17/11/2017 Issue 35

Italy have failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Records were broken in this week’s Champions League ties. Paris Saint-Germain’s demolishing of Glasgow Celtic at the Parc de Princes on Wednesday night saw them become the highest ever scorers in the group stage of the competition, with 24 goals AND COUNTING (they still have a final group game against Bayern Munich); they have conceded just one. Out of the 25 goals scored by the French side, only ONE was scored by a player who came from their club academy; Moussa Dembele of Celtic scored against his former academy club.

Despite the heavy defeat, Celtic broke their own record when Moussa Dembele scored the hoops quickest ever Champions League goal within 56 seconds. God of Manchester, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, became the first player to represent 7 different clubs in the competition. His European journey has taken him to Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG and, of course, Manchester United. Also, Basel continue to score goals against English sides at home. No English side has ever kept a clean sheet across all European competitions in the Swiss city of Basel. RotBlau defeated Man Utd 1-0 at home on Wednesday evening.

Liverpool’s crucial Group E Champions League clash with Sevilla looked to be all but over at half-time. Bobby Firmino scored a brace, including a no-look tap in, and Sadio Mane provided a third. Three goals up a half-time, the points were surely in the bag? But Sevilla had other ideas. During the break Sevilla coach, Eduardo Berizzo, informed his players that he had been diagnosed with prostatic adenocarcinoma (cancer of the prostate). The manager’s dreadful news was the catalyst that inspired a Sevilla come back. The game ended 3-3, when Guido Pizarro equlaised in extra-time (90+3′). The hosts have only been beaten once, by Juventus, in their last 25 home matches. Who knows what they can achieve if they perform with the team spirit they showed in the final 45. We wish Eduardo Berizzo all the best in his treatment and recovery.

Igor Akinfeev, goalkeeper for CSKA Moscow, kept his first clean sheet in the Champions League in 11 years and 43 games, following his sides 2-0 victory over Benfica.

Wigan’s Ryan Colclough scored an unofficial hat-trick on Tuesday night against Doncaster. The winger scored twice before being subbed off in order to rush to hospital to see the birth of his son. Colclough’s father was in the stands watching and gave his son the nod indicating that his partner’s water had broken. Colclough raced down the tunnel and made it to the birth, still in full kit, with 30 minutes to spare.

Everton were thrashed 5-1 in the Europa League against Atalanta of Italy. The Toffees have been left red faced with 5 games played, zero games won and one draw.

It was a dreadful week for English football as Koln, who haven’t won a single game in the Bundesliga this season, beat Premier League big spenders Arsenal 1-0 in Germany!

Former Manchester City, AC Milan and Real Madrid forward Robinho has been sentenced to nine years in prison following a sexual assault on a 22-year old woman in Milan. The incident took place four years ago in 2013, while playing for AC Milan. He had denied the charges, but was found guilty in absentia by an Italian court.

ONES TO WATCH

Ryan Colclough: https://twitter.com/LaticsOfficial/status/933409760057073665

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05nv3q4

 

 

 

 

10/11/2017 Issue 34

Celtic Football Club sets a new British record of 63 consecutive games unbeaten in domestic competition. The Bhoys struck four past St Johnstone in Perth to break their own 100 year old record. A birthday present like no other; this week the club was celebrating their 130th year. Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run includes:

  • 63 games
  • 56 wins
  • 7 draws
  • 183 goals scored
  • 35 goals conceded
  • 36 clean sheets

Scotland were beaten by the Netherlands at Pittodrie. Memphis Depay scored the only goal of the game, and Kieran Tierney at 20 years of age was given the arm band for the first time. This season he has captained both club and country, and at such a young age there is no telling what is next for this incredible talent.

James McClean was named the Irish FA Supporters Player of the Year.

Following the incident we reported on last week, Patrice Evra has been released from his contract at French side Marseille with immediate effect.

Brad Fridel, former Spurs and Blackburn Rovers goal keeper, has been named the new manager of the New England Revolution.

German sportswear company

<p style=” margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;”> <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BbKbXyth-qD/&#8221; style=” color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;” target=”_blank”>@adidasfootball have just killed the game. #adidas #football #futsal #fútbol #fußball #futebol #futbol #fotboll #fodbold #calcio #voetbal #sokker #soccer @adidas</a></p> <p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”>A post shared by Fitbaw Weekly (@fitbawweekly) on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2017-11-06T17:55:28+00:00″>Nov 6, 2017 at 9:55am PST</time></p></div></blockquote> //platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Adidas

launched their new World Cup kits and near broke the internet. They have gone for throwback designs of every nations greatest footballing success stories, igniting every football fans passion for the retro kit.

Andrea Pirlo has officially announced his retirement from football. The Italian maestro played 872 games, scored 86 goals, won 18 trophies, scored a World shattering Paneka penalty against England (GET IN!) and is probably the only player who can play for rival teams – Inter Milan, AC Milan & Juventus – and still be loved by all.

Cork City have completed the domestic double, after beating Dundalk on penalties.

St Etienne’s defeat at the hands of Lyon had to be brought to a halt following a pitch invasion and crowd trouble.

Juventus dropped the greatest shirt in recent times to celebrate their 120th anniversary. Another belter from Adidas!

Cedric Bakambu, Villareal striker, completed a hat-trick of offsides. His goal in the 49th, 65th & 85th were deemed offside. Villareal went on to win the game 2-0 but the Congolese player will be less than happy with the decisions. Ye ragin’ mate?

