On Sunday, Budapest Celtic welcomed Pompey Reserves from the UK to Csepel's Fenebahce Stadium, in search of their third win in as many games. Things did not look to healthy for the team from the south coast of England when only 12 survivors of their previous nights escapades turned up for the early morning kick off. One of the absentees who didn’t make it as far as his hotel bedroom was an ex-Wrexham professional player! Celtic too, had their problems, with their Russian Stallion, Stani and Irish ball player Fergal failing to turn up to the ground. To make matters worse, their Turkish goalkeeper, Zafer was driving around in vain searching for the ground!

Despite Celtic pulling together a team with many new and returning faces who had yet played together before, they played at a frenetic pace from the first whistle. Starting with 14 year old Dylan up front and debutant Mike on the left hand side, as well as the skillful Szilard making only his second appearance in the green and white hoops, Celtic still managed to play some fluid football, benefiting from training throughout the summer. It wasn’t long before Celtic opened the deadlock, coming from a familiar source in last season’s top goalscorer Neil Evans. After beating a man he unleashed a venomous right footed shot from 20 metres into the far corner of the net. Moments later the hosts won a free kick for handball on the edge of the area. Evans opted to take it left footed this time, but with the same result. The ball looped over the unfortunate keeper to double his and Celtic’s tally.

Whilst Zafer was having an unsuspecting tour of Budapest, Celtic stalwart Niels Boving stepped into the breach and donned the goalkeepers gloves (well actually one before realizing 10 minutes into the game he needed another!). Boving, was yet to touch the ball and decided he wanted a piece of the action at the other end. Paul Bartlett who was marshalling the defence with ease opted to take a turn between the sticks to unleash his Danish teammate. Boving was not about to disappoint and within minutes of lining up alongside Zoli found himself on the end of a sweet move between Szilard, Jack and Mike before expertly slotting under the advancing keeper. Boving was to get Celtic’s fourth only minutes later as Szilard combined with Jack to set the tall Dane through with another composed finish.

Szilard and Joe McCann were causing havoc down the two flanks and instrumental in setting up most of Celtic’s attacks. Paul Kamondy who was making a long awaited comeback through injury was also to get in on the scoresheet. He brought another dimension of quick intricate passing to the team who were now flourishing and causing the poor visitors no let up. A lovely piece of play again down the right hand side saw Szilard combine with Boving before the ball made its way to Kamondy in the 6 yard box. The American skipped past two challenges before sending the keeper the wrong way for his teams 5th.

The sound of the halftime whistle was welcomed far more by Pompey Reserves than their buoyant counterparts. Even so there was to be another 45 minutes of torment for the boys in blue. Evans, who had been peppering shots throughout the first half finally completed his hat-trick in the first 10 mins of the second half with a fine piece of individual skill. After initially winning a tackle on the half way line, he poked the ball around a defender before running the other side of him, then did the same with a second defender and still had enough in the tank to delicately chip the ball over the onrushing keeper. Evans then made it 7-0 with another long range drive before taking himself off to the delight of the Pompey players, but Celtic were in one of those moods where everybody wanted to get in on the act. After narrowly missing with a surge forward that led to a corner, Gabor Harsanyi, who was back after 3 metatarsal breaks stayed up for the resulting corner which was delivered by Kieran Fahy and after a couple of ricochets found its way to Harsanyi who made no mistake.

An injury to Paul Bartlett who was breaking down all the Pompey attacks along with Harsanyi and Jim Luby, who himself was making a welcome return after years away, meant that Evans was back into the action. The Englishman was making the most of a very tired Pompey backline and sprinted through the defence after being put through by Jack before lashing home his 5th and his teams 9th. For the last half hour, 14 year old Dylan was having an extended stay in the Celtic goal and not having a kick. He more than anyone else, was thrilled to see Zafer arrive for the last 10 minutes of the match. The game then took an unsuspecting turn of events as soon as the Turkish keeper stepped into his role. Pompey mounted their first real attack of the game and a ferocious shot from an acute angle brought a surprised Zafer into making a smart stop. The resulting corner caused mayhem in the Celtic goalmouth and led to a succession of more corners and scrambles. One of the Pompey players joked “This is going to make our stats look so much better!” One major stat was about to change for the worse for the South coast boys as Dylan, who must have been wondering where he had to go on the pitch to get a touch of the ball, was set free on a one on one with the keeper. Dylan was not about to let the moment pass and became Celtic’s youngest ever scorer with an audacious lob over the keeper that even the more senior players marveled at. The youngster was not about to settle for one though, a combination of Evans and McCann, with the latter producing a marvelous first time cross which picked out Dylan who thundered a header home to end the game and complete the 11-0 rout.

