Tuesday February 16, 2010

Another Week Of Missed Opportunities For The Bhoys

Glenn Loovens (2nd from left) fires the ball goalward to open the scoring for Celtic in their win against Hearts in mid-week (SNS)

European Exit Leads To Fall In Revenues

After a mixed week on the field that left Celtic trailing Rangers by ten points again, the club released their interim financial results that show turnover down by 22.8%, to £36.11 million.

Pre-tax profits also fell from £8.36 million in the same period last year to £1.27 million, reflecting the cost of an early European exit for the club.

In a statement released by the club, chairman Dr John Reid said: "It certainly reflects different, more difficult trading conditions, and it is plain that like other commercial concerns we are affected by the recession.

"But it also reflects disappointing performance on the park; we did not qualify for the UCL Group Stage this season as we had hoped, instead participating in the Europa League.

"While our revenues have reduced, our financial performance remains highly creditable given all the circumstances.

"Despite the absence of Champions League participation, over 50,000 season tickets have been sold and our merchandising business is holding up well, with this year's away kit the best selling for many years.

"Our sponsor program also remains one of the most successful in British football."

On the field, the Bhoys started the week well with a convincing 2-0 defeat of Hearts at Parkhead, which cut Rangers' lead at the top of the table to eight points after their draw away to Motherwell.

Glenn Loovens scored the opener in the 49th minute from a Diomansy Kamara corner, and Marc-Antoine Fortune sealed the win almost immediately afterwards, getting onto the end of a pass from Aiden McGeady.

Their momentum only lasted until the weekend though, when even Robbie Keane's first goal in the Scottish Premier League couldn't help them do more that draw against the Dons at Pittodrie.

Celtic started brightly, with Edson Braafheid striking a free-kick just over the bar in the first minute,

Shortly afterwards McGeady dashed into the box and squared the ball to Keane, whose rebounded shot was fired into the net by Kamara.

Aberdeen were not out of the game though and, after Kamara fouled Mackie, Mulgrew sent the free-kick towards goal. The ball was rebounded and Paton struck the ball into the net with his left foot.

Robbie Keane celebrates in front of the travelling Celtic support after scoring his side's third goal against Aberdeen on Saturday (SNS)

Celtic's lead was restored in the 36th minute when another Keane rebound was shot back into the goal, this time by Fortune.

A minute later though the score was tied again, when a great cross from Jim Paterson came off Braafheid's head, Mackie chesting the ball down and volleying it past a helpless Boruc.

In the second half, Robbie Keane put the Bhoys ahead from a Kamara cross, and they took a two-goal lead after McGeady showed some skills to take the ball into the box and fire a shot past 'keeper Jamie Langfield.

The lead was cut though when Braafheid handled the ball in the box, MacLean making no mistake from the penalty spot.

Both sides had several chances to score as the clock wound down, but it was MacLean who scored his second with two minutes left, after Paton's corner lead to some chaotic defending, the Plymouth loanee deflecting a shot from Mackie and ensuring that Aberdeen split the points.

O'Dea was sent off in injury time, when he picked up his second yellow card with a late challenge on Gary McDonald, topping off a poor day.

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