Well yesterday produced one upset Brass Monkey and no mistake!
Talk about cauld!
It was Baltic just up the road from the old Baltic Fleeto.
It was so cold that in the Main stand, one punter produced a thermal blanket!
It will be flasks of soup next!
As for the game, well it kinda reflected the bitter East end weather; Even though the sun occasionally shone, it was mostly a case of “what we doing here today!”.
Don’t get me wrong, a 2-0 win against a robust Motherwell and hopeless Referee was welcome enough but we never really got going and seemed a little tired and stiff across the side bar wing backs Frimpong and Hayes.
The wing-backs tried to fire us up and onwards but would sadly see the ball just head back towards Broony, then he would pass to Jullien or Ajer who would then send a long ball back to Forster to either start same move all over again or just punt it needlessly up the middle of the park to no-one.
The Celtic play occasionally spluttered into life, especially in the move for the 2nd goal, but in truth we had a few players off the pace and not quite on their game, which was maybe understandable after the huglights ( copyright Etims – Ed) and adrenaline rush of Thursdays events in Rome.
In response to that night and squad availability, Lenny had attempted a slight freshening up and started with Forter and then on either side of Jullien and Ajer, we had Frimpong back on the right, Hayes on the left.
Frimpong and Hayes were our best players. Frimpong showed a great attitude and skill and even when he made the occasional mistake, he would go chasing and harrying to win the ball back. The wee man cant win a header to save himself, but jump every time nonetheless he does and you cant dispute his efforts. Over on the left though Hayes was the stand-out. Up and down the pitch, creating the 2nd goal with a marvelous pass, run and cross move with Eddy and a special note to Hayes for some great crosses in the first half, the sort of corners we have been crying out for but sadly no-one was up to putting them in the net.
Lennon also started N’tcham in the middle instead of Christie. While a lot of folk were heralding N’tchams performance I thought he just kinda died away in the second half and these are the games he could be taking by the scruff of the neck rather than just the occasional flash of brilliance here and there. He had some nice moves with Eddy or Mo but they were rare rather than regular.
Also in midfield, beside N’tcham and the Broony and Calmac pendulum, we had James Forrest. It was one of those days for our Lazio scoring star. Nothing went right and despite a few crosses, he looked stiff and uncomfortable and in need of some wintergreen on his cold legs ( one for Celtic dads – Ed). Hopefully the International break can help Forrest get some sort of rest and come back fresh for the big December run in.
Having a similar game to Forrest was Mohamed Elyounoussi. He huffed and puffed but it just wasnt working. Even worse was I had him for first goalscorer and when Calmac slipped him through, I knew it was gonna be one of those days when he fluffed a decent chance.
Still we cant complain, the guy and Forrest have both did really well for us and these games will happen.
Up front and showing class in spurts rather than abundance was Eddy.Eddy scored his goal, and could have had a few others perhaps but it just wasn’t to be. These are the sort of games he could be getting a rest with 30 mins to go but we have no other striker available. He stroked his goal home with ease and also played in Hayes to send in the cross for the 2nd goal..a decent return for Edouard. The highlight though is watching him dribble with such composure…at one point 4 Motherwell players tried to shadow him and he still beat the lot of them to release a pass.
Ive seen folk actually start to complain about his work-rate…the Larsson Spoilt Effect I call it. How many of our best strikers have ran about like Henrik chasing and harrying defenders? Probably none. He was a one off. Eddy is a totally different player, a different body shape and different skill-set. Our team weren’t set out for a high press yesterday, more a “Can you move a little, you’re hogging all the quilt!” formation.
A wins a win and after such a great result in Italy, we remain top of the League. It was another clean sheet and the goals will return, of that I have no doubt.
Hopefully we might get another striker to help out. either Griff, Bayo or Mr Jan Signing or last minute loanee knowing Mr Lawwell.
A Bhoy can dream.
Forster 6 – Not much to do and out early 2nd half practicing his kicks. More practice needed.
Hayes – 9 – Great showing. The MOTM was energetic despite conditions and caused 2nd goal and sent in great crosses.
Ajer – 7 – Cleared his lines and tried to bring ball out but just not enough to make a massive difference
Jullien – 7 – Kept it clean at the back and battled with the Well #44 . Should now work with Hayes on corners.
Frimpong – 8 – Up and down and round and round. Good show from the young right back.
Calmac – 7 – Passed with ease and kept composure. One great tackle immediately set up a chance that Mo Elyounoussi should have scored.
Broony -6 – Seemed to be on edges of the game for me..take it and pass it style with no major push forward
Ntcham – 6 – Occasional spark or twist to make us smile but not enough to make a big impression.
Forrest – 5 – Not really firing. One of those missing days
Elyounoussi – 5 – More miss than hit. Committed but it just wasn’t there.
Eddie – 7 – Good goal and good passing but lots of balls bouncing away or a step too far with dribble to be a great showing
Manager – 9
This game was all about the 3 points, job done.
A great week so no complaints. Attempted to freshen it up a little so again no complaints. Top of the league and qualified for European football after Xmas, so no complaints.
Interesting start to the game when Green Brigade stayed outside during the Remembrance event. They then arrived inside after an impeccable Minutes silence. The rest of the game saw them singing the old IRA songs which no-one seemed bothered about but cue lots of boos from a lot of folk, in all areas of the crowd when they started singing “You can stick your fucking poppy up your arse!“.
Maybe best sticking with a protest TIFO for such complaints if the old yins reactions beside me was anything to go by.
A special salute to The Kano Foundation who celebrated reaching the 10’000 mark for children benefiting from their fantastic efforts. A worthy round of applause was given by the crowd in respect to their tremendous efforts at getting kids into watch games at Celtic Park.