The stress and pressure of playing football for an hour and a half a couple of times a week has been blamed for Celtics inconsistent league form. another couple of points dropped yesterday as St. Johnstone levelled Tony Watts opener, and although coupled with Hibs 2-1 win over Dundee utd, the top of the Premier League is green and white, its not neccessarily in the right order.
Thankfully, some of our precious players will get a rest during international week, or injuries week, as it should be known, because although Pittodrie isn’t quite the Camp Nou, (its colder , for a start, ) the trip north next weekend is to face Aberdeen has taken on the mantle of a “crunch game”
It really is time to start taking the league seriously. All this talk of making up ground when the European group games are done sounds rather hollow and complacent. Celtics domestic shakiness isn’t the only reason the league is so tight. The other sides fancy their chances now, with only one dominant side, and dare I say it, less honest mistakes by officials.
Many years ago, when Henrik Larsson was being disrespectfully rubbished by southern media “experts”, an Italian, Gabriel Marcotta, I think- I might be wrong-chose to go against the accepted opinion that Larsson was a good player in a poor league, by claiming that his consistent excellent record was despite playing against teams four times a year, and constantly doing something different against them, thus making his achievements more, and not less , impressive. Just now, it looks like the other Scottish sides have the measure of how Celtic will play, and also how to combat it. If not to secure a win, or even steal a point, but certainly enough to make it difficult. Thats why this week, the management and players need to take a good look at themselves and move it up a gear.
Lennon said, after yesterdays game,
“I have been in worse positons than this, we are two points behind with a game in hand, and if we win the game in hand we are top of the league. Last year we were fifteen points behind.”
“We have played considerably more games than any other team in the league, 9 or 10 more and we are only into november. There was a flatness and lethargy but thats the amount of games catching up. After the champions League group stages are over and we get a month or two of wee to week football I think you will see the team get consistent and play with more energy than they are playing with after these games.”
Aye, but don’t tell us what you think might happen. go out and make it happen. The Seville season saw us rue a few 1-0 wins, where we always thought it would get better. It didn’t, we left it too late.
Incidentally, well done to all at the game yesterday for respecting the minutes silence, especially as the club read out the names of former Celtic players who had been killed in action during the two major conflicts of the twentieth century. Over at Ibrox, the new Rangers picked up where the old one left of with soldiers mixing with the crowd and a nice big gun to remind everyone exactly what sort of weapons killed those that they were about to remember. Still, at least they didn’t mix up the live shells with the blank ones. That would have been catastrophic. Funny, but catastrophic.
Surprisingly though, the Ibrox club didn’t dig a trench around the pitch, fill it with water and ask supporters for a few quid extra to relive the whole experience. But theres always next year.
Anyhoo, back to the gaffer.
Lennon has also said he will ask Billy Stark to leave Charlie Mulgrew and Kris commons out of the Scotland side to face Luxembourg, a bit unfair, as it may be their only chance to be on a winning side in an international.
The next game, as we have already noted, is against an on fire Niall McGinn and Aberdeen, and with the dons just one point behind Celtic , they will be up for it. Defeat will send Celtic spinning into third place, and despite having a game in hand, thats not good enough.
Elsewhere, Alex McLeish has endorsed Joe Jordan for the Scotland job, as he tries desperately to keep himself out of the media spotlight, now that the big Tax Case might finally have a result. Another who doesn’t seem to want the Scotland job is Walter Smith , who is now a NED, (non executive director) at the phoenix new club Rangers , who he once said “were not going in the direction he wanted, but he wished the mew club all the best.”
It might be a short term appointment though, as after the story of Front door Liz, the Ibrox hostess getting her jotters, there is another rumour of discontent over the cash in the Rangers fighting fund, as charles Green has allegedly demanded it, and the RFF have refused to surrender to his request. And it seems they have asked Alloa to wait six weeks for their money from the Cup game, and then they tried to shaft Hearts by offering them £500,000 to settle the £800,000 debt they have with them, and at the same time sleekit rookie boss Ally Mccoist was telling them how he felt for them during their crisis…
Whatever can it all mean? Is it true they are about to run out of money again? Not another administration beckoning?
The Celtic Catalogue has dropped through the letterbox, inviting the supporter to choose from a range of tat to remove the process of thought from buying Christmas presents. The presentation is actually better than recent efforts, but the males chosen to model the clothes all look as though they have irritable bowel syndrome.
Still, buying via mail order means that you won’t have Bertie Auld following you round the club shop telling your kids they look great in that scarf/hat /jacket, and it will save you a fortune.
Lou Macari was the man who lost his job , in part, to his habit of phoning betting hotlines and he was discovered by then owner Fergus McCann. Its unlikely that this was the prime reason for Macaris departure, and even if he hadn’t been caught doing this, McCann had it in for him, and was about to sack him for not taking his empty tea cup to the kitchen one day.
Fergus McCann. There was a man with a mission. We all remember fondly his battle with Jim Farry, but what was his issue with UEFA concerning John Collins?