborg.

It seems that Celtic manager Neil Lennon doesn't want striker Mo Bangura to line-up for Elfsborg in the Bhoys' two Champions League qualifying games against the Swedish side in the coming weeks.

How can Lennon dictate who should and shouldn't play for an opposing side? Well you may be forgiven for forgetting about Bangura, but the striker is still a Celtic employee currently on loan at the Allsvenskan club.

Bangura signed for Celtic back in 2011, from Swedish side AIK Stockholm - recommended to the club by one Henrik Larsson - and since his transfer he has made Larsson eat his words by failing to live up to the plaudits from the Celtic legend. Continue Reading...

Celtic brush aside preseason woes in UCL opener

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Celtic's James Forrest tries to weave through the Cliftonville defence.APCeltic's James Forrest tries to weave through the Cliftonville defence.

Before Wednesday's game, Celtic fans looked at the preseason results with some worry -- four defeats out of four did not give the side a perfect introduction to the Champions League qualifier at Northern Irish champions Cliftonville in Belfast.

But goals from Mikael Lustig, Georgios Samaras and James Forrest in a 3-0 victory calmed the nerves of those worried Celtic fans and virtually ensured Celtic's progression to the next round of Europe's elite club competition, barring a collapse of epic proportions in the second leg. Continue Reading...

Wanyama earns his dream move to the Premier League

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Ian MacNicol/Getty ImagesVictor Wanyama spent two seasons at Parkhead.

A day of mixed emotions for Celtic fans as midfielder Victor Wanyama makes his dream move to the English Premier League, with Southampton breaking the Scottish transfer record with a reported 12.5 million pound deal.

- Southampton sign Celtic's Wanyama
- Rann: Saints finally get their Wan

The Kenyan took to his Twitter page after the deal was completed, he said: "I have a day of mixed emotion [sic]happy to play in EPL, honoured to be the 1st Kenyan to play in EPL. Continue Reading...

Should Celtic fans be worried about preseason results?

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Four games into preseason and Celtic are still to win a game against teams that are, with all respect, not as good as the Glasgow side.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesWith a Champions League fixture eight days away, Neil Lennon must figure out a way to calm nervous supporters.

But after defeats to Crewe, Sevastopol, CFR Cluj and Greuther Furth, any neutral not knowing any of the clubs would think that Celtic are the lesser team. In fact, some Celtic fans have already voiced their displeasure and worry over the results and performances of players.

Eight days from now Celtic face Northern Irish side Cliftonville in the Champions League qualifiers and with only one preseason game against Union Berlin, between now and then, it isn't boding well for Celtic if they continue to play like they have lately. Continue Reading...

The clearest indication yet that Hooper is staying at Celtic

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Ian MacNicol/Getty ImagesAll signs point toward Gary Hooper remaining with Celtic for the 2013-14 season.

After months of uncertainty and talk of Gary Hooper leaving Parkhead for a shot at the English Premier League, the English striker has intimated a desire to stay at the Scottish Premier League champions and to improve on his past form.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Hooper said: "I want to beat my tally from last season, that's the aim because I've done it every season. I also have to get 20 or more league goals because I didn't get it just there, I only got 19. I want to play in the Champions League again, get into the group stages and get that feeling again. Continue Reading...

Cliftonville first Champions League obstacle for Celtic

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Celtic will face Northern Ireland champions Cliftonville in the second qualifying round of the Champions League.

AP Photo/Scott HeppellCeltic hope to repeat their success in the Champions League, where they earned a memorable home win against Barcelona (and Lionel Messi) last season. Joe Ledley is at left.

Celtic, who were seeded for the draw, will be favourites for the tie, but face a further two qualifying rounds if they are to reach the group stages for the second successive year.

The first leg was set to be played on the July 16 or 17 at Celtic Park, with the return leg on July 23 or 24. However, Cliftonville have requested that the ties be swapped, so that the first leg is in Belfast and the second in Glasgow. Continue Reading...