Celtic Diary Thursday October 27: Late Storm Strikes The North
Celtic extended their lead at the top of the imaginatively named Scottish Premiership with a crushing 4-0 win over a valiant Ross County up in Dingwall last night.
With closest challengers Aberdeen and Hearts suffering defeats-Hearts last night to Kilmarnock and Aberdeen the night before to Willie Collum-only St. Johnstone of the big three rivals picked up any points, after they were held to a 1-1 draw away at plucky newcomers “rangers “, who themselves were thankful for the point as it means they are slightly closer, in points, to the top than the bottom.
Updated 26/10/2016 at 21:40
With another tricky away game at Aberdeen at the weekend, Celts have a chance to pull further away from the dogfight between the next three sides, which in turn would allow a little breathing space as the busy pre Christmas period begins to take its toll.
In fact, if the superb start to the campaign continues, Celtic may well secure enough points by May to make a genuine case to be awarded next seasons title as well, allowing the club to concentrate fully on just the cup competitions.
Nine games, eight wins, one draw and thirty goals scored is as good as any of us could have hoped for , and despite the eight changes to the starting line up last night, those selected were too strong for County, who didn’t deserve to be on the end of a four goal hammering.
Patrick Roberts, handed his first start for a while, opened the scoring after just a couple of minutes, but the travelling support had to amuse themselves by going through the away fans songbook until the impressive Stuart Armstrong grabbed a second while the backroom staff were gathering their stuff together ready to head back to the bus, and further goals from substitutes Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele meant that anyone leaving the ground early missed all the fun.
Manager Rodgers was impressed with his charges in the game against what he called “one of the best teams we have played so far “,
“Our thinking going into the game tonight was that prior to this we had played a lot of games, The intensity I ask the players to play at needs to be at a high level with that variety in the game and the young players that came in delivered.
“Emilio (Izaguirre) and guys like that haven’t played for a long time and I thought they were outstanding but it was a tough game. Ross County are one of the best teams we’ve played.
“It’s a beautiful little stadium, the pitch was brilliant and really conducive to a good football game and I though that’s what it was but I’m very pleased with the players because we kept another clean sheet and like what good teams do, we started quickly and finished strongly.
“They produced another very good performance.”
Rodgers simply wanted to rest a few, and although there were a few eyebrows raised when he announced the team, and a few more during the game, it all turned out fine.
“That was the plan for tonight so it couldn’t have gone any better, I think the game was played at a real good tempo and intensity again and we know it’ll be a tough one for us (against Aberdeen).
“All the games we’ve had have been tough games and the scoreline looks good but that’s credit to the players and their work, their spirit and their quality. We’ll expect another tough game.”
There was reassurance that everyone who was left out is fully fit, and he also took the opportunity to show his man management skills to a wider audience, which wasn;t missed by the more eagle eyed observer. ( me )
“Every single one of them is totally fit, I gave a rest to Scott Brown tonight because he became a father again for the third time. Three boys he’s got now. He wanted to come but I said, ‘listen, look after your wife.’ Family is more important than football.
“It’s nice for him to get a breather because he’s been absolutely incredible and he’ll go into the game on Saturday super fresh, strong and now a father of three. They’re all feeling well.”
Three weans in the hoose ?
And he calls that having a rest ?
I’m sure his wife would have appreciated having a Broony to look after as well having just had another baby. I know mine couldn’t get me back to work quick enough after our third was born.
And I wasn’t even on nights.
It is testament to Rodgers that he has managed to keep the fringe players happy enough to come on and perform as well as they did last night, though there may be doubts about Leigh Griffiths, who endured a frustrating evening, which saw him booked for allowing County goalkeeper Scott Fox to run out and kick him.
With referee Alan Muir having set that particular precedent, it was no surprise in the second half when Craig Gordon, who is virtually re educating himself with the game and its demands,
flew out of his box to place his knee firmly in the back of an onrushing county forward.
Bizarrely this time the referee booked the keeper, which left us all a little confused but then again, in a week where referees have fought bitterly to outdo each other for the prestigious Etims Knob of the Week award, we shouldn;t be too surprised.
Still, although Muir didn’t manage to outdo his more experienced colleagues Collum and Thomson, he still has a few wonderful moments in his own career that stand up there with anything achieved by scotlands most consistent music hall duo.
The Birmingham Mail sports section claims that Manchester United are the latest club to have a look at Moussa Demebele, as they reacted to a tip off from from a Mr. Griffiths of Leith.
