Welcome to Hel… singborg

Like the Hebrews glimpsing the promised land, Celtics Champions League exile is almost over. A crock of more than £15million awaits in a Sevco free Europe. Importantly, this was a fourth consecutive away game unbeaten in Europe , our best run of results since Martin O’Neill.

A stunning opener, with a  volley on the bounce saw Kris Commons ease the nerves of the battle scarred (scared surely?) fans with only 2 minutes on the clock.

Helsingborgs couldn’t respond. They actually reminded me of Celtic on a bad night, all at odds with the occasion and full of rushes of blood to the head.

They started the first quite 45 well as Celtic struggled. With Celtic going 3:5:1 again, it didn’t take long for the Sieve to get in on the act, as first Mulgrew was caught in possession on the edge of his own box – forcing Forster into a save – then refusnik Sevconian Bedoya turned the entire Sieve to go one on one with Forster, who saved with his foot. Sorum then skelped Matthews and again went one on one with Forster, who managed to get an arm to his chip to prevent a certain goal.  Matthews again committed a  howler when, standing on the halfway line, he miskicked the ball straight to Mahlangu who was through on goal. Amazingly, the South African dithered and Matthews caught him at the edge of the box.  The half time whistle was a welcome relief to sphincters all around.

The second 45 saw Lenny replacing Kayal with Forrest and going to a  more comfortable 4-4-2.  This was rewarded with a trademark back post header, this time from Samaras on the end of a Commons corner. Game over. It could have been three or four, with Samaras firing wide from another  great solo run into the box, then Mulgrew hitting the bar with a free kick.

This was a special night. Celtic actually looked composed away in Europe ( God only knows why) and are ready to join the top table once again. Eat your hearts out Mr Green  and Thank you Mr White.

Paul S

7 Comments

  1. Don’t want to rain on your parade but have to disagree with your comment that, ‘Celtic actually looked composed.’
    We could have been 3 down at half time and playing with 10 men. Many refs in Europe would have sent Matthews off for his challenge and awarded a penalty.
    Usual quota of mistakes, particularly in the 1st half, by the sieve.
    Great result but poor performance.
    I was anything but composed watching it!
    This tie is not over. Last thing Celtic should be is complacent.
    It’s only half time. We need Celtic to stay professional, cut down the mistakes and we should make the Champions League group stages.
    A few years ago we went to Ibrox and won. That put us 5 points clear with 4 games left. The next week we lost 3 v 1 at home to Hibs (a 3 v 1 defeat to Helsingborgs and we are goosed) and lost the league at Motherwell last game of the season.
    There’s still work to be done.

    1. Awrite Alba Bhoy,
      I get what you saying ………… but
      If any other club played & got the result we did there would be no complaints. It’s in the Celtic fhans nature to see the whole game and rightfully point out how the game went. But you can watch many other games in Europe this week and say the same but we don’t.
      Celtic did the job and it doesn’t matter too much about the points you made re the defence etc it didn’t cost us as it has in many other games. Matthews, it was never a foul so I don’t get the ref might have sent him off & awarded a pen. We took our chances they didn’t, yes it’s 1/2 time but we’re 2 up. Yes Celtic are 2 up going into an Euro home game! As for going back to few years ago to blowing it, that was a different time & team. Many a better Celtic team couldn’t do what this team have done over the last two games, 4 goals no reply, maybe we finally have a team that carry that bit of luck you need not to lose goals though any/every mistake made.
      A mate said he’s more nervous now because we are two up? Only Celtic fhans 🙂

  2. CL group stage is guaranteed. Trust me. We will then get Barcelona in otder that the worlfs greatrst player can once again grave Paradise. Sadly the best we can them expect is to drop into the Europa League. This is not a bad scenario as we will still make a shed load of cash from the CL and then have a realistic chance of winning a trophy.

  3. AJ – I didn’t say Matthews fouled the attacker. I pointed out that many refs might have sent him off. Defender f**ks up, chases back, forward crumbles in a heap at the edge of the box when through on goal as defender makes last ditch effort to stop him – I’ve seen Celtic players get sent off for less in Europe. It’s not just Scottish referees that make strange decisions!
    In the run up to the 2nd leg I have the same feeling of nervous anticipation/dread that I had when we were 5 v 3 up against Partizan Belgrade with less than 5 minutes to play. And we all know how that went breasts vertical.
    The prize is so close but we’re not there yet.
    I won’t be able to relax until after the 2nd leg is over. We can start talking about the Champions League group stages once we’ve qualified. Talking beforehand is tempting fate.
    If only Samaras had squared the ball to Commons with a few minutes left instead of going for glory. That would have made it 3 v 0 and even I would have felt confident.
    Hopefully their left back will continue to focus more on sorting his hair than on defending.
    Meantime let’s hope for no injuries to Celtic players tomorrow.

  4. Not that I want to become known as Mystic Joe but I did predict an easy passage past Helsingborgs AND that we would get Barca. My next prediction is that the Well will sort put Sevco in the League Cup

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