Tonight Celtic have the chance to right a couple of wrongs when they face St. Johnstone when they face the in form side in the League Cup quarter finals at Celtic Park. The Perth side won in the league last month, and Celtic go into the game after two defeats-against barcelona and Kilmarnock, and Neil Lennon is adamant there will be no more slip ups.
“There will be a bit of revenge in the air, I’m sure the players will be very motivated. I’m looking for a really good reaction and I’m sure I’ll get that” he said, his fingers firmly crossed behind his back.
“I’m not going to give my team away, but its fair to say it will be a pretty strong team. Its a quarter final, off the back of a disappointing performance and result, and its important we bounce back in the right way. They know how important the shirt is, they know how important it is to play for the club. They didn’t do themselves justice on Saturday and its not often I can cast that aspersion on the players. Thats gone and we move on” he added, mentioning again in public what he has hopefully drummed into his underperforming side.
“We had a proud home record for over a year, which is gone now, so we’ve got to start that all over again. Domestically, we want to put as much distance between ourselves and everyone else as possible, as quickly as possible. We had a bad day and I’ll make sure that doesn’t hapen again.”
Or as the players put it, he’s in one.
Rightly so, the games are coming thick and fast, growing in importance, and tonights one off means that another failure to show will result in no treble this year.
Adam Matthews has apologised for his display last weekend, and Kris Commons reckons the players will bounce back, having received the proverbial kick up the arse.
With the press determined to unsettle as many of the players and staff as possible, mainly because they still choose to ignore the corruption and cheating scandal within Scottish football since the last century, its tony Watts turn to be linked with a move to the glamour of the English Premier league, with West Brom reportedly interested in taking him away, but as he said himself,
“If the club wants to tie me down for the next couple of years they can.”
A strange request, as most players would be happy with a new contract.
Anyway, back to tonights game, and Lennon has added Samaras and Brown to the squad, which at least signifies intent, but McGeuoch and Lassad are still out. St. Johnstone may be without Gregory Tade, Jamie Adams, Paddy clegg Peter Pawlett and old friend Craig Beattie, the memory alone of his triumphant celebrations and broken down move to Rangers should encourage the crowd to “make some noise for the bhoys” tonight.
Down south there is another row brewing over racist comments as a referee stands accused of calling the all new non racist Chelsea player John obi Mikel names. Surprisingly, the media down there have adopted the style of the Scottish media by asking the forst person they can think of for his views.
In this case its Jeff Winter, who you may remember is under investigation for his anto catholic remarks on his own website-which he says was hacked. Asking a bigot for his views on racism, and paying him for it. In one way, its a relief its not just Scotland, and in another its a pathetic example of piss poor journalism which concentrates solely on anything except balanced and accurate reporting. Still, fair play to nicky Campbell, who on his radio show, actually asked Winter about this, and the former ref was then blanked for a while, or treated with the disrespect he deserves, to put it another way.
Charles Green, fresh after his “I want to hear the champions league music at ibrox again” comments, says he doesnt want to play in the SPL again, “unless the fans want it”. With very little comedy being made for tv these days, the Yorkshire terrier is a godsend , especially now the nights are longer and colder.
Playing to the gallery, he said
“We were thrown out of the SPL (no you weren’t, you went under and started a new club), they stole money that we were due from the previous season (no they didn’t, you are a new club, especially with a real firm of liquidators moving in, we are confident that’ll be your new defence), and they are now pursuing title stripping. (From the old club, who cheated.)
“There was money due to Rangers from Sky and part of that was for finishing second. That money has never been paid and has been kept by the SPL (Of course, if it was paid , it should go to the creditors of the old club)
“For me it is very difficult to forgive and forget” he said, as well as remember, presumably.
Ach, they will lap it all up, like they usually do, and then blame everyone else when it goes arse over tit again. Still, at least he has promised to stick by Ally McCoist, which is always good for a laugh.
As they say in Edinburgh, lang may his lum reek. Or “got any gear, pal”, which was pretty much a catchphrase the las time i was there, but it doesn’t fit the story.
Yesterdays teaser was answered correctly, if not spelt correctly by Malkybhoy, as it was indeed Billy McNeill who made the mountain and molehill comments on the centenary video.
Today, with the League Cup the focus of events, think about this. Tony Shepherd-whats his “claim to fame?”
And, has anyone seen Pensionerbhoy-he went to the game on Saturday, and hasn’t reported back yet.