Celtic show you can buy class!
Well here we are again
What a lovely 3-2 win and what a lovely feeling. Behind twice and still finding enough resolve to come back and then losing a man and finding not only the resolve ( and tactics) to contain Rangers but also step forward and take the lead and see it through to the glorious end.
There’s been plenty said on the game, the celebration and the fans, including Griffiths and Lustig in the Celtic fans and poor Stevie G( a good Celtic man) having to sit in with the Rangers directors box, so will leave that be and incorporate thoughts within the ratings below…
The guy who couldnt get a game on loan at Hibs from Dundee that who!.
As I was heading to watch the game, most of the talk was about Boyata ( more later) and then I saw the team line up in the tunnel and there stood Scott Bain. Turns out Dora the Explorer had failed a late fitness test and the new recruit was in, for this “big pressure game”. And what a performance.
I’m gonna be honest, I think he was all over the place for the second goal and should have did a lot better for that but otherwise, well done Scott Bain.
Bain came and cleared or blocked the ball the ball as needed, He did quite well with his distribution kicks to Ajer on right side of half way line and he caught, yes caught! a free kick. And of course, he made that save from Windass’ ball that was so stunning that poor wee Morelos was so gobsmacked he tapped the ball off the post for Bain to then gather. A gathering that had all stunned and bewildered Celtic fans around the world asking “Whats happened, I dont know what just happened, whats happened?”
With Gordon and De Vries out, Scott Bain has a real big chance now, lets see is he can grab it like he grabbed Taverniers free kick attempt.
Has been playing decent enough at centre half for the last month or so. So what does Brendan do, he punts Ajer out to right side of a 3 in the absence of Lustig and brings Boyata ( more later) back into the defence. It didnt work out well with Ajer 2 yards off for the second goal and Declan john was made to look decent given so much room. Ajer seeing James Forrest so far away in front of him wouldnt have helped either to be fair. It was all a bit out of sorts down the right hand side for Celtic in truth and I cant see that formation being used again in a hurry.
We need Ajer on the ball in the middle of the defence, hes earned his chance to see it out till seasons end. Positives, Ajer held firm in closing 30 mins down when to 10 men and performed one great tackle to help divert a shot on goal.
Was doing ok in a non dazzling way and wasnt really seen much, bar a poor pass to Boyata (more later) in first half and a piss poor attempt at a James Forrest style ‘outside of right boot’ finish at a corner kick when it seemed easier to lash at the ball with his left foot.
Then came the second half and cue the red card and the linesmans dreams coming true. Soft perhaps but even Brendan Rodgers played the diplomat and said he could see why it was given ( hint hint), Jozos elbow meeting Morelos’ face right in front of the Tory Multiple Job MP Linesman. It was a red card going by the law of the land and Jozo should know better, place your hand in their face with sharp nails, not the elbow! and take the yellow card instead
Had a strange game. No-One knows what he was doing at the second goal, seemed to be chasing a ghost into the Celtic goal rather than cover his man but I expect he was probably still spooked by having Boyata ( more later) behind him to be honest.
KT kept at it amd came into the game and even though he was often in the wars, often alone down that bottom left corner, he came through triumphant but will expect much more assistance from his midfield and defence colleagues in future.
“I blame the manager” was the common cry at 12:33 in the Glencairn Social Club where I was watching the game and Rangers taking the lead. I actually thought someone was kidding me on when they said Boyata and Armstrong were back in contention on the Friday night.
I know Boyata and Jozo did well for us a while back but that was a long time ago in football terms and was also in a 4 man defence with Tierney and Lustig on top form. To throw Boyata into a 3 man defence with a new keeper in that game was a big decision. On that performance, it will only strengthen Brendans demands for more quality signings.
Boyata was so confused at the first goal.
He didnt feel safe just kicking the ball out and going against his managers pure football principles
He didn’t feel secure enough passing back to a new keeper
He didn’t feel composed enough with no centre half colleague beside or behind him
He didn’t have the vision to see Windass right in front of him.
Boyata was never match fit and was gasping for air 3 yards behind the Rangers guy by the time the ball hit the net. He won a few crosses and punts as Rangers got desperate and may take comfort from that but even that is doubtful.
The first goal, the awful attempts at control, the bullying from guys in blue shirts and the terrible mid air miss allowing Morelos a clear run on goal were excruciating and Boyata and Brendan will both had had lots to sleep on last night.
One of those “He doesnt do much” games whilst your watching but then you watch highlights and notice its MacGregor who passes to Dembele to start the move for the winning goal. Oor Callum is never gonna grab the headlines unless scoring but this game was all about digging in and covering ground and showing some class when dearly needed. It was also nice to see him enjoy the winner so much.
Had an ugly piss poor start to the game but that may have been due to trying to work out how to compensate for Boyata ( more earlier). A few stray passes and a few mistimed tackles saw our Captain look a litlle out of sorts but then started finding his way into the game and then he started taking control.
Made the second goal with a lovely 50 yard punt despite being hacked down mid-punt and then helped keep the Hun at bay in the second half. He really enjoyed celebrating yet another win at Ibrox, which we love to see.
Class. Simple as that. On a pitch that looked really bad ( at one point Morelos won a free kick after being tackled by a divot!). Ntcham rocked, rolled and ran and passed like a thoroughbred at Cheltenham and one beautiful twist and turn in the second half would have even had Aiden McGeady in rapture.