MOM - Neil Evans


The most amazing thing about Sunday's 4-2 victory over Szigeti was the fact that at this time last year Budapest Celtic would not have been able even to play the match - of the fifteen man squad, nine of the players on display on Sunday are new to the club during the last six months! 

It was definitely a case of players who've never played with each other before getting used to the feeling - Martin Abel, who was impressive again this week, this time playing out of position at the base of the Celtic midfield, summed it up after the game when I asked him what he'd made of the game, when he said, "Well, at least I know everyone else's name now." 

Celtic actually began the game impressively, going 1-0 up in the first five minutes after a powerful shot from Jack Pilot that the Szigeti goalkeeper couldn't hold, and Niels Boving, back after a long period of recurring injury to the delight of the Celtic faithful, got to the ball first and tucked it away into the bottom corner. Still stuck on the touchline as I recover from my hernia operation, I was overjoyed - not only to see Jack get the shot in, but that Niels was alert enough to pounce on the rebound. One of the weaknesses of our game is alertness to the second ball - Niels was, without question, A Lert on this occasion. 

But Szigeti pushed us back for most of the rest of the first half, scoring two goals and hitting the crossbar and bringing several fine saves out of Bence Zoltan, back in goal after his retirement (at least for this year) from outfield play due to a persistent foot injury. The reason for Celtic's inability to control the first half was maybe that we had so many new players and that quite a few of the lads had to play out of position, but principally it was our stubborn refusal to use the width of the pitch to help create opportunities - we continually tried to move the ball up through the middle of the pitch, and it produced very few openings. A rare piece of width play caused our equaliser, just before the end of the first half, when Franz Besser chased down the ball in the right hand corner of Szigeti's half, and played it back to Szilard Kardhardo, who'd run all the way up the field from right back to support. Szilard's looping, first time cross was met with such upward velocity by Dao Dang Tuan Hu (that's just the one player - although opposition sides could be forgiven for thinking that, as his name suggests, there are four of them!) that both the ball and the little Vietnamese dynamo had to be picked out of the roof of the Szigeti net. 

Half time, 2-2, team talk from me, not happy, because the one thing that I'd asked the team to do before the game - well, let's just say that it involved playing the ball out wide, and...well...enough said. 

But things got better in the second half as the Celtic lads started to get more familiar with what their colleagues would do when they got the ball, and started to use the width of the Csepel pitch and the extensive range of footballing talent idling on the wings for us - Stanislav Ryjov, Szilard Kardhordo, Jack Pilot and Franz Besser. I also think that we were the fitter side on display today - although we do still need to work a lot on our fitness, a lot - and Szigeti were now starting to tire. 

The Szigeti central defenders heaved a visible sigh of relief when they saw that Paul Bartlett, who had spent the entire first half knocking them about and making their lives hell, had been replaced up front by the diminutive Peti Janos at half time. But they didn't count on a dramatic return to form for the Hungarian attacker, who, after a disappointing display against Atletico Match (formerly A.G.S. Paprikas) last week, went flying into Sunday's game, all strength and determination and self-belief, and was soon rewarded for his efforts by a goal after ten minutes of the second half after he latched onto a through pass from Dao Dang Tuan Hu just outside the opposition penalty area. The Szigeti goal keeper didn't advance, and Janos had the whole goal to shoot at from five yards out. It was 3-2 now, and Celtic were starting to dominate. 

Looking much more solid at the back, with an excellent performance at Centre Back from Arick Trettel, and with Dao Dang Tuan Hu and Martin Abel more or less controlling the centre of the field, Celtic dominated the final quarter of the game, and it's surprising they only got one more goal as Stanislav Ryjov started to tear Szigeti to pieces down the left wing. Several times Ryjov reached the byline only to cross the ball just behind six or seven Celtic players lined up in the box - we need to practice making and looking for the late run into the opposition's penalty area, it could've been worth another three goals today. But nevertheless, it was good to see Celtic making such good use of the wings. The fourth goal came from a Ryjov and Janos interplay on the left of midfield, with the ball breaking for the Centre Forward in the penalty area, where he took his second goal of the game. 

