HELSINKI OR SWIM; CHAMPIONS LEAGUE... CHAMPIONS... CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Lenny's battlers ain't drown and out yet.
Byline: COLIN DUNCAN
AGAINST the backdrop of Michael Jamieson's Olympic heroics it was Helsinki or swim time for Celtic as they embarked on yet another quest for Verb 1. quest for - go in search of or hunt for; "pursue a hobby"
quest after, go after, pursue
look for, search, seek - try to locate or discover, or try to establish the existence of; "The police are searching for clues"; "They are searching for the Champions League football.
And while they appeared to be drowning after falling behind at the start of the second half they produced an impressive late rally to keep their hopes of reaching the group stages and landing a pounds 12million jackpot afloat.
Celtic fan Jamieson provided the pre-match entertainment at Parkhead when his silver-winning effort at the Aquatics Centre was shown live on the giant television screens inside the stadium.
Roared on by 50,000 of his fellow supporters it was a surreal moment as the impressive crowd willed the 23-year-old to become the first Scot to win a swimming gold since David Wilkie David Wilkie may refer to:
EVIDENCE Jamieson, who had aspirations to play for the Hoops and whose father was a professional with Hearts, Stenhousemuir and Alloa, produced the swim of his life but came up agonisingly short and had to settle for second place.
Yet, while the Glaswegian was compensated with a silver medal there will be no such rewards for the SPL (1) (Systems Programming Language) The assembly language for the HP 3000 series. See assembly language for an SPL program example.
(2) (Structured Programming Language) See structured programming.
1. champions if they fail to press home their advantage against a distinctly average HJK HJK Helsingin Jalkapallo Klubi (soccer, Finland)
HJK Hærens Jeger Kommando (Norwegian Special Forces)
HJK Hi Jump Kick (gaming)
HJK Hong Kong - Japan - Korea , Submarine Cable Helsinki side in the second leg next week.
It has now been four long years since Celtic made any kind of waves in a Champions Leaguesized pool and those who turned up in large numbers last night are desperate for a return.
On the evidence of this showing you would expect them to be too strong for the Finns who are a hardworking but limited bunch.
However, it will be no formality and the class of 2012 will have to overcome the weight of recent history.
You have to go back to 2008 and the Gordon Strachan
Gordon David Strachan /strɔ:n/ OBE (born 9 February 1957, in Edinburgh) is a retired Scottish football player, and is now a football era to find the last time the Hoops were mixing it with the big boys of European football.
Under Neil Lennon Neil Francis Lennon (born June 25, 1971 in Lurgan, County Armagh) is a professional footballer from Northern Ireland. He is the former captain of Celtic F.C., after leaving the club at the end of the 2006-07 campaign. Celtic have belly flopped in all three summer Euro play-offs having been caught cold before the domestic campaign was up and running.
This time last year they crashed 3-1 over two legs to Sion in the Europa League before being reinstated into the competition when it emerged the Swiss outfit had fielded ineligible players.
Twelve months earlier they suffered a Euro double whammy double whammy
informal a devastating setback made up of two elements
double whammy n (col) → palo doble
double whammy n (inf when they were turfed out of two competitions before the kids were back at school.
In the Champions League Braga despatched them 4-2 on aggregate and despite taking a 2-0 lead in the first leg against Utrecht in the Europa Cup play-off a humbling 4-0 reverse in Holland put paid to their chances of qualification.
In 2009 they did well to beat Dynamo Moscow 2-1 on aggregate in the penultimate play-off round only to then face Arsenal, who coasted to a 5-1 success, blocking their path to the group stages.
Indeed, 2007 was the last time Celtic triumphed in a final European qualifier when, after two 1-1 draws, they edged out Spartak Moscow in a penalty shoot out. That same kind of resolve and there were - encouraging signs last night - will be needed if the current side are to make any sort of splash in the Champions League this season.
Despite a stunning start Celtic couldn't press home their early superiority. They could have been three goals to the good by halftime and arguably should have taken the lead inside 10 seconds but Gary Hooper fired into the side netting.
PEDIGREE A fresh air swipe by the striker allowed another opportunity to slip away while a terrific save from Finnish keeper Ville Wallen denied Joe Ledley.
Helsinki were well organised, but they have only once been in Europe's premier competition and that was 14 years ago.
Their pedigree doesn't come close to matching Celtic's but after a 9-1 demolition of Iceland outfit KR Reykjavik in the previous round they had to be respected their cost in recent seasons - as Scottish teams have found to seasons, reputations count for little these days.
Helsinki were not overawed and it came as no great surprise when they plunged Celtic Park into silence when Rasmus Schuller gave them the lead two minutes after the restart, calmly slotting home at the second attempt after Fraser Forster had blocked his initial effort and Victor Wanyama failed to clear his lines.
However, it didn't take long for the home support to find their voices again and with 53 minutes on the clock Hooper latched on to a terrific Georgios Samaras cross to sidefoot beyond Wallen.
And then on the hour Celtic were in front, exposing the Finn's dodgy dodgy - Synonym with flaky. Preferred outside the US rearguard rearguard
1. the troops who protect the rear of a military formation
2. rearguard action an effort to prevent or postpone something that is unavoidable
Noun 1. with last season's Player of the Year Charlie Mulgrew heading home a Kris Commons corner.
Helsinki are not quite sunk, but it will be a surprise if Lennon's men are not still swimming after the second leg next week.
SPLASH HIT J Celtic fan Michael Jamieson, whose Olympic heroics were screened at Parkhead, above, shows off his silver medal, right LEVEL BEST 3 Gary Hooper celebrates after hitting Celtic's equaliser