To begin, we would like to express our sadness in light of the passing of Celtic legend Tommy Gemmell. The news of his passing came on Thursday morning, after a long illness. Considering the 50-year anniversary celebrations set to take place this summer, in celebration of Celtic triumphant European Cup victory in 1967 it makes Gemmell’s passing that bit more sorrowful. Gemmell was integral to Celtic’s progression to the final in 67’, and his equalizer in the final will always be considered as one of, if not the most important goal in Celtic’s history. Celtic played four qualifying rounds before reaching the final in Lisbon. In their first game against Zurich the Scots won 2-0 at home, with Joe McBride and Tommy Gemmell scoring the goals. In the second leg in Switzerland Celtic won 3-0, Gemmell was on the score sheet once again, this time with a brace. The most important goal that Gemmell scored in his entire career was his equalizing goal in the 63rd minute, which cancelled out Sandro Mazolla’s first-half penalty. Stevie Chalmers scored the winner, as Celtic became the first British team to win the European Cup – not bad for a 15-man squad who were born within 10 miles of Celtic Park (bar one, Bobby Lennox born in Saltcoats). The left-back had a knack for scoring in European finals; Gemmell also scored in the 1970 European Cup final when Celtic lost 2-1 to Feyenoord. Gemmell was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He was awarded 18 caps for his country, scored one goal from the penalty spot in a 8-0 win over Cyprus in 1970 and played in the famous 3-2 victory over England at Wembley in 1967. To the man who made my dreams come true long before I was born. God bless you Tommy Gemmell, may you rest in peace.
Tommy’s captain, and friend Billy McNeil revealed his on-going battle with dementia this week. His story has been a catalyst for debate and has asked questions of football’s leading authorities who must look to investigate, prevent, and treat the disease. Many of football’s leading commentators have taken a dig at football associations around Britain for “neglecting” the problem and have accused leading football associations of avoiding the discussion surrounding the link between football, specifically heading the football, and the degenerative disease. McNeil’s personal account is part of a campaign to gain funding to be used for research into the cause and effect in regards to football and dementia. Football is falling behind the times in this regard, as research into head injuries in other sports such as Rugby and American Football have already been done.
German International Mario Gotze has been withdrawn from training with Borussia Dortmund after it was discovered that the World Cup winner has a metabolic disorder. Gotze has struggled with muscular injuries on and off over the past 6 months, and when club doctors did some digging they discovered that the underlying cause lies with the player’s metabolism. Gotze has made one appearance in 2017 and has only made 16 in total since returning to the club from Bayern Munich.
Manchester United were crowned EFL Cup winners on Sunday evening. The red devils ran out as 3-2 winners against a spirited Southampton at Wembley. The game was scuppered by some rather poor officiating on the linesman’s part. Southampton, the better side for most of the game, had a goal disallowed early in the first half and fell behind, undeservedly, by two goals scored by on form Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard. The Saints grabbed a goal just before the half through Manolo Gabbiadini as they looked to overturn their misfortunes. Gabbiadini was on target again, when he scored just 7’ minutes into the second half. Manchester United were woeful, Mourinho looked subdued and haunted throughout the 90 minutes as he watched his team sluggishly cross the finishing line. It maybe not fair to say United crossed the finish line, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Zlatan hauled his team over the finish line, yet again. The self-proclaimed ‘God of Manchester’ worked his magic with his Midas touch which turns the most mediocre of performance into pure gold (well a silver trophy). His 26th goal of the season made the difference and robbed Southampton of picking up some silverware.
Despite Mourinho’s glum face, someone in the board room must have been in a good old mood as Manchester United announced they will pay for their travelling fans visa’s when the club fly to Russia to play against FC Rostov in the Europa League. The club will splash out £118.20 a head to cover the cost of the processing fee tied to the visa. This will help around 500 travelling supporters who will be making the 2000-mile trip across Europe. A very nice touch if you ask me!
Mark McGhee has been sacked from Motherwell FC after a poor run of results that has placed Well second from bottom fighting a relegation battle. Motherwell have won just two out of their last 13 league games. The final straw for the board and fan group ‘Well Society’, who had a say in the decision, was Motherwell’s 5-1 defeat at home to Dundee last Saturday.
Two goal keepers were at fault for two of the cheekiest goals scored in the SPFL this week. Moussa Dembelle scored his 30th goal of the season off the back of a Owan Fon Williams mistake on Wednesday night. The Hoops ran out as 4-0 winners against Inverness CT and Dembelle caused quite a stir. The Frenchman took advantage of the keeper’s shocking clearance merely 12 seconds into the second half. Dembelle collected the ball, flicked it over Williams head and tapped the ball into an empty net in front of his travelling support. Rory MacKenzie provided the other cheeky finish in this week’s round-up. His came off the back of a poor clearance from St Johnstone goal keeper, Zander Clark. A poor pass back from Steven Anderson put Clark under-pressure and when his clearance fell to Rory MacKenzie there was only one place that was going – the back of the net! 35-yeards out, 12 minutes into the game and Killie were in the lead. Conor Sammon scored the second and Killie won the game 2-0, they now sit in 8th place.
Mezut Ozil released his autobiography this week. Die Magie de Spiels, or the Magic of the Game, revealed tales of his former manager, Jose Mourinho. In his booked he has claimed that the Special One called him a “coward”. Th encounter between the two is written rather poetically, perhaps ever so slightly over emphasized and has most definitely been drawn up by a ghost writer.
Fernando Torres was stretchered of the pitch on Thursday evening against Deportivo la Coruna after a heavy fall chellenging in the air with Alex Bergantinos. The Atletico Madrid player was taken to hospital and has now been discharged after having tests on the head injury. The club have released an official statement saying that the scans have showed “no traumatic alterations or injuries”. El Nino shared his gratitude via his official Twitter account, and stated that the fall was just a scare. Great t see the medical teams in Spain act so swiftly.
The aid of others saved another life this week. Slovacko striker, Francis Kone saved the unconscious Berkovek who had collided with his team mate. Kone acted quickly reached into the goal keepers mouth to retrieve his tongue. Both players were taken to hospital, including Berkovek team mate Daniel Krch. The announcer at the game shared the news that both players were well which prompted a round of applause from the stands.
The Bleacher Report has provided us with an idiots’ guide to choosing a Chinese Super League team, based on your English Premier League counterpart. Today marks the beginning of the 14th CSL season, and with all that money spent in January it may be worth a watch. Now I have a soft spot for Liverpool Football Club – you know me, love my history – so according to the Bleacher Report I shall be supporting, Liaoning Whowin, nicknamed the North-East Tigers. Mon the Tigers! Good to know that my team picked up a point today against Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng, who don’t appear to have an English Premier League equivalent – oh well! I’ll take a 1-1 draw away, especially when your down to 10-men. it’s going to be a good old season!
Tommy Gemmell 1967 goal: https://twitter.com/PMFA_UTLR/status/837220745231142914
Tommy Gemmell 1970 goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFz0hXtzQj4
Tommy Gemmell kicks Helmut Haller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lnja51VticQ
Billy McNeil tribute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuVhndjP5bE
Chris Sutton on Dementia: https://twitter.com/btsportfootball/status/836841139609174016
Manchester Utd 3 – 2 Southampton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omjkm17xXQ4
Gabbiadini offside decision, Le Tissier thoughts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hnUDpSpza4
SPFL GOAL CRAZY
Inverness 0 – 4 Celtic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39048195
Saint Johnstone 0 – 2 Kilmarnock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9RQoOLPqzs
Official Twitter statement: https://twitter.com/Torres/status/837448156929482752
Francis Kone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tBg4fmoUU0
CHINSE SUPER LEAGUE
Liverpool 1 – 0 Southampton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfzV7gT9fAc