Northern Ireland have to restore a 1-0 deficit in Belfast in Sunday’s World Cup play-off second leg following a controversial penalty that gave the Swiss the lead. Corry Evans, of Blackburn Rovers, was deemed to have handled the ball in the box and Ricardo Rodriguez finished from the spot to give Switzerland a one goal advantage.

Falkirk’s Kevin O’Hara has been given an eight-game ban for taunting Dunfermline midfielder Dean Shiels about him only having one eye.

03/11/2017 Issue 33

Real Madrid are having a terrible time of late. They’re poor run of form has been summed up by a mauling at the hands of Tottenham Hotspurs in the Champions League on Wednesday evening and their shock defeat to La Liga new boys Girona.

The sides met last Sunday night at the Estadi Montilivi; the stage of a historic victory for the Catalonian side. Cristiano Ronaldo was made to suffer, following his recent title as recipient of the FIFA Best award. The Girona fans showed no sympathy for the Portuguese talisman as he was made to endure the chanting of ‘Messi! Messi! Messi!’ for long spells of the match. Girona deservedly won the game 2-1, but in the first half alone they struck the post twice and could have found themselves in the lead before the break. Their magnificent intensity and pressing style continued into the second half. Goals from Cristhian Stuani and Portu gave Girona their first victory over Los Blancos. Madrid’s 2-1 defeat by Girona leaves them trailing Barcelona, at the top of La Liga, by eight points. At the end of the game Cristiano Ronaldo refused to give his jersey to Girona midfielder Alex Granel.  There will have been few who would have predicted a Girona win. This is their first season in the top flight and for obvious reasons this is by far the biggest result in the minnows’ history. The victory over the establishment team will no doubt be celebrated widely throughout Catalonia given the current political backdrop.

If you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Zinedine Zidane you were wrong. Real Madrid tasted defeat once again, this time against Spurs in their first game at Wembley Stadium in the Champions League. Madrid were blown away by Delli Alli, Harry Kane and Co.

Patrice Evra, the happy-go-lucky footballer who pops up on your instagram or facebook most mornings to do a wee dance or sing a wee song or sometimes both was sent off before Marseilles Europa League tie with Vitoria Guimaraes for kicking one of his own supporters in the head. L’Equipe have elaborated on the incident reporting that Marseille supporters had been taunting Evra while he was warming-up. The account states that Evra approached the supporters to talk to them and was insulted. Football journalst Julien Laurens stated that Evra was told: “Keep doing your videos, but stop playing football”. Marseille lost the game 1-0. Evra has been handed a one-match ban, for now.

Kieran Tierney signed an extended contract with Celtic. The 20-year old penned a six year deal keeping him at Celtic until 2023, unless bought out of his contract. A Celtic fan and a cracking left-back, compared with the likes of Danny McGrain and Tommy Burns, made veteran midfielder Arjen Robben look like a lost little school boy during their Champions League encounter on Tuesday night. The Hoops were disappointed not to pick up all three points at home against the German giants, having matched Bayern all over the park and creating the best of the chances. The defeat means that Celtic are out of the Champions League, but are in pole position to head into the Europa League knock-out stages. The infamous atmosphere at Celtic Park was later described by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, former player and now chief executive of the club, as:

“Football in pure culture, like it was in the old days.”

Arjen Robben also wade in on the atmosphere at Celtic Park saying:

“That was a football experience of pure culture. Throughout the night we felt goosebumps.”

Celtic’s Supporter Liason Officer John Paul Taylor received a rather special e-mail from Bayern supporter Urns, which he shared on Twitter.

bayernfan

In other Scottish football news, Kilmarnock’s long wait for a home victory continues after their 3-0 defeat at the hands of Hibernian on Tuesday night. Rangers have parted ways with Pedro Caixinha; the caravan was towed but the dugs still barking (don’t sweat guys, the dogs alive -just about). It was appeal central at Hampden on Thursday as Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson was given one touchline ban but has been cleared for the cup final against Celtic. The date for the Scottish Cup Final between Glasgow City and Hibernian Ladies will not be challenged. Glasgow City were hoping to appeal the date due to the fact they will likely miss four of their Irish internationalists through World Cup qualifying duties. In a repeat of last year’s final, cup holders Hibs and City will meet at Livingston’s Tony Macaroni Arena, with BBC Alba providing live coverage of the 16:10 kick off. Dreadful time for a game of football. Especially when the men’s final takes place at 15:00 on the same day. Not great!

Everton crashed out of the Europa League following a 3-0 defeat to Lyon. Their losing streak continues. Arsenal reach the knockout stages of the Europa League despite a goalless draw against Red Star Belgrade.

Cowdenbeath’s Jordan Garden concedes a penalty after an unusual challenge during the the Blue Brazil’s Scottish League Two tie with Berwick Rangers last Saturday. With just 10 minutes remaining and the match tied at 0-0 Garden dives head first at the feet of Berwick’s Michael McKenna, bringing him down in the process. The referee awards Berwick a penalty which McKenna himself dispatches to seal a 1-0 win for the Gers.

Al-Ahly’s training session was cancelled on Tuesday as thousands of fans turned up at the club’s training facility in Cairo, hoping to watch their team prepare for the second leg of the African Champions League final against Wydad Casablanca this weekend. The final is tied at 1-1, from the first leg.

