Anyone who over the last year or 2 has enjoyed the excellent TV Series The Mandalorian will be familiar with the greeting between those fine warriors.
They earnestly say “This is the Way” in acknowledgement to rites, rituals and tenet of the Mandalorian way of life.
It denotes their sacred code, their prized level of standards and must be adhered too at all costs.
Failure to follow The Way, would result in disrespect, rejection and ultimately, a life out in the cold, alone and disowned by all others.
The Way must be followed…The Way is the way.
I expect Ange might be quite the fan of Jon Favreau’s hit TV show.
For Angeball must be followed…Angeball is the way.
We all watch Celtic at present and its a very mixed bag on the eye.
We have the wonder that is Kyogo…a class buzzbomb who gives his all every second he is on the pitch.
Kyogