“Aah, well you see, they are weak at the back.”
Working out how to beat Barcelona is an entirely different and much easier task than actually going out and doing it. Sure, Celtics management had figured out that Jordi Alba would be exposed at the back at corners, but then you need someone to lob a ball forty yards or so, onto someone who will accurately head it past their keeper. Am I the only one who thinks that the players and management haven’t quite had the credit they deserve for the tactical approach, and the discipline and work ethic that ultimately proved too much for the Catalan wonder team?
Sure, every media outlet all over the world has commented on what a great win it was, the support, quite rightly has been praised to the skies, and the “spirit ” of the club has been given as the reason Celtic rose up and punched above their weight to record such a result.
Xavi, the little midfielder who so often controls games, has heard that Craig Levein is considering legal action against the SFA over his sacking, and he has consulted his own lawyers over a possible case against Joe Ledley and Victor Wanyama for “restraint of trade”, as the Celtic players wouldn’t let him do his job. He has also had a moan about anti football, in the same way as Bernd Schuster did a couple of weeks ago. Strangely, Schuster switched his phone off when Tony Watt scored on wednesday, and hasn’t put it back on again yet.
Largely though, Barcelona have been gracious in defeat, and those such as Iniesta and Messi have spoken of the unique atmosphere at Celtic Park-and it did affect them, no matter what they said. If you cast your mind back to when they last beat us at Celtic Park, Carlos Puyol spent most of the game running round calming his team down and getting them to focus. He wasn’t playing on Wednesday, and it showed.
The English media have been at their patronising best, (Wanyama to Man U , etc, when its fairly obvious to anyone he’s going to Barcelona in the summer) still giving the impression that the wee team did the big team, but no-one down here has pointed out that whilst planning the downfall of Barcelona is easy, actually having the players to do it is entirely different. Otherwise they’d all do it.
And we did it. (Pauses to punch air and shout “yes” again.)
Right, got that off my chest.
So, with exposure like Wednesday, and hopefully a couple more performances and results like that, Celtic should be looking at the last sixteen after Christmas, and theres no need to fear anyone.
Yesterday saw the draw for the League Cup semi finals, which paired Celtic with St. Mirren on the 26th or 27th of January, or possibly both. Hearts will face Inverness in the other game at Easter Road. Thats if they are still around that is, though a cynic might be forgiven for thinking that the Jolly Jambos have already decided to take the Sevco route. Well, now that a precedent has been set, whats to stop any club dumping their debt and starting over?
Speaking of Sevco, the club formerly known as Rangers, who still want to be called Rangers, unless its Hector on the phone. Rumours that they may try to emulate the awesome tifo display organised by the Green Brigade (incredibly, it took four long days to put that in place-well done guys), have grown because they can’t be outdone by timmy, can they?
Oh, and it is true about the paratrooper abseiling into the ground with the match ball on Saturday, it is true about the big gun being fired, and it is true that Sandy Jardine thinks they are celebrating 140 years of history.
Sandy Jardine. The factory is open, but its long since ceased production. He now wants supporters to join up with the Rangers Trust and chip in for shares. Charles Green hasn’t really said much this week, as he no doubt ponders his next move knowing Hector is looking nto his past.
Keith Jackson, the man who represents Scottish football on Talkshite Radio, couldn’t bring himself to say Rangers had cheated the taxman the way Hearts have. He still blamed Craig Whyte. Whyte of course, had assistance from a compliant, nay worshipful media, which oddly enough, Jackson failed to mention as well.
With Hearts looking into the abyss that Rangers already tumbledd into, perhaps an investigative hack out there could start to look for similarities between the two clubs. Maybe a common link? Someone who was involved at a high level with both clubs? Because if such a person does exist, his trail of destruction is such that you really wouldn’t want him involved with, say , the SFA, in a senior and influential position, would you?
Yesterdays teaser was answered correctly by nearly everyone again, as it was David Murray , who declared that “business was business” when he called in a debt for about eighty pence and sent Airdrie into the abyss. Presumably to get the place ready for the day his own club would join them.
Today, keeping to the one question leads to another theme, what did David Murrays dad get a conviction for? And why wasn’t that in the papers?
Anyhow, the wife seems to be coming round to my drinking habit. After staggering home around oneish after the Barca game, she said to me
“Why can’t you just go out and have a couple of pints?”
“Fair enough” I replied “Wheres my jacket?”