ONES TO WATCH

GIRONA 2 – 1 REAL MADRID: https://youtu.be/kP3LAT12_aM

PATRICE GOES MAD: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41853841

HIBS 3 – 0 KILMARNOCK: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/41825785

STEPHEN ROBINSON: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41848091

BIZARRE PENALTY: https://www.theguardian.com/football/video/2017/oct/30/cowdenbeath-head-first-tackle-penalty-berwick-rangers-scotland-video

PITCH INVASION: https://www.theguardian.com/football/video/2017/nov/01/al-ahly-abandon-training-session-fans-try-to-watch-video

 

 

 

 

 

 

29/09/2017 Issue 30

A Marseille supporter invited to take part in the clubs ceremonial kick-off at the Stade Veledome made sure he got the most out of his 15 minutes if fame. Kamel Zaroual was asked to participate in the traditional ceremony as a reward for his fundraising efforts for local children. Gifted with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Mr Zaroual could not resist the chance to score a goal. Having performed the kick-off the Marseille man ran the length of the pitch before firing a shot past Toulouse goalkeeper Alban Lafont, much to the delight of the Marseille faithful and indeed himself. The Marseille super fan cycled 2000km for the pleasure of scoring the opening goal of the game (technically speaking). Goal of the season award, perhaps?

Hearts Chief Executive Ann Budge has promised to stick by her striker, Northern Irish international Kyle Lafferty who this week admitted he is living with a gambling addiction. Lafferty revealed he has lost thousands of pounds, and was even fined £23,000 by the English FA last summer after breaking betting rules while on the books at Norwich City. The Hearts man has spent time at the Sporting Chance Clinic following the FA’s decision to issue a fine. Budge said in a statement on Wednesday morning, ‘I would like to record our total support for Kyle Lafferty as he moves forward to deal with his acknowledged addiction to gambling. Kyle took the brave step of coming to the club and asking for help. No one should underestimate how difficult that decision was for him and his family.’

Swindon Town fans found a new way to take the mickey out of their opposition by dressing as pigs at the slaughter as they travelled to Forrest green, who only sell vegan food at their ground. TOP BANTER THERE.

Photo 23-09-2017, 10 29 04

Gary Woods will miss tonight’s home clash with Rangers after suffering a lacerated kidney. The Accies shot stopper picked up the injury during last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of St Johnstone. Accies boss, Martin Canning will also have to do without defender George Sarris, who is expected to be out for six weeks following a knee operation. Midfielder Darian MacKinnon has also been ruled out of Friday night’s clash after he was shown a red card in last Saturday’s SPFL fixture with the Saints. Grant Gillespie, Michael Devlin and David Templeton are also both out injured.

England midfielder Dele Alli has been banned for one international match following his middle-finger gesture during the World Cup qualifier against Slovakia.

Jim McIntyre has been sacked by Ross County seven games into the season. Here, at least he lasted longer than Frank de Boer.

Speaking of managers, Carlo Ancelotti has been sacked as boss of Bayern Munich. The decision comes after Bayern’s 3-0 defeat to PSG in their Champions’ League group stage match.

In more manager news, loon-ball Brother Pedro Caixinha has revealed that his childhood nickname was ‘elephant’ because of his ‘great memory’. Well, I’m sure he’ll remember Celtic’s dominance in years to come. He also drew comparisons between the unrest among his squad with a trip to Las Vegas. Reports from Wednesday revealed that Pedro made claims that himself and new recruits had not been made to feel welcome at their new club. When asked about the claims Caixinha said, ‘Have you ever been to Las Vegas? What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas. I’m a confident guy. If things are coming out it’s because someone didn’t like the game that we play in Las Vegas, that’s all, so I am happy with that.’ I mean I don’t know about Vegas, but I’m pretty sure the players didn’t like the game that you played at Ibrox on Saturday (once again being outclassed by your greatest rivals), or indeed the 3-2 defeat to Hibs or the 2-2 draw with Thistle, or the early European exit against Progres Nierderkorn. Oh well, keep coming away with mad chat – it’s funny and fills up space on my blog!

On that note,  Kenny Miller has been dropped from the Rangers squad to face Accies in tonight’s Scottish Premiership clash.

From Afghanistan to Manchester City, Nadia Nadim has made a move from Portland Thorns to Manchester City in the Women’s Super League. Nadia fleed from war-torn Afghanistan at the age of 12 and made her way to Denmark via fake passports, traveling on the back of a lorry. She signed her first professional contract aged 18 with IK Slovbakken, was granted Danish citizenship in 2008 and now has 74 caps and 22 goals. Nadim scored two goals as she lead Denmark to the European Championship final.

Former Newcastle Chairman Freddy Shepherd has died at the age of 75. Shepherd was a pivotal figure in the club’s rise during the 90s, taking over as Chairman in 1997 and working as a director from 1992 he played a key role in appointing Kevin Keegan as manager and signing Alan Shearer from Blackburn Rovers, for a then world-record fee of £15m. He wasn’t always the most popular figure, and was pushed to resign in 1997/98 following a report by the News of the World in which he and fellow director Douglas Hall were recorded calling female football supporters “dogs”. The comments sparked outrage from supporters and fellow board members, who urged both men to resign, which they did in 1998.

 

ONES TO WATCH

Bravo Kamel, goal of the season: https://youtu.be/xHsYrowdxlo

Refugee footballer, Nadia Nadim: https://youtu.be/q8mvmFoYiKM

 

 

UNDERESTIMATED MESSI CARRIES BARCELONA AND PROVES THE DOUBTING THOMAS AMONG YOU WRONG

UNDERESTIMATED MESSI CARRIES BARCELONA AND PROVES THE DOUBTING THOMAS AMONG YOU WRONG

The doubting Thomas’s were out on force during the summer long football hiatus. Messi had lost his pals and Barcelona had lost the league before they’d even kicked a baw. This widespread opinion of Barcelona’s evident demise came in the wake of a humiliating 5-1 defeat to their fierce rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup back in August this year. Neymar left to eat baguettes by the Arc de Triomphe and Luis Suarez was out with a long-term knee injury; MSN was no more. The rapture was coming. Or so everyone said.

Alas the commentators, the pundits, the reporters, the ‘experts’, former pro’s and ex-managers never calculated the little Argentine dynamo into their ‘the end is nigh for Barcelona’ equation. Ultimately, the football world fully underestimated the sheer power of the greatest footballer to ever grace the Earth. While the Barcelona ‘fans’ packed their scarf’s neatly away in the back of their wardrobe, giving their side no hope of a successful campaign, La Pulga (the flea) was working away, planning the greatest season of his career and organising the staging of the greatest one-man show on Earth.

We are five games into the La Liga season and Barcelona sit top of the table; my Nana did tell me that the cream always rises to the top. Barcelona have won 5 out of 5, they have scored 17 and conceded 2.

Lionel Messi has carried Barcelona with nine goals and one assist in their five games so far. In the opening game of the season Messi scored his first two goals of the campaign in a 2-0 victory over Alavés. The opening goal marked his 350th goal in La Liga, becoming the first player to ever achieve this special milestone.

The Flea already has two hat-tricks to his name this season; one against Espanyol in the Derbi Barceloní in a 3-0 victory and the other against Eibar in a 6-1 victory in which he scored 4 goals. His four goals in the mid-week game against Eibar proved to be yet another milestone for the maestro as he netted his 300th goal at the Camp Nou.

On the other side of the coin Real Madrid opened their season with a draw in their first two home fixtures against Valencia and Levante. Wins away to Deportivo and Real Sociedad restored some faith but Los Blancos bad run of form lead them to drop points at home to Real Betis. Cristiano Ronaldo has been out of the fold after his five-match ban for shoving referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea during the Spanish Super cup first-leg. The Portuguese talisman is yet to get off the mark, and received his first start in the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Betis.

Amidst Messi’s one man domestic domination exhibition he still found the time to make a special appearance in the Champions League. He lit that stage alight as well; scoring the opening goal, playing a huge role in the second with a darting run and scored the third as Barcelona put Juventus to the sword with a 3-0 victory in the opening group match.

He’s made everyone look a fool. And now the wee man from Rosario is going to silence the doubters and set fire to the greatest game in the world. Watch this space…

 

15/09/2017 European Football Special

15/09/2017 European Football Special

Tuesday 12th September 2017 – Group A,B,C and D opening games

Celtic were absolutely hammered by classy PSG. We can’t be mad; the French side will likely win the tournament. I was amongst many a Celtic supporter last night who commented on the fact that no one in Europe, as it stands, is better than this side. They have world class players from back to the front. The newly formed MCN ripped the Hoops apart. Neymar scored the opener, Mbappe doubled the lead and Edinson Cavani scored two. Mikel Lustig’s own goal added the fifth.

This was to be Celtic’s worst European defeat at home. Neymar, the most hated man in the East End of Glasgow, has now scored five Champions League goals in five games at Parkhead, while also conjuring up seven assists.

This was the best bit of football I have ever seen at Celtic Park. I was mesmerized watching PSG pass the ball around the field so strategically, with a touch of elegance to every kick of the ball. I stood to applaud when the final whistle blew; they were majestic.

Celtic will have to battle it out with Belgian side Anderlecht, who also fell to an opening game defeat to Bayern Munich. Goals from Lewandowski, Alcantara and Kimmich gave Bayern a 3-0 victory at home against 10-man Anderlecht. Sven Kums, unfortunate name, was sent off 11 minutes into the game after conceding a penalty which Lewandowski consequently scored from. As they battle it out with PSG for the top-seed.

Lionel Messi continues to prove he’s the best in the world scoring a brace as his side breezed past Juventus with a 3-0 victory at Camp Nou. Sporting Lisbon saw off a late comeback after taking an early two goal lead in Greece. Bruno Fernandes added a third in the second half, which proved crucial towards the end of the game, following Felipe Pardo’s brace which wasn’t quite enough to salvage a point for the Greeks.

Chelsea battered FK Qarabag in their Group C opening game. Goals from Pedro, Zappacosta, Azpilicueta, Bakayoko and Batshuayi, including a Medvedev own goal, gave the Londoners a 6-0 home victory. Zappacosta’s finish to make it 2-0 is sublime! Check that out below. Roma and Atletico Madrid came away with a share of the spoils as they played out a goalless draw in the Italian capital. Both keepers were kept busy, saving shot after shot after shot.

Manchester United got a 3-0 victory at home to Basel. Goals from Fellaini, Lukaku and Rashford got the Red Devils off the mark in Group A. Fellaini was brought on to replace Paul Pogba who pulled up with a hamstring injury just 19 minutes into the game. This could be a concern for Mourinho going forward. The injury proved to be a blessing in disguise when the Belgian opened the scoring in the 34th minute. Group A opposition CSKA Moscow beat Benfica 2-1 in Portugal; a huge statement from the Russian side to take all three points away from home. Benfica will feel hard done by when a penalty was rewarded for a hand ball in the box. Almeida was the man who received a yellow card for the hand ball but he will feel aggrieved as his hands were clearly by his side as Berezutski’s shot was fired at him.

 

Wednesday 13th September 2017 – Group E, F, G and H opening games

Tottenham Hotspurs and Borussia Dortmund played out an exciing European encounter at Wembley Stadium. Son Heung-min opened the scoring then Yarmolenko equalized for Dortmund and then who else but ‘Arry Kane stepped up to put Spurs ahead four minutes after the score had been tied. Kane scored his second of the night an hour into the game but the talking point of the night was Jan Vertonghen’s sending off in stoppage time. It should be noted that Yarmolenko’s goal is a thing of beauty, get it watched! Don’t let the result fool you, this was a very close encounter. Pulisic was on fire! Definitely the one to watch this season. Should he continue to have such a huge impact on such a big game he’ll have big name clubs calling on him very soon. Dortmund will feel aggrieved after an Aubameyang goal was ruled to be offside. Should the goal have stood it would have been 2-2 with over half an hour to play. Things would have got very interesting indeed. But it wasn’t to be and Kane’s smart finish sealed all 3 points, and the Spurs go marching on on on.

No surprises that Real Madrid made light work of Apoel Nicosia with a 3-0 victory at the Bernabeu. No surprises again the Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace. No surprises again that Real Madrid were awarded a penalty. However, It was a surprise that centre-back Sergio Ramos scored a over-head kick. CR7 may well have had a hat-trick if it were’t for goal line technology. Modern football eh?

Liverpool’s first Champions League game since 2014 ended in a 2-2 draw with their Europa League final opponents Sevilla. As he did in the 2017 final, Joaquin Correa cut through the Liverpool defence with ease to curl the ball past Karius to level the scoring at 2-2. Wissam Ben Yedder made a fool of the Liverpool back-line for the opening goal; scoring a tap in right in front of the mighty Kop End. Firminho equalized from a Moreno pass. Salah’s hard work paid off for the second goal, which was guided in as the ball struck the foot of Kjaer deflecting it past the goalkeeper Rico. Liverpool may well have taken all three points had Robert Firminho finished from the spot. The Reds were rewarded a penalty when Sadio mane was brought down in the box. But it wasn’t to be and Correa eventually scored the equaliser after many Liverpool chances went begging. The sour point of the evening was when Sevilla boss Eduardo Berizzo was dismissed for throwing the ball away when it went out of play. Ludicrous! Joe Gomez was also sent for an early shower, dismissed following a second yellow. Spartak Moscow drew 1-1 with Maribor in their Champions League opener. UEFA will have to take action following an incident in which a flare was fired at German referee Deniz Aytekin.

Manchester City won their opening game 4-0 in Turkey against Fenerbache. The goals come from John Stone (x2), Sergio Aguero and Jesus. Pretty standard victory, not much to say really. So many shots on target, not enough goals. Napoli fell to an opening game defeat, as Shaktar Donetsk seen the game out to win 2-1.

Besiktas sealed an away victory beating Porto 3-1 in Portugal. Tosun’s second is sublime! RB Leipzig played out a 1-1 draw with last years semi-finalists Monaco.

 

Thursday 14th September 2017 – Europa League opening games

AC Milan showed that their big summer spending wasn’t done in vain following their 5-1 win in their opening game against Austria Vienna. Their £34 million signing Andre Silva scored a hat-trick, Calhanoglu opened the scoring (£22 million) and Fernández Saez (Suso) scored the fifth. The Rossoneri are not here to mess about. 

It would appear that non of the Italian teams are there to take part, but there to take over. Atalanta absolutely hammered Ronald Koeman’s Everton with a 3-0 victory for the Seria A side. Lazio also got in on the act coming from behind twice to beat Vitesse 3-2 in Holland.

French side Lyon drew with Apollon Limassol from Cyprus. Dynamo Kiev defeated Skenderbeu 3-1. Braga came away with the bragging rights (see what I did there) with their 2-1 win over Hoffenheim in Germany.

Why always me? Mario Balottelli was on the score sheet for Nice as they bowled over Belgian side Zulte Waregem with a 5-1 victory.

Osterunds beat Zorya Luhansk 2-0 in Ukraine. Taking the Swede’s top of the table above Athletic Bilbao who managed a draw with Hertha Berlin.

Arsenal came from behind to beat FC Koln 3-1 at the Emirates. Alexis Sanchez scored a fantastic solo effort, not to be missed. While you’re at it check out Cordoba’s long range finish. Peach! The talking point of the night has surely got to be Arsene Wengers pink jacket. Crvena Zvezda drew 1-1 with BATE Borisov.

Slavia Prague beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0. Astana lost 3-1 to Villareal in Spain.

Real Sociedad made light work of Rosenborg with a 4-0 home victory. Zenit won 5-0 in Macedonia against FK Vardar. The Spaniards and the Russians look set to battle it out for the top spot.

There are too many games to comment on, so you can see the results by clicking here.

 

ONES TO WATCH

Celtic 0 – 5 PSG: https://youtu.be/wnbN8yS24gA

Bayern 3 – 0 Anderlecht: https://youtu.be/vB1O3oj0Y60

Barca 3 – 0 Juve: https://youtu.be/ErL9WRKNJSY

Sporting Lisbon 3 – 2 Olympiacos: https://youtu.be/XqH-QnXs8-0

Chelsea 6 – 0 Qarabag: https://youtu.be/m4A4dAnM9mc

Roma 0 – 0 Atletico: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGlGi-OO6w0

Man U 3 – 0 Basel: https://youtu.be/Lj8RjXAt2XE

Benfica 1 – 2 CSKA Moscow: https://youtu.be/ifTSrMo8umE

Tottenham 3 – 1 Dortmund: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiQMT5UR9nU

Real Madrid 3 – 0 Nicosia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAWf5DXYtqo (fast forward to 2:42) OR https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZiGetEoa3g

Liverpool 2 – 2 Sevilla: https://youtu.be/JGwZErMgUZc

CAN’T FIND HIGHLIGHTS FOR NK MARIBOR V SPARTAK MOSCOW

Fenerbache 0 v 4 Manchester City: https://youtu.be/T24uu3ZOllQ

Shaktar Donetsk 2 – 1 Napoli: https://youtu.be/H_Zv45Q8q5M

Porto 1 – 3 Besiktas: https://youtu.be/6JOBPE9upVI

RB Leipzig 1 – 1 Monaco: https://youtu.be/-T4KuwxvQi8

 

EUROPA LEAGUE

Atalanta 3 – 0 Everton: https://youtu.be/igtBOnIuSLE

Arsenal v FC Koln: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uUEFiZ5ArM

15/09/2017 Issue 29

This week Jedi Knight, Mark Hamill, moved over to the dark side by becaming a Wolves fan (by complete accident of course). A Twitter mishap lead to Hamill professing his love for the West midlands side. A fan had tweeted Hamill asking if he was a Wolves fan and Mr Hamill, being the kind soul he is, liked the tweet believing that the question referred to the furry, four-legged animal. Wolverhampton Wanderers naturally pounced at the chance to welcome Mr Hamill to the club, posting a picture of manager Nuno Espirito Santo with the caption “The force is strong here…”. Well played Wolves!

Partick Thisle have changed the name of their stadium following a penned six-figure sponsorship deal. The Jags home will no longer be called Firhill and will be known throughout the world as ‘The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill’. Very important to remember the ‘at Firhill’ as the Managing Director Ian Maxwell thought it was very important to recognise ‘history and tradition’. Fair play!

Kylian Mbappe is now the first player to score two Champions League goals for two different clubs as a teenager; scoring for former club Monaco and now Paris Saint-Germain.

UEFA has charged Celtic and PSG for incidents which occurred during their Champions League fixture on Tuesday evening. A Celtic fan was lambasted by his fellow supporters when he ran on the park and made an attempt to kick Kylian Mbappe. The club will rightly be fined for the incident and hopefully the fan in question will never step a foot inside Parkhead again. PSG have been charged due to damaged seats in the away section. The hearing will be held in October.

The UEFA money pot will be well and truly filled to the brim as FC Basel have also been charged after their fans lit fireworks at Old Trefford on Tuesday night.

Asensio missed Wednesday night’s Champions League match after picking up an infection from shaving his legs. Yes, this is serious.

Rachel Corsie has been appointed as the new captain of the Scotland Women’s National Team by new team coach Shelley Kerr. Scotland got a 3-0 victory in Hungary in Kerr’s first game as the new boss. The goals came from Lana Clelland (15), Claire Emslie (27) and Jane Ross (89).

Frank de Boer has been sacked as the manager of Crystal Palace after 4 Premier League games. Stick to the fantasy football mate! After his 77 day reign he has been replaced by Woy Hodgson.

The Europa League fixture between Arsenal and Cologne was delayed by an hour as thousands of away fans arrived and attempted to enter the stadium without tickets. The Cologne following were allocated 2,900 tickets, but 20,000 supporters turned up at the gates.

 

ONES TO WATCH

May the force be with you: http://www.nme.com/news/film/mark-hamill-becomes-a-wolves-fan-2139778?utm_content=manual&utm_campaign=socialflow&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_term=nme

We’re AT Firhill now: https://twitter.com/ThistleTweet/status/907566524457787393

25/08/2017 Issue 28

Gemma Fay has retired from International duty after almost 20 years between the sticks. Over her career she has made over 200 caps, making her the most capped Scotland player ever. Fay has captained the side since 2009 and led her nation to their first major tournament since 1998.

Leanne Ross and Ifeome Dieke also announced their international retirement this week. All three players were recently inducted into the Scottish FA Roll of Honour as one of just 12 players to have won more than 100 caps.

New Scotland boss Shelley Kerr picked her first international squad for the upcoming friendly against Hungary on Wednesday afternoon. The Scots face Hungary on the 14th September away in Budapest. Celtic’s Megan Cunningham has been called to the national squad in place of the newly retired Gemma Fay. Lucy Graham, who scored a brace for Hibs in their Champions League qualifier, has been recalled and will be hoping to gain her first cap. Squad regulars Kim Little, Jennifer Beattie and Lizzie Arnott are all still ruled out through injury however Manchester City’s Jane Ross, who got injured in the first European Championship tie against England, will return to the squad.

Kerr’s big task comes in the face of the 2019 FIFA World Cup qualifiers which take place in October. The Scots have been placed in a group with Belarus, Albania, Switzerland and Poland. The dates of these fixtures can be found on the Scottish FA website.