Continues to grow as a celtic player and the future looks bright for the classy Frenchman in the Hoops…its amazing what quality purchases can produce when needed eh?
Old Twinkletoes comes good yet again.
If i can take you back to last weeks piece (- Class is Permanent),
After a few weeks misfiring, i just feel theres a goal coming from Tom Rogic at some point so thats where my money will be going
Well done to the big Aussie. Danced passed the 3 rangers Players like they werent there and then picked his spot and landed the full weight of his body right on target causing Bates to get carried off. Oh and the ball went into the back of the net for a great goal too.
What a great goal and what a way to silence the ugly horde who thought their day had come. Nothing much more to note than that but more than enough to have us smiling.
Had to be sacrificed after Jozos red card to bring another defender on board with Hendry arriving on 60 minutes.
Sadly it was one of those “Oh James” days. Forrest had one run that earned a free kick and took a fair bit of hacking which seemed to take the wind out of his sails. Kept trying to cut inside rather than take the man down the line and ended up just doing that self inflicted body slam thing he does.
A bad pitch and Celtic played the game very narrow which wouldnt have helped him but this was a missed opportunity for wee James to really step up and step into the spotlight and take himself onto the next level.
Taken off for Edouard ( more later) on 67.
Dembele – 8
Made one, scored one. Not a bad wee return and similar to other recent games.
Dembele still looks like he is finding his feet which can only be truly frightening for the opposition. Made the Rangers centre back look like a wee wean at the first goal with a lovely run, control and then a perfect lob over the keeper ( try and hear “WHATS THE KEEPER DOING!” on rangers TV commentary!).
Moussa fair did his bit and kept at the Rangers defence throughout and Wullie Collum wasnt enjoying seeing his boys in blue being so disturbed. Dembele then showed he isnt just a striker by playing a brilliant through ball for Edouard ( more later) to go on and score.
What a pass. This was eye of a needle stuff whilst under pressure in a packed midfield with Rangers players all around, what a pass indeed and Edouard ( more later) didnt even need to pause as he carried the perfect pass onwards to glory.
On near the end for Dembele and got stuck in where possible but not on long enough to make any impact.
On for 30 minutes and did well to clear the lines and block out the boys in blue.
There is a great wee video from after the game and its Dembele, Ntcham and Edouard driving home after the game in Dembeles car and they are all listening to rap and having a laugh as friends do.
A closer watch shows Dembele and Ntcham smiling and gesturing in the front but there at the back, sits the composed Edouard minding his own business but who then looks up and smiles before he starts nodding away in time to the music, coolness personified.
Thats what the young French brigade bring to Celtic, coolness. They are all class footballers and take pressure in their stride ( Do they have any defence mates – Ed).
Remember, Edouard arrived on the pitch on 67 minutes, the place was pure bedlam, his side were away from home and down to 10 men. Dembele plays the perfect pass with Edouard 25 yards out and the loanee faces 2 Rangers defenders.
Does he panic?
Does he look for an easy safe pass to get rid of the pressure?
Does he run down a blind alley in confusion?
No, none of the above.
He strides forward with his head up and ball at his feet, he dips a shoulder and turns BOTH the Rangers defenders inside out and steps forward into the box and curls the ball into the far corner of the net.
Cool calm and 3 points collected. Sublime.
Sign him up…quality does pay..Did I mention how its amazing what quality purchases can produce when needed eh!
I wasnt sure how this rating was gonna be. In the first 30 minutes, it was looking like a 3. “Fucking Tinkerman” was the name I was giving Brendan for messing about so much.
I could understand Bain in goal but Boyata back was totally head scratching time. 3 at the back wasnt working as Tierney and Forrest were no shows going forward and Rangers punts down the right were causing issue.
But then little things started to matter and creep into my mind, like allowing Tom Rogic the freedom to play as he liked in such a harsh encounter, playing Dembele alone across the entire front line, bringing a player like Ntcham to Celtic and giving him the time needed to find his feet, fitness and the pace of the game.
And of course, theres THAT substitution.
I admit it, I was in the club sighing and saying “Yeah Brendan, thats it, we are down to 10 men, dont need to win, playing away from home and you bring on a striker!”.
2 minutes later I was praying for Brendans forgiveness.
What a masterstroke and even after the goal it was great to see tactically how Dembele and Edouard would share duties and swap roles and positions up front, giving the other a rest or being a nuisance were necessary. Great management.
There was loads of Rangers fan berating Murty for his tactics and failing to step up and claim the win. That is why we have Brendan and why we laud Brendan. The man might have us scratching our heads at times but when it comes to “SO!!, What you gonna do NOW?” decisions, he really knows how to knock it out the park and have us celebrating.
Fans – 9
Oh how they sang, danced and rejoiced. And that was just Lustig and Griffiths.
Leigh Leigh Super Leigh had a great time in particular leading the Celtic fans in celebration. We even had Rod Stewart interupting his presentation of The Best Composer at the Bravo Awards in Moscow to herald the result and goal-scorers which must have confused the attendees in their tuxedoes.
Fairs fair, there was also that Classic TIFO from Rangers fans too, anyone guessed what the fuck it was meant to be yet?