Celtic face Hearts today as Neil Lennon’s side look to continue what has been an impressive start to the domestic season, if you don’t count the Dunfermline game.
Apart from saying that sooner or later there’ll be a 7-0 win, the diary isn’t noted for it’s match predictions.
Yokerbhoy, however, seems to be a little more insightful than most…
Hearts have an appalling record against us at Parkhead. In fact, you’d have to go back over 12 years to find the last time they beat us in the league on our patch.
The gorgie goons haven’t had a great start to their league campaign but will take heart from a hard-fought 2-1 away win at Motherwell in the league cup last weekend.
A few new faces are likely to feature in their team selection today with vereran Irish midfielder Glenn Whelan and Frenchman Loic Damour likely to be drafted in to bolster their midfield. Joel Pereira is the Portuguese goalie that they have on loan for a year from Man Utd. Having represented his country at different youth levels he seems to have a certain degree of pedigree and has walked straight into the side.
Craig Halket the ex-Livingston centre back has come in and done well after having signed a pre-contract back in April. He not only defends well but tends to chip in with a few headed goals over a season.
20 times capped NI striker Connor Washington is another new addition coming in from Sheffield Utd. After his 22 outings with the blades last season he managed to notch up a grand total of 0 goals.
Make of that what you will but he supposedly does have pace and good movement on and off the ball and he did break his duck last weekend against the Well. In a sense Naismith is another new signing as he has now been released by Norwich City allowing the tarts to sign him up on..wait for it… a four year contract.
However, the wee jobbie is carrying an injury and looks unlikely to start this afternoon leaving Levein with a dilemma for the lone striker role.
Will he go with free-scoring sensation Washington or even opt for human scud missile Uche Ikpeazu. Mulreaney’s pace could also cause our defence a few problems but overall I don’t think we should have too much to worry about.
Especially if they try to go toe to toe with us. Forward Jamie Walker has a fractured fibula and along with defender John Souttar will be ruled out for today’s encounter.
New loan signing Fraser Forster might make the bench if he is anywhere near match sharp.
I expect our line up to be similar to that of Thursday night. I’m not sure if Elhamed will be ready to return yet and Lenny is likely to persist with bomscare Boli in the left back position.
In all fairness he works very hard, never hides and is anything but boring to watch but his defensive lapses, dodgy positional sense and tendency to ball watch are all serious concerns.
I think the rest of the team will be practically the same as in the last match although there is just a chance that Broonie could be rested. If we can come flying out of the traps and keep the wee huns under constant pressure with our creative players playing their natural game and get that early goal or two we crave, that mob will swallow the anchor and we can open them right up.
Griff can get a run out in the second half and inflict more damage on them. I’d love to see a goalfest today, not only to boost our own players’ confidence but to unsettle the sevco scum at the same time.
Ajer Jullien Simunovic Boli
Forrest Christie Johnston
Subs: Forster, Hayes, Bitton, Ntcham, Sinclair, Bayo, Griffiths
Prediction: Celtic 5 Jambos 0
I’ll go with my usual 7-0, as it would be wrong to start thinking things through now.
You’ll note that Yokerbhoy reckons the manager wll go with Johnston and forrest in the wide berths. Forrest , unless he is rested, is one of the first names on any team sheet, and Johnston seems to be Damien Duffs protege…as Neil Lennon explained..
“I’m delighted with Mikey’s progress and the start he’s made to the season. I’ve shown faith in him, but you have to. He’s played in a lot of big games, which was the challenge we threw to Mikey at the start of the season.
“We know there’s more to come from him. He works with Damien most days and he’s quite tough on him, but he responds in the right way.”
He does score goals, he is not afraid to take players on, and will earn quite a few free kicks in dangerous ares this season, and with Edouard, Christie and Griffiths all capable of converting them, johnston will prove to be an assett.
Which of course, means that Lewis Morgan, Scott Sinclair and Maryan Shved have to fight for a seat on the bench….
Morgan, for some reason, usually wins that battle, leaving both Sinclair and Shved kicking their heels, despite both of them having scored more goals in considerably less playing time than Morgan.
Lennon tried to explain it…
“We don’t want to treat him badly because he’s a senior pro. It’s just that he’s finding it difficult right now to get into the squad. I can’t pick six wingers.
(Six ? He must be hiding one somewhere )
“Our widemen have been playing so well and we’ve been scoring goals. We look a threat. We have good pace in the team, something which Mikey brings to us.”
No argument from me over the first choice pair, but the back up seems a strange choice, given that he flatters to deceive..
Sinclair is being frozen out, as we said earlier this week, and there is little point in trying to tell us anything else.
Shved? No idea what he’s done wrong. and neither has he, probably.
However, Lennon may decide to put one or both of them on the bench today, unless either of them had maybe planned to take the dog for a walk or something.
Victor Wanyama. apparently he has told Fraser forster to keep the number 67 -now Forsters -shirt warm for him, and one report last night suggested the big man has refused terms with Brugges…which means , of course, he’ll be coming to Celtic on loan.
There are one or two stumbling blocks to be overcome before that is even considered an option, the main one being that Wanyama will want probably around twice as much as even Sinclair.
Greg Taylor didn’t feature for Kilmarnock yesterday, Jack Hendry won’t feature for Celtic today, and even the Scottish mainstream hacks might well click as to whats going on there. all that needs to be done is to finalise exactly how and when Kilmarnock will get the money they want for the player, which is reportedly £3m-and he’ll be wearing the hoops.
Probably at centre forward, knowing Lennon’s mischievous slant on tactics and formation.
One other thing about todays game..don’t sing anything that can even be remotely construed as racist, sectarian or even nationalist.
We know we do songs of love and hope, and they do songs of division and hatred.
however, the hacks will be poised, tape recorders at the ready for ammunition to hurl back at Celtic to pacify the hordes who have had a tough week now that observers from outside Scotland have noticed the songs they sing are unacceptable.
With lyrical charms such as “up to our knees in fenian blood ” and “We hate Catholics ” , it’s perhaps bewildering that the SFA or Scottish media have been ignorant of them, but then again, did you ever try to listen to a song when you were singing along with it ?
The day of reckoning is at hand, and I’m going to suggest a few songs that if you sing them, you’ll only have yourself to blame if the police come thundering towards you with their batons exposed..
Rosemary clooneys “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling “is a no no- it contains the forbidden word “Irish ” in the lyrics.
Molly Malone-the tune about wheelbarrows and streets braid and narrow ? No chance. There’s a pub in Glasgow of the same name, and some of the customers have been heard to order their drinks to the tune of Sean south of Garryowen, all copies of which are now stored in the Forbidden Song section of the Mitchell library, and are out of bounds to the regular borrower.
Any tunes by popular Dublin racketmakers U2 are also off the list, as they are largely shite, except for one or two of their early songs, which pretty much all sounded the same anyway.
As for the Wolfetones…well, like other popular beat combos from the island, play them on the bus, or in the car, and if you approach a traffic light wind the window up, and not the attendant police officer.
Be good out there, and if you can’t be good, be careful.
“rangers ” are in Paisley today, and the eyes of the nation will be on their reaction to the UEFA ban. Not the ears, of course, because then they’d have to report on what they’ve heard, so let’s let them do their thing, and we’ll quietly get on with the business of winning nine in a row.
Caption competition from yesterday…