Pressure on as Old Firm play the money game
If the Champions League may safely be described as a tournament that accommodates the needy and the greedy replica prada mini bags, there is little doubt that the Old Firm belong among the Alex Pradas Quiles former.
The two Glasgow clubs, both odds-on to reach the group phase on completion of their final qualifying ties this week, re-enter the continental arena propelled by a timely reminder of the necessity of justifying favouritism.
It took the form of Celtic’s annual returns last week, an extraordinary set of figures that included a record profit of £15million from an unprecedented annual turnover in excess of £75m. That their achievement in reaching the last 16 of the Champions League in the second half of the financial year should contribute almost £12m to their earnings underlines the value of participating in Europe’s premier competition.
Even so, the Scottish champions’ performance is left in the shade by clubs Agata Ruiz De La Prada Shop On Line of equivalent status in England, primarily as a result of the disparity in domestic television revenue. The Parkhead club’s £2m or so looks about as valuable as forged notes when set beside the £40m-£50m available to those at or near the top of the league in the south.
But Celtic’s turnover still outstripped that of Rangers by almost £35m, an astonishing leap ahead given the historic closeness of the great rivals. The Ibrox club’s penalty for failure to qualify for the Champions League after finishing third in the SPL was made painfully apparent by Celtic’s prosperity.
It is in this climate that Walter Smith takes his resurgent side to Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Outlet Online Belgrade on Tuesday for the second leg of a tie in which they hold a 1-0 lead over Crvena Zvezda, the team that used to be known as Red Star. If the advantage seems fragile, Smith and the bookmakers are clearly encouraged by the fact that, in the three games played in the two qualifying rounds so far, they have yet to concede.
There is certainly some substance to the argument that neither the Serbians nor FK Zeta of Montenegro in their two previous outings have offered Rangers a serious test. But the improvement in their defence, effected mainly by the arrival of Carlos Cuellar from Osasuna to partner the veteran David Weir at Authentic Prada Shoes Outlet the heart of it, is undeniable.
The 14 goals they have scored in four matches in the Premier League may be partly down to a lack of stiff resistance in their opponents, but there has also been evidence of a resurgence of ruthlessness that will have deepened their self-belief.
While the Celtic chairman, Brian Quinn, issued his predictable (and perfectly justified) warning that nobody should expect last week’s glowing returns to become a habit – there are too many variables, including the frequently difficult assignment of making the Champions League proper – he and everyone else connected with the club will surely be devastated if the team fail to exploit the 1-1 draw they secured against Spartak in Moscow 11 days ago.
Wednesday’s return with the Russians promises another of Parkhead’s feverish European nights, with a 60,000-strong support willing their heroes towards preservation of a home record that compares favourably with those of the continent’s most formidable clubs.
Contemplating the possibilities, Gordon Strachan evinces a proper respect for his opponents and a clear awareness of potential pitfalls, while maintaining a sound Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Sale Uk confidence in his players’ capabilities. Since Celtic would be guaranteed progress by preventing Spartak from scoring, it is hardly surprising that he should dwell on the significance of his keeper, Artur Boruc.
The tall, broad Poland player casts a shadow under which a scout troop could shelter from the elements, and complements his impressive physique with agility, safe hands, two good feet and quickness of thought and movement. In the 1-0 home win over Manchester United that took Strachan’s team into the knockout stage last season, Boruc’s save from Louis Saha’s penalty and another from the same player were as crucial as Shunsuke Nakamura’s winning goal.
‘Artur has presence, there’s no doubt about that,’ Strachan said. ‘I signed him without having seen too much of him because I was immediately impressed by that presence and the certainty that he could influence those around him. He has vindicated that opinion many times over since he came here.
‘And he does seem especially inspired by these great European events. But that’s what these occasions do for players. Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Official Website Faced with that kind of challenge, Authentic Prada Trainers you become what you are, what you can be, and all of our players have shown that.
‘If you look at the team that finished the first match Black Leather Prada Milano Purse in Moscow, you see that the average age was 24. That is very young for a Are Prada Trainers Made In Vietnam team competing at this level. But they’re maturing fast, they’re learning quickly and they have big hearts. It actually worked well for us in the first match that Spartak showed us their full force in the opening 20 minutes. It was sometimes a bit sticky for us, but we got through it and even took the lead. But, more than anything, Authentic Prada Handbags Online it showed us what they have.
‘We now have the opportunity to show them what we have on our own ground. That will mean trying to make their defenders defend, as opposed to making their midfielders defend. Of course, we could lose a goal, but we can’t allow that to faze us. Our lads have shown themselves to be good at that, not allowing themselves to be discouraged. I don’t think they’re about to change now.’