4-2, and it was all over. Job done by a Celtic team still not firing on all its cylinders - but once again, with occasional signs of its sublime potential. 

There were several fine performances today - notably Peti Janos' two goals and all round determination; Arick Trettel at Centre Back; Szilard Kardhordo on the right wing and then at right back; and Dao Dang Tuan Hu's performance in central midfield. To my mind, Dao just wins it from Szil - could somebody let Dao know this please, as he won't understand a word of this match report and I have got my translation team (Ade, Vlado, Mrs Coen) working on other stuff at the moment. 

Vlado Panov, whom I interviewed after the game (although the Bulgarian was in pain after an extended tussle with the Szigeti defence - a suspected broken rib), summed it up nicely when he said, "It was a bit of a seesaw first 30 minutes, but once Dao came on and we managed to pass the ball around short, quick, on the ground and accurate the win was sure to come. Second half we completely outpaced them and as usual we probably should've scored a couple of more goals." 

Make that six more, Vlado! 

Budapest Celtic: Bence Zoltan, Gabor Harsanyi, Szilard Kardhordo, Balazs Gabay, Paul Bartlett, Jack Pilot, Stani Ryjov, Martin Abel, Vlado Panov, Peter Janosi, Arick Trettel, Franz Besser, Mike Hughes, Niels Boving, Dao Dang Tuan Hu. 

Goals: Peti Janosi (2), Dao Dang Tuan Hu, Niels Boving 
Man of the match: Dao Dang Tuan Hu 
Debuts: Franz Besser, Balazs Gabay 
Number of nationalities represented in today's Celtic line up: 10

Laurence Coen Reporting Services, Budapest, September 14th, 2008

The final score was 5-4 to A.G.S. Paprikas in an exciting and often bruising pre-season friendly played in the 35 degree Autumn heat at Csepel on Sunday 7th September. Paprikas, who only had eleven players, but boasting some impressive new additions to their squad, took the early initiative with some uncharacteristic lapses in Celtic's normally solid defence, and it could have been a lot more than 2-0 after 30 minutes were it not for some fine stops from Zafer Evren, Celtic's exciting and springy new Turkish goal keeper. Celtic came back into it towards the end of the first half and finally converted, with their two best players on the day, Paul Kamondy and Martin Abel, combining for the German to score with a close range header from Kamondy's corner kick. It was a well deserved goal, as Celtic's offensive play had been strong and often very fluent throughout the half, with several fantastic chances falling to Peter Janosi, whilst Stani Ryjov and Vlado Panov both saw their spectacular, unstoppable shots fly off the bar - with, unfortunately, no Celtic follow up able to convert the second chances. 

Celtic soon drew level in the second half with a great header from Vlado Panov after some more fine work from Paul Kamondy, and it looked like they would soon pull ahead with Kamondy and Abel exerting an ever stronger grip on midfield, and with a string of chances falling to Ryjov and Janosi. But it was Paprikas brilliance that caused the next goal, and Celtic had to pick themselves up again, the score 3-2 now, an increasingly difficult task in the searing heat. 

But they did, with Arick Trettel finally squeezing the ball in with his left foot from a tight angle after an enormous scramble in the Paprikas penalty area lasting at least twenty seconds (felt like twenty minutes for the Celtic support on the touch line - even Heike Bult got up off the floor at this point and started kicking at thin air, willing the ball into the net) and involving four saves or blocks from point blank Celtic shots. With the score now at 3-3, Celtic pushed forward for the killer blow, leaving great big holes in the midfield that Paprikas soon exploited, now going 4-3 up with only fifteen minutes left on the clock. 

Martin Abel, who hadn't stopped running all half, was begging to come off, but Laurence Coen, running things from the sidelines under doctor's orders not to shout or raise his voice for fear of adversely affecting his bruised abdomen and stitches from a hernia operation on Wednesday, ran twenty yards just to scream back at Abel to keep going for another five minutes. Four minutes later and Abel is through with thirty yards on goal, but not clean through, the Paprikas defender is catching from behind, and the Paprikas keeper, impressive all game, is advancing in front of the German. Abel was strong and cool-headed, looking up only once, in the second before he fired past the keeper's right hand into the corner of the net. The Celtic team mobbed Abel whilst their supporters went mental on the touchline, with Neil Evans even looking out from behind his designer shades to check what all the fuss was about, whilst Nigel Killeen checked in with Coen to check if the noise that he'd just heard was Coen's stitches busting. 