Note that its a Birmingham paper covering a Manchester united story, which shows how well regarded the big two Birmingham sides are in their own city… or do we see something more sinister here…?
Manchester United have reportedly sent scouts to watch Celtic striker Moussa Dembele , according to our sister title The Daily Record.
The former Fulham striker has excelled since moving north of the border in the summer.
He was the hero against Rangers at Hampden Park on Sunday and United sent scouts to check on him, reports the Daily Record.
However, Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers opted to rest the Frenchman with Leigh Griffiths starting against Ross County.
Old Trafford talent-spotter Stephen McCarthy was dispatched to the Global Energy Stadium to run the rule over the strike sensation during the Premiership clash.
Dembele has already scored 14 goals – including a hat-trick against Rangers last month and a double in the Champions League thriller with Manchester City two weeks later.
He was also the hero in the Hoops’ 1-0 Betfred Cup triumph over their Glasgow rivals – his 87th-minute winner sending Brendan Rodgers’ side into the Final against Aberdeen.
Dembele – who earlier this week was urged to stay in Glasgow’s East End for another two years by Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane – is one of Europe’s hottest properties, missing out on the prestigious Golden Boy prize to Bayern Munich star Renato Sanches.
Demebele doesn’t need an agent, and when he does leave Celtic, someone will be after his cut, having done more to promote him than anyone else…
Meanwhile, the Fat Controller has his work cut out today closer to home as Joey Barton, the “rangers ” blue chip summer signing is due a meeting with the man whose job he thought he was getting when he signed.
Warburton, however, won’t lay down to Barton, but he has thought of something else, to probably spice things up a bit, as their relationship has soured somewhat..
All these little side issues keep the publics attention away from the real stories at Ibrox, one in particular which will appear on this site a bit later, and there is more concern in the press to keep the massive Ibrox support absorbed elsewhere.
And the less obese as well, presumably.
Astonishingly, it appears an English side are head hunting the Ibrox manager, seemingly impressed by his record of five wins in the league since March.
To clarify, thats the month of March, and not the event of a similar name which they are quite fond of down Kinning Park Way.
From The Sun…
Wigan want Warbs! Latics make Rangers boss Mark Warburton
their top target.
RANGERS boss Mark Warburton has emerged as a top contender for the Wigan Athletic job.
Latics supremo David Sharpe, who sacked Gary Caldwell on Tuesday, is a fan of the Ibrox manager.
And Warburton — whose side drew 1-1 with St Johnstone last night — has been added to a shortlist that includes out-of-work Karl Robinson.
Wigan have been on Warbs’ trail for a couple of years, trying to get him as director of football when Uwe Rosler was in charge.
Sharpe dealt with Warburton and got on well with him when he took Martyn Waghorn, James Tavernier and Rob Kiernan to Rangers last season.
Sharpe has admitted to close friends that he wants to speak to a mystery candidate who is “currently in a job” before finalising his decision on a new boss.
Complete nonsense ?
Maybe, but the transparent attempt to make Warburton look wanted is the latest in a long list of press releases designed to do that, and its all becoming a little tiresome.
The show needs some new characters to maintain its high level of comedic output, and bosses are believed to be in talks with the very man who can restore it to its former glory..
All of this, of course, depends on how quietly Joey Barton slips off into the sunset, but the stress isn’t helping Warburton, who last night appeared to be trying to seek some sort of divine solution to his problems,
Maybe he should look to religion for comfort and inspiration.
Maybe even emulate Jesus by pretending to be dead and disappearing for three days.
There was controversy this week with the latest instalment in the long running new fad known as cyber abuse. A member of the staff at Seamill Hydro, once the playground of European champions, had sent out an offensive tweet… the Evening Times takes up the story…
A luxury Ayrshire hotel has apologised after one of its chefs caused outrage on social media after he called Celtic fans ‘scum’ on Twitter.
Scott Mcqueen- who works at Seamill Hydro- also branded Hoops fans “c****” who should be “round up like cattle and shipped off to a muslim country.”
The Hotel has since taken to Twitter to publicly apologise for Mcqueen’s actions.
Bosses posted: “Thank you to all who have brought a personal post from an employee to our attention, it is disgusting, offensive and entirely unacceptable.
“Seamill Hydro would like to offer an unreserved apology for the obvious offence caused by the personal post of an individual employee.”
Apparently the lad had been previously moved to the kitchens from the swimming pool as he had upset Moslem families by tapping the “No Bombing”sign every time they walked past it.
Caption competition now, and yesterdays picture…
presented us with a clear winner…