Celtic have qualified for the UEFA Champions League following a 4-3 defeat to Astana of Kazakstan. The Scots progressed with an 8-4 aggregate score-line and despite the nervy second-leg the Hoops were never in doubt to qualify. Astana’s opening goal came from an Ajer own-goal. The young centre-half was attempting to block the shot, but instead had to watch as it made it’s way into the Celtic net past Craig Gordon. Scott Sinclair then responded with an outstanding curling effort; the keeper stood no chance. Poor defending after the break left Celtic trailing by two goals as Astana went 3-1 ahead on the night. Things only got worse with just over 20 minutes to play when Twumasi scored his second and Astana’s fourth of the evening. However all was well in the final 10-minutes of play when Olivier Ntcham, who continues to impress in the Hoops, and Leigh Griffith scored to bring the score on the night to 4-3, with an aggregate win of 8-4.

Russian hacking group, Three Bears have released some very telling information regarding some 25 players given therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) and failed drug tests. TUEs allow banned substances to be taken for athletes’ verified medical needs. Now there isn’t a lot wrong with this as long as protocol has been followed, but the leak may re-open the debate regarding whther or not anti-doping agencys are successful in dealing with drug use and whether the systems they set in place can be misused.

Wayne Rooney retires from international football. He ends his England career as the country’s top goalscorer, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton, with 53 goals.

Scores in the 8th minute, ruptures his knee seconds later. Yup! Hamburg winger Nicolai Muller faces seven months recovering on the sidelines after a helicopter celebration caused damage to his anterior cruciate ligament. Ironically, Muller’s goal was the only goal of last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Augsburg. But the 29-year old admitted he felt rather foolish, and so he should. Regardless, we wish him all the best with his recovery.

David Villa has been selected in the Spain squad. Newsworthy because he retired three years ago in 2014. The MLS star retired from international football following the World Cup in Brazil, wrapping up a career in which he scored 59 goals in 97 appearances for La Roja. Villa has now came out of retirment to play for Lopetegui’s side in Spain’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Liechtenstein.

Oliver Burke has left RB Leipzig to go to West Brom. Strange move considering the German side are into the group stages of the Champions League, drawn against Monaco, Porto and Besiktas in Group G.

Celtic were drawn against formidable opponents in Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Anderlecht in Group B. Fans were delighted, expecting they would be drawn once again against familiar opponents Barcelona and Juventus who were drawn together in Group D.

Full Champions League draw

  • Group A Benfica, Man Utd, Basel, CSKA Moscow
  • Group B Bayern Munich, PSG, Anderlecht, Celtic
  • Group C Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Roma, Qarabag
  • Group D Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Sporting
  • Group E Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, Maribor
  • Group F Shakhtar, Man City, Napoli, Feyenoord
  • Group G Monaco, Porto, Besiktas, RB Leipzig
  • Group H Real Madrid, Dortmund, Tottenham, APOEL

Full Europa League draw

  • Group A: Villarreal, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Astana, Slavia Prague.
  • Group B: Dynamo Kiev, Young Boys, Partizan Belgrade, Skenderbeu.
  • Group C: Braga, Ludogorets, Hoffenheim, Istanbul Basaksehir.
  • Group D: Milan, Austria Vienna, Rijeka, AEK Athens.
  • Group E: Lyon, Everton, Atalanta, Apollon.
  • Group F: Copenhagen, Lokomotiv Moscow, Sheriff Tiraspol, Zlin.
  • Group G: Viktoria Plzen, FCSB, Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Lugano.
  • Group H: Arsenal, BATE Borisov, Cologne, Crvena Zvezda.
  • Group I: Salzburg, Marseille, Vitoria SC, Konyaspor.
  • Group J: Athletic Bilbao, Hertha Berlin, Zorya Luhansk, Ostersund.
  • Group K: Lazio, Nice, Zulte Waregem, Vitesse.
  • Group L: Zenit St Petersburg, Real Sociedad, Rosenborg, Vardar Skopje.

 

 

 

 

18/08/2017 Issue 27

FC Schalke will offer every supporter over the age of 16 a FREE pint of beer for their opening league fixture against RB Leipzig on Saturday. CLASS ACT!

Stuart Armstrong pens a new two-year deal at Celtic.

After being signed by West Ham for the small fee of £10.2m back in January, Robert Snodgrass has been told he is free to leave the East London side.

Everton put one foot in the door of the Europa League group stages with their 2-0 win over Hajduk Split. They will be pleased with the result given that the game was brought to a halt by crowd trouble on the 33rd minute. Hajduk fans surged towards the field of play and threw objects towards the Everton crowd. Michael Keanescored the opener and Idrissa Gueye doubled the blues lead following the 5-minute delay during the first-half.

Celtic have pretty much sealed their place in the Champions’ League group stage with a emphatic 5-0 victory over Astana. It was easily one of the best European nights at Parkhead in a long time. A great atmosphere, some terrific goals, some fantastic individual performances and the return of the Green brigade all made for another special European tie at Celtic Park.

Aberdeen have been fined £9,100 by UEFA for crowd trouble during their Europa League qualifying tie against Apollon Limassol in Cyprus at the beginning of August. The crowd were charged on the grounds of “crowd disturbance” and have been punished for failing to follow UEFA regulations with regards to having no travelling stewards.

