5 Thoughts from Sunday
5 thoughts on Sundays game
McGregor: The rise of the under-rated AND understated player
There are players who shine; There are players who are lauded; Hell there are players who are lauded yet dont actually deserve it and there are also players who just dont seem to grasp peoples appreciation no matter how well or steady they perform.
More often than not that’s due to there being more glamorous players around about them, the phrase water-carriers was in vogue a while back. Those are the ones the fans sing about, the ones the girls and boys swoon about and one the critics rave about. All the while, the under-rated player lives there in the shade, but like many great flowers, they dont shrink and die there, they rise and grow, steadily shooting upwards on the back of strong foundations. And then comes the time that people suddenly start to notice their qualities, their strength, and it’s then the player and the people smile.
Callum McGregor plays the game simply, which is not the same as easy. It was Johan Cruyff who said ‘Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is’. McGregor always looks for the ball and hardly ever loses it when in possession. He rotates possession, covers the pitch and offers both the defence and attack his assistance at all times. He does exactly what his manager and club asks of him and that devotion (at Celtic all his football life remember) can often go unnoticed as others get the headlines and the glory.
It was great to witness McGregors sublime pass into the net( after a 30 yard run to link up with Dembele). Such a confident clinical finish from a young Celt on the top of his game under a guiding and demanding manager who knows exactly what his young devotee brings to the table.
The most deserved goal of the season and here’s to many many more.
Tom Rogic coming on strong
I’ve had a wee niggle with Brendans tendency to bring on forwards when we are in the lead. None of this shutting the game down by killing the midfield ie bringing on Eboue or a Gamboa etc, its all go for ball retention and hold it further up the park.
Yesterday was another example. We are 2 goals up, Brendan brings on Forrest and Rogic. This time however I was nowhere near sighing. For when I saw this I was smiling as Tom Rogic got to add a real tough 20 minutes onto his return time from last weeks Ross County game. Suddenly that lack of forwards for the run in is eased ever so slightly and that shot near the end ( as well as surviving that tackle on him) will give Rogic even more confidence for the final run-in, which is ideal as we aim for the Unbeaten Treble Winning claim to fame.
Scott Sinclair warming up nicely
I had a chat after the game where someone offered they thought Scott Sinclair was Man of the Match. This surprised me as bar the penalty, I, and the person sat next to me, thought he was pretty ropey all day.
I was tempted to have a go at Sinclair whom I think is still playing within himself, despite 24 goals this season and copious assists. Sinclair doesnt start games in an explosive manner, he seems to need time to get into the game and his strength seems to be his energy which sees him flying even at the end of the 90 minutes. That Sinclair last goal bet has been a popular selection and no mistake.
I was tempted to have a go but then I found myself smiling. Why? Well because if this is Scott Sinclair in his first season at Celtic, with so many goals and assists, and he IS NOT playing at his best for 90 minutes, how good will he be come next season, especially with the return of a steady front line given recent chopping and changing due to schedule and injuries to Dembele and Griffiths. Positivity CSC.
On a recent podcast, the Etims team were discussing Brendans thoughts on improving the side and trying to identify where he would be looking to strengthen. One of the team suggested “Right Wing”. When I asked “Why?” they compared the goal and assist returns from Patrick Roberts and James Forrest against Scott SInclair and suggested another Scott SInclair level of player would be in Brendans thoughts. It was a decent argument, on paper, especially given Roberts is a loannee and Forrests form regularly rises and falls.
After yesterdays showing by Roberts however, Im starting to think Brendan might need to redress any other suggestions for that right wing position. Roberts was sensational. Given the start, the instructions and the ball, he took command of the game and took the game to Rangers. His skill, courage and determination were outstanding and hopefully the wee man’s love for Celtic, success and Kieran Tierneys friendship may just be enough to keep him away from a dour life in the EPL with a mediocre outfit after Man City decide he isnt quite what they are looking for after all.
Hold on…isnt that what they did with Scott Sinclair too?…we love a bit of History Repeating and how we love to see a Celtic man dribble and drive forward with the ball glued to his feet! Brendan, make it so!
Management Team Musketeers
A lot has been made recently of Iain Cathro at Hearts getting instructions from Craig Levien sat in the stand. The Scottish media have wailed and moaned about a poor guy out his depth and being either having his tactics rebuked by his boss or simply a puppet or token front man while the Director truly pulls the strings.
Its all pish of course. Levein is simply trying to help his club-mate and no-one should be the least bit worried or even notice such information and advise sharing. Isnt that why its called a Management team?
Now you may be wondering, Whats Hearts got to do with us?
Well, yesterday I was sat just along from the Celtic technical area and do you know what kept happening? Brendan stood inside the area giving out instructions ( how does he whistle that loud?) and all the while he was receiving advice and information from Chris Davies who was back and forth more often than Leigh Griffiths Tinder finger. The dialogue was constant and the information was exchanged, evaluated and actioned throughout the game. It was a true Managerial Team Effort and its always notable how Brendan thanks his entire team after each game.
Remember Armstrongs free kick at Inverness, gap spotted by Davies, instruction shouted by Rodgers, shot struck home by Armstrong..one for all and all for one and no doubt more to come!
There are of course many other things that could be discussed from Sunday –
- The Broony and Armstrong Show
- The Team Movement – check out Michael Stewart on Sportscenes excellent analysis of Celtic’s fluidity if you get the chance – interesting and insightful.
- The Energy and Determination of Leigh Griffiths
- The Leadership by Example of Craig Gordon and Mikel Lustig
- Jozo and Dedryk – A Confident Centre Pairing or do some still think its up for grabs?
Feel free to add your thoughts, questions or solutions below