Four minutes into saturdays game against St. Johnstone, and it was a question of how many. That , however was that for the scoring by Celtic, and by full time, the Perth side had turned the game around for their first win of the season, which in fact is only one less than Celtic have managed in the league.
Manager Neil Lennon wasn’t happy.
“We didn’t do the basics well enough, far too many were out of form. We had chances in the second half but we didn’t compete well enough. I don’t think it was complacency but it wasn’t the quality I expect fromthese players. Maybe the international break came at a bad time but we played like strangers at times today. a lot of them had half an eye on Wednesday night and it is making me re-think my team in terms of their attitude.”
Attitude. Thats the key. Amongst supporters and players there does seem to be a sort of “oh it doesn’t matter, we’ll win the league anyway” feeling pervading. Strangely enough, after just five games, Celtic are fifth, just above the position required to stay in the top half when the split happens next spring. Just because Rangers are spreading the wealth amongst the lower reaches of Scottish football is no reason for Celtic to try to follow suit.
Of course, there is no reason to panic yet, but the warning signs are there. Scottish football was always going to see a different type of season this year, and other clubs have taken advantage of it. Motherwell lead the table, four points ahead of Lennons side, and although Celtic have a game in hand, winning it would still leave us adrift.
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall dismissed talk of winning the league, mostly from desperate hacks who want anyone but Celtic to win it. Actually, thats nearly all of them, despite their prophecies of doom and gloom with no rangers for them to adore.
McCall said “The top of the league stuff is irrelevant to me. Its about amassing points at this stage….but i think we all know where the title is going to end up come the end of the season so there is no excitement in that part of it.”
Motherwell have no Rangers to capitulate to this season, so they might well be there when the medals are handed out. Theres no chance of a treble though, they play ally McCoists phoenix club in the next round of the League Cup, and the traditional heavy defeat will bring the steelmen back down to earth.
During the game at MacDairmid Park, Celtic should maybe have had a penalty, but reallistically, the team didn’t seem all that interested, and took their collective foot off the pedal after Kris Commons scored. Its hard to believe that these players can be as focussed as they were in the four Champions league games, and yet skimp on the bread and butter of domestic football. The age old argument of ” should the crowd lift the players or the players lift the crowd?” comes into it, but that performance on Saturday lacked any more than attitude-players did seem to struggle to pass, or to stick to any pre match plan.
Hopefully, its a kick up the arse for them, and they can get back on track.
Wednesday nights opponents Benfica didn’t play at the weekend, and in fact its a while since they did. At Celtic Park they will be without captain Lusaio, the man whose name is misspelt more than anyone elses in European football. He disagreed with a referee during a game recently, and promptly ~”stuck the heid” on him. He’s out for two months, and UEFA have been inundated with letters of complaint, mostly from me, asking why Willie Collum hasn’t been given a Benfica game for a while.
Down in Division three, its not been a good few days for that cheery cheeky chunkster Ally McCoist, which is good. Firstly, he admitted to the press that he was “Perplexed and baffled ” at the pre match tactic talk down in Annan on Saturday. Oh, hang on, he was baffled as to how the EBT Brazilian waste of a jersey Juninho isn’t the subject of an SFA hearing like the use of it at Ibrox for over a decade involving several players.
The beleagured boss broke football protocol when he spoke openly of another teams business, but no doubt the disrepute charges won’t be winging their way to Ibrox anytime soon. Its almost as though thats what he and owner charles Green are after, perhaps to encourage the seige mentality that will allow green to sell the club before it goes tits up again.
Another little problem for Rangers, swept under the carpet as usual, is the signing of Barrie McKay. The 17 year old was reported as having signed a five year deal last week, which is against SFA rules. Under 18s cannot sign for more than three years. A club statement said that they had at “no time confrmed Barrie had signed a five year deal …(he) has pledged his future to Rangers for the next five years.”
Ah, fair enough. Perhaps the shredder isn’t doing overtime. They don’t seem to have much of a grasp of the rules over there, but then perhaps its just that they are not getting away with it any more. Anyway, captain Lee McCulloch cleared it all up for us. Paraphrasing, because the quote has disappeared from the original story, he commented that he had seen on the clubs website that Barrie McKay had signed for five years.
Rangers are fourth in their division, and can claim yet another record-the only club never to have won an away game since they were formed. Still, its an adventure for them its where they want to be. This thank you post from an Annan athletic fan shows how welcome they are around those little places.
“The Annan committee made a major error in allowing so many Sevco fans into the home end yesterday. Never heard so much utter filth being sung at a football match before, they really do belong in the dark ages. During the first half they were politely invited to shut the fuck up. Being told that their sectarian bile had no place at a 3rd division football match seemed to enrage these neanderthals and duly started to attack some of the Annan support. The polis (sic) were quick to react and i saw at least two Sevco fans being led away foaming at the mouth.”
Later in the post, he says forty or so Sevco fans tried to start a fight, and ” one old sevco fan was going apeshit because my pal had a green polo shirt on. The rest seemed a wee bit confused as to what we were, sheep shagging fenian paedophiles seemed to be the message they were trying to get across”
and yet, rangers websites before the game were appauding the Annan dj, who played such tunes as “Penny Arcade”-so what could have gone wrong?
Oh, yeah-it finished 0-0, and Charles Green was overheard to say “Who the fook hired t’fat bastard down theeyer?”
In the big world outside Scotland, some bloke who no-one likes was upset when another guy he called names wouldn’t shake his hand, but fortunately this major world event was overshadowed by Naked Tit Model, oh wait, I’ve got the letters all mixed up, Kate Middleton was photographed showing her bare breasts. Frankly though, its all a storm in a A-cup.