Wahey …4:1…Whoop whoop…what?
Okay, it may not have been the prettiest performance overall but we did score some lovely goals and we got there in the end after a truly major month of fixtures and high pressure demands.
As for the Match ratings – see below:
De Vries – 5
“Gordon dropped!” was the morning screams as the media tried to get a stooshie raised over this switch. In truth we all knew it was coming as soon as the new guy was ready for action. The new keeper was vocal enough and clearly takes up a more forward position than Gordon but realistically Dorus the Explorer wont be looking back on this debut as a personal career performance highlight. A good punch out in second half just about made up for a near disastrous pass straight to McLean of Aberdeen and the new keeper must thank the stars for Kolo Toures intervention to stop a goal that could have ended the goalies career before it had even begun. He had some erratic kicks as well as some decent kicks overall and given time the relationships will continue to build and hopefully flourish after this somewhat indifferent debut showing.
Tierney – 7
A good showing by the young defender as he got forward where possible whilst covering back when needed. Hopefully Izzy can start getting some game time so we dont chance burnout or injury via fatigue with our future Captain. Hopefully wont over stretch himself with the Scotland squad in Malta.
Toure – 7
I laughed when I saw Newsnow trying to stir it with some idiot questioning why we signed a 35 year old defender. Saved our bacon yet again with a perfect tackle and while he is the size of Cumbernauld, Tore always reads the game so well he that knows exactly where he needs to be and when. If only the rest of the team could read the game as well as our Kolo.
Our giant defence Shepherd is doing a grand job, he’s like an Ent in Lord of the Rings in size and in so far hes been ever so calm, I would hate to see anyone anger him. Must have been gutted when he managed a great block just for the rest of the Hoops to give Rooney all the time he needed to turn and sweep the equaliser in.. Hopefully asleep for next 2 weeks as must need a rest by now after a great months work.
Erik – 7
Another game alongside Toure and hopefully the partnership coming along nicely. Does exactly what needs to be done and no messing about. Which is just what we need given we have plenty of flair players to do the fancy stuff further up the pitch. More to come as relationships improve all around him from keeper to midfield and fellow defenders. Steady as she goes cried this big Viking fan.
Lustig – 6
Another full game for Mikel who is probably covered in bubble wrap, lanolin and full of pain killers by now. I keep hearing folk talk about how his legs have gone but bar one early run passed him in first half, Lustig gets up and down that pitch well and meets the heavy demands of Brendans tactics as well as any plucky youngster. Might need to step aside one day soon for Cristian Gamboa but for now hopefully Lustig can enjoy a rest over next few weeks whilst getting to know Paddy Roberts and James Forrest a little more for those constant interactions and occasional overlaps.
Biton – 5
This was another game where question marked are raised about the Celtic midfield. We flew out the traps and then fell asleep. Just for a long enough period in both halves to have people muttering about needing a change. Biton does play a pretty game but at the moment its pretty lightweight in meeting the demands from both his manager and support. Will struggle to retain his place in all reality and if he isn’t here after the window closes, would anyone really be that upset?
Brown – 5
The captain looked lost in turkey and this was another game where he could have been hooked by the manager if truth be told. The 4-1 victory flatters a performance where our central midfield were absent for a good part of the game. If its game fatigue then Broonys decision to ditch Scotland was the wise one as he looked shattered on Saturday. Its been a mental period so fair enough but this side cant carry any passengers regardless of status.
Sinclair – 6
An enigma wrapped in a puzzle covered in a Mohican. Sinclair is one of those players who literally ghost their way through a game, and I don’t mean that necessarily in a bad way. He must be a nightmare to play against as he is everywhere yet committed to staying nowhere. Bags of skill for sure and energy levels are unbelievable given the way he finishes a game. BUT..and you know there was a BUT coming..he still infuriates as he makes wrong decisions, doesn’t protect his full back enough for me and doesnt pass enough. The 2 sides of Sinclair were captured when he made a great run to earn the penalty ( so much for Dembele being the taker eh?) but he failed to score when right in front of goal, again ( worse still this time he took a ball headed right towards Griffiths). Those foibles can all be improved of course and he must be relishing the upcoming opportunities and we all look forward to some Sinclair driving runs, eh Mr Hill?
Forrest – 6
Does some amount of running both with and without the ball and scored a nice outside of the foot finish to restore the Celtic lead. Could do with some left foot training ( Andybhoy sort it!) as also missed a chance before his goal which would have went in if he had swiped his left peg at it. Substituted in 2nd half and needn’t be despondent with Roberts returning, both will be vital and heavily utilised throughout this season. Interesting times ahead.
Rogic – 8
Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee. I suggested Tom was one who could bounce back after a shadow performance in Turkey and for once I was right. Rogic ran all day ( improved stamina – tick!), whacked the bar with a great shot and made Forrests goal with a sublime pass with 5 Aberdeen players around him. Tom then scored a lovely free kick at the end which helped secure my 4-1 bet so God bless you Tom Rogic. Another who needs some protection as season moves forward, could soon find himself a marked man so lets ensure the hardmen of Scottish football dont get any smart Alec ideas.
Griffiths – 7
Scored a brilliant goal, a sublime Berkampesque first touch that must have the Aberdeen player still in tears, followed by a bullet strike perfectly placed beyond the keeper. Leigh then gave a lovely tribute to young Kieran McDade with Griff showing the shirt with 13 on it. With the goal even happening on the 13th minute, maybe there is a God after all.
Soon after Leigh had a missed chance which went wide when he tried to pass the ball into the net but it just wasnt to be his day after that goal. For the 2nd half Griffiths spent it watching Aberdeen take control as Celtic midfield forgot all about him and their job to supply him with the ball. Eventually subbed and with some suggestions of hamstring tweaks, we have another player who can recharge a little before the Sept 10th game providing he doesnt do anything harmful whilst away with Scotland in Malta.
Dembele – 5
Provided a physical presence when needed and once he got himself up to speed was soon involved in the game. Helped set up Sinclairs penalty by winning the knock on from De Vries kick and this is a tactic we could very well see a lot more off this season, especially late in a game.
Roberts – 5
The people pleaser came on to a big round of applause and made some decent runs down the Celtic right but never really had the chance at goal himself. A decent enough showing after a period away and wee Paddy will be glad to have shaken off the cobwebs with some big games ahead in September and beyond.
McGregor – 3
Came on to help shore things up in last 10 mins and did what he could with limited time.
Brendan – 7
Another one of those games where we score freely ( eventually granted – but hey that also points to higher fitness etc) but some more questions for the Manager to consider within that welcome win. The central midfield hasn’t worked in the last 2 games and no doubt Brendan will work on that over next few weeks. The team still seem to go to sleep at times and more confidence and reassurance is needed for the full 90 minutes. Rodgers will be glad that he has managed to blood his new keeper in before the real pressure racks up and will also be pleased in seeing 4 different scorers in a game. Our leader will know that the 4-1 scoreline flattered the overall performance but it was a deserved win to wrap up a brilliant month of results for Rodgers troops. Onwards and upwards, in Brendan we Trust