Surely, now, Celtic would finally take the lead they had chased so hard all game? 

A promising Celtic move involving most of the midfield was in full flow, and crossing the half way line purposefully, when the referee, who really wasn't strong enough to run a very grown up game like this one, called play back in response to...well, in response to what, no one is quite sure. Paprikas took the free kick quickly with most of the Celtic midfield still on the half way line, and desperate tired legs in the Celtic defence clumsily gave away a free kick ten metres outside the Celtic penalty area. With almost the last kick of the game, the impressive Paprikas centre midfielder curled the kick around the Celtic defensive wall and top cornered it with Evren taking at least two full metres of air in his desperate lunge to stop a certain goal. 

That was it. Paprikas had their revenge and were absolutley delighted, as on the same pitch nearly four months before Celtic had destroyed them 9-1. It's a telling statistic however that only three of the Celtic players who took part in that 9-1 thrashing of the powerful, cup-winning Paprikas side, were on the pitch today. In spite of the fact that the Celtic club is turning people away from its training ground on Tuesday evenings. 

It's a time of transition for Celtic who boast enormous potential for this new season but were unable to convert that potential in the heat today in spite of the most incredible determination and never-say-die spirit. 

I pity the team that comes up against the fulfilment of this potential over the coming weeks.

Budapest Celtic: Zafer Evren, Gabor Harsany, Rob Longworth, Szilard Kardhordo, Fergal Strumble, Paul Bartlett, Jack Pilot, Stani Ryjov, Martin Abel, Vlado Panov, Peter Janosi, Paul Couling, Zoli Radvansky, Arick Trettel, Paul Kamondy 

Goals: Martin Abel (2), Arick Trettell, Vlado Panov 

Man of the match: Martin Abel 

Debuts: Martin Abel and Arick Trettell 

Number of nationalities represented in today's Celtic line up: 10 

Best performance by a Celtic player playing for the other team: Zoli Radvansky, who stepped up to help the opposition for the full 90 minutes and revealed himself to be an accomplished defender 

Thanks go to Paul Couling who showed up for his second Celtic game only to be asked to play for the opposition again. We took him back at half time, but rest assured we won't make a habit of this, Paul. Thanks again.

Laurence Coen Reporting Services, Budapest, September 7th, 2008

Belgium based UK expat team British Utd, were the last touring side of the summer to play Celtic this weekend. Celtic managed a solid performance to make sure that they were in top form for the upcoming 2008/09 season. Carrying on from last week's goal bonanza, the green hoops managed another 5 goals without reply. This was courtesy of their young Vietnamese striker, Dao who notched his first hattrick for the team in fornt of his joyous parents who were there to support. Goals also from club stalwart Peti Janosi and Stani Ryjov who's fleeting appearance in the first half showed glimpses of a great potential partnership down the left hand side with Szilard.

The win wasn't as comprehensive as the scoreline suggests especially after borrowing two of Celtic's new boys Johny Bennett and Paul Couling who had impressive debuts. British Utd's Marc Gawley also wanted to point out that the league games in Belgium are only played 35 minutes each way, which played a part in the result!

Once again football was the winner and all involved with Budapest Celtic F.C. wish to thank Marc and British Utd hope they have big success in the new season back in Belgium.

Also a special thanks goes out to the supporters who turned up at the weekend to watch the game and hope you were mildly entertained! We all know that a certain Vladimir Ryjov enjoyed himself during and after the game!


Budapest Celtic were not exactly the perfect hosts as they extended their unbeaten pre-season run to three games at the weekend. Poor old Pompey Reserves had 11 reasons to have sore heads on their way back to the South Coast of England and none of them included drinking as goals from Neil Evans (5), Niels Boving (2), Dylan Pilot (2), Gabor Harsanyi & Paul Kamondy gave Celtic a comprehensive win. 

A game played in great spirit at Csepel's Fenebahce Stadium was followed by food and drink at the Caledonia afterwards. Lucas Green from Pompey Reserves presented a wonderful Man of the Match award to Neil Evans, to remind of the fun weekend had by all.   

Budapest Celtic wish to send their big thanks to Lucas for bringing the team over, a safe flight home and a big congratulations to Richard the stag!