Hibs are living up to their Championship winning reputation having successfully won both Premiership games so far, including a 3-2 victory over Rangers at Ibrox last weekend. They take on Hamilton Accies and striker Steven Boyd who continues to impress at Hamilton Accies, with three goals in two games. He is another  exciting talent in a list of Accies academy graduates – we will be watching his season unfold in the coming weeks. Hamilton take on Hibernian at Easter Road on Saturday afternoon.

We were sad to hear the news that the former Aberdeen and Dunfermline manager  Jimmy Calderwood has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Our thoughts are with Jimmy and his family; we hope that he will be given great support in the challenges that he will face in the future.

Dundee FC have submitted proposals for a new stadium at Camperdown Leisure Park. #saygoodbyetoDens

And finally, the police were called because Neil Lennon celebrated a goal. (And I wish this was fake news) Please tell me again how thousands of bigots chanted anti-Irish abuse at one man then phoned Police Scotland because he had the last laugh? Outrageous.

 

ONES TO WATCH

Crowd trouble at Goodison Park: https://youtu.be/wtIEsEsDiR4

Celtic destroy Astana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeZZUTrScV4

Rangers 2 – 3 Hibs: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/40913510

Hamilton 3 – 0 Dundee: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/40911933

Six red cards in the Scottish Premiership: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/40919594

Dundee statement: http://dundeefc.co.uk/news/dark-blue-property-holdings-ljrh-chartered-architects-statement/

Neil Lennon celebrates and it makes the news and the police are called: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/40921924

28/07/2017 Issue 25

Viktoria Plzen unveil beer can dugouts. The Czech club partnered with local brewery Gambrinus to create the unique dugouts at their home, the Doosan Arena, to look like two colossus cans of beer. The result is fantastic!!

Apparently it’s not the first time it’s been done. This I was completely unaware of. Sevilla unveiled similar designs in 2014, and they even moved away from liquid based commodities for a time in 2012.

Scotland Women’s National Team were knocked out of the European Championships. Despite the victory over Spain, the Scots couldn’t add to Caroline Weirs first half finish which meant the dream, for now, is over. It was a real classic to watch. There were some mad goal keeping errors, great pieces of skill (including Chloe Arthurs Maradona turn) and some real end to end fight to the finish play from both sides; clearances off the line, last-ditch saves, shots off the woodwork – it was an entertaining and intense fixture to say the least.

England march on to the quarter-finals of the competition, winning all three of their games in the group stage. Toni Duggan, who recently signed a new deal with FC Barcelona, and team mate Parris scored the goals as England defeated Portugal 2-1.

USA won the Gold Cup beating Jamaica 2-1. Jordan Morris scored the late-winner and here it is.

Celtic’s Champions League first-leg tie against Rosenborg proved to be a tricky encounter. The Hoops just about managed to keep a clean sheet but will have been disappointed to not have created many chances in front of goal. With the absence of Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele, Celtic had no natural striker to field and so Tom Rogic was chosen as the man to go up top. He had very little success, and he wasn’t the only one. James Forrest had the touch of an elephant, unable to finish any decent half chance that came his way. Scott Sinclair was effectively marked out of the game by a very organised Rosenborg defence and captain Scott Brown was often bullied off the ball. The young Kristoff Ajer, who has been at loan to Kilmarnock for all of last season, was awarded man of the match and quite right too. He was perhaps the only player to receive pass marks. Rosenborg missed some huge chances, that may well come back to haunt them come the second-leg in Norway. Hedenstad’s free-kick had the Celtic crowd breathing a sigh of relief once once pushed away by Craig Gordon but the biggest sigh of relief came when Yann-Erik de Lanlay fired his shot over the bar from 12 yards out. Celtic controlled most of the possession but without a natural striker they looked lost to say the least. We’ve a big tie to come on Wednesday night.

Aberdeen got off to a good start with a 2-1 victory over Apollon Limassol. Ryan Christie and Graeme Shinnie both found the net in; the captains’ goal was a particularly special finish. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the game so don’t have any analysis to share with you, so here’s BBC Sports take on things: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/40692502

After the Supreme Court ruled against Rangers over their use of EBT’s from 2001 to 2010, the SPFL announced that they could not impose fresh sanctions after seeking legal advice from Queen’s Counsel Gerry Moynihan. Therefore titles that the Rangers unlawfully won, through buying players/staff they could not otherwise afford without the EBT tax avoidance scheme in place, will not be further punished or investigated. The SPFL have called for an independent review of football governamnce in Scotland with particular interest in the way in which Rangers financial problems were dealt with.

The governing body and media silence on the issue, by means of sweeping this under the carpet, shows public support and approval of cheating in Scottish football. Fan groups in Scotland are currently seeking legal advice to call for more action to be taken. The Scottish Football Supporters Association has taken the initiative to call for the first independent evaluation of Scottish football governance. They have launched their campaign #GiveUsOurBallBack and are calling on supporters to take their survey, which was launched in Parliament on 20th July 2017, to gain the fans perspective on the games governanance. Take the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/sfsa-benchmark-2017

 

ONES TO WATCH

The dug-out: https://twitter.com/FootyAccums/status/890882313046949889

Scotland 1 – 0 Spain highlights: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/40748362

Jordan Morris winning goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUlHbY42vZ4

Gold Cup Final highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aj3l3vjDr7M

Aberdeen 2 – 1 Apollon Limassol: https://twitter.com/fitbawweekly/status/890903552570384385

Scottish Football Supporters Association: https://youtu.be/-2orTP0dOWA

Scottish Football Scandal: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/40710728