Celtic Diary Sunday August 4
Celtic made it a little bit harder than it should have been yesterday, but safely tucked away the three points and started the new campaign with a deserved win.
Ross County took the lead early on, which wasn’t in the script, but you can take nothing away from the quality of the strike, which had it not struck the underside of the bar would have still been rising this morning. Fraser Forster tried to save it, but was beaten by its pace. Nobody would have blamed him had he decided to move out of the way of it, which was clearly the safer thing to do.
The hoops then settled into the familiar “move it sidieways until the other lot get bored ” style of play, and were unlucky not to equalise on a number of occasions-Derk Boeriggter especially, can count himself unlucky not have have opened his account.
The big Dutchman looked keen to impress, and actually looked the most likely to score until he went over his ankle and went off, allowing Tony Watt to come on and run around for a bit.
Celtic waited until I went for a pee before equalising, which is usually the case, and when chance after chance was squandered in the second half, I was ready to head to the toilets again, when thankfully Anthony Stokes scored his second to secure the points.
Scott Brown won the Man of the Match award, but Stokes and Commons, despite sometimes playing as though they’d only just met, deserve praise for refusing to give up, and still tryng to score when it was looking like they never would. I’m still trying to work out whether the keeper, Mark Brown, deserves praise for his many saves, or the strikers criticism for the many poor misses.
On balance, I think the keeper had one of those days when he was in the right place at the right time.
The later kick-off, which probably won’t catch on, seemed to add to a better than usual atmosphere, people milling around beforehand didn’t seem to be in a rush to pile in that extra beer, and I got served fairly quickly in the Dairy, which is always a bonus. Most fans seemed to prefer the later kick off, which, of course, is primarily why it won’t catch on.
John Keane unfurled the flag, which hung limply next to the pole before being rushed away in case anyone noticed, and with the sun shining straight onto a packed Lower North stand, it was yet again an image to store away in the memory.
Celtic even went out of their way to cover up the seats with a big blanket in the Lisbon Lions Upper-where I had a special season book a hundred years ago. This gesture will be appreciated by the fans who have those seats, as they need not worry about them getting wet while they are away.
One of the most immediately noticeable things about the fans attitude yesterday was the lack of gloating as Second Rangers who have hoovered up the supporters and some of the staff from First Rangers after they went out of business last year. This gloating would have been off the scale had it been the old club, but at half time, the result wasn’t even shown on the screen, and although it was known that Forfar were on the brink of eliminating the phoenix club from the first major competition of the season, I had to wait until after the game for confirmation. Even then, it came from a surprised lady near the Association Club, who told her husband that the huns got beat…
All very low key, and it makes you wonder if the club didn’t announce the score because they don’t care either.
Also at half time, the Paradise windfall winner from Wednesday got a chance to explain her high emotional state when she lifted the £12,000 prize. She had burst into tears on the night, and to be honest, if I had finally won that draw after all these years and found the prize had been chopped, I’d have cried too.
Going to the football wouldn’t be the same if I couldn’t find something to moan about, and consider, if you will, the case of Auld Archie. We’ll call him that because I’m told thats his name.
Archie is 92, and a season book holder who travels on a supporters bus to the games. Down near T39 yesterday, him and his pal went to go through the fire doors, as he , as you would at that age, moves quite slowly and precariously. The young and enthusiastic police officer , instead of perhaps taking his card and swiping him through, whilst allowing him the easier entrance via the fire doors, simply kept shouting at him, asking ” Have you swiped it ? ”
I don’t know what happened after, but one of Archies colleagues was in the queue with me, and he was fairly annoyed by the police attitude, which is not entirely unusual at the football, but to a 92 year old man ?
Anyway, enough about me.
Post match, Neil Lennon was happy enough;
“We were dozy at the start and should have defended the corner better. It was a great strike from their player and Fraser Forster was beaten by sheer power.
“But we were then terrific and played with zest and pace.
“We could have racked up a really big score. We had great movement and build-up play. That’s the best we’ve played since we returned for pre-season.
“Anthony Stokes was there again for us. As a goalscorer his record is excellent and he also has some volume of assists.
“He may not get the number of goals that Gary Hooper got but if you look at his record it is one in two games in Scottish football. So he is one I wouldn’t want to go.”
Goalscorer Stokes was also happy, or was he just relieved ?
“I’m pleased to get off the mark. I want at least 20 goals but I won’t stop if I reach that tally or get to 25. I want to push on.”
Not interested in the baiting by the press, who wanted to know if he was staking a claim for the vacancy left by Gary Hooper, Stokes sighed;
“I just focus on my own game. It was a tough game and we created plenty of chances but just didn’t take them.”
Stokes also commented on what he thought was a blatant penalty, when he was pushed to the ground whilst bearing down on goal.
” It was right in front of the ref. He had a clear view, but that little rat of a referee only gives penalties when he can’t see what happened ”
Oh, hang on, thats what I said. Stokes said :
“I thought it was a blatant penalty. The defender caught me from behind.” Which is far more diplomatic.
Neil Lennon also spoke of his new contract, which he should sign before the Elfsborg game, presumably in case we get beat.
“I am hoping to get that finished off before Wednesday. I have been talking to Peter Lawwell about that.
“It hasn’t been a major issue for me because things haven’t changed that much. The club did look after me last season and have been true to their word. I’m pretty secure with that.”
The deal will make him the highest paid manager in Scotland, ahead of Ally McCoist….
Oh, Ally. Poor, poor Ally.
The sleekit Second Rangers boss managed to deflect attention away from his catastrophic early League Cup exit by having a bit of a rant about Charles Green, who has returned to the cub to top up his christmas money.
Even by the dual faced delusional dopes own standards of doublespeak, its a belter. Apparently, it all started when Charles Green said that winning the league wouldn’t be enough, and he wanted a cup as well.
If I was paying McCoist £750,000 a year I’d want that, and his house and car as well, but the demand for silverware, given the financial outlay, doesn’t seem unreasonable. Except to Mccoist.
“If it was a threat, the self-acclaimed, straight-talking Yorkshireman should know that boys from the west of Scotland don’t scare easily. If he does come back, I’ll certainly go and pick him up at the airport. I won’t have a problem doing that.
“It’s more hot air and that’s what we’ve come to expect from Charles. He just seems to be a devious man. I was appalled by Charles’s comments. The so-called, self-acclaimed straight-talking Yorkshireman again let himself down. He’s an embarrassment.”
“His contempt and total lack of respect for my players, this football club and our support and Scottish football in general is appalling. I’ve got to be careful because Forfar deserved their win and well done to Dick Campbell and his players. But our players picked up the newspaper at breakfast to be reminded they’re the worst team in Rangers’ history.
“I’ll tell you, that would be bad luck – to have the worst Rangers team in history and the worst chief executive in history at the same time. Instead of concentrating on the match, their minds are elsewhere and they’re worrying about their jobs. He’s said some of the players would be under threat too.
Thats from the Herald, penned -or crayoned-by Richard Wilson, so as you would expect, its fairly objective.
“I don’t think it’s surprising that it’s when we’re probably at our most vulnerable and weakest because we can’t play our new signings that Charles has surfaced. The biggest thing of the lot is that he’s turned up after 34,000 fans have bought season tickets. Coincidence? Perhaps not.”
McCoist, there, defending the players from charges of not being good enough, whilst at the same time moaning he couldn’t play the players he brought in to replace them, er, because they weren’t good enough.
The writing is on the wall for the cheeky chappie, but he doesn’t want to read it.
Ninety nine years to the day that the “war to end all wars ” broke out, a war is about to begin within the walls of Ibrox. Lets hope no-one stands too close to the top of the stairs.
Jennifer Love Hewitt was the lass who declared herself to be a Celtic fan on tv in the US, and yes, there are better pictures of her in the internet.
Heres another young actress, reputed to be a Celtic supporter. Who is she ? And what idiot locked her out the house, and made her eat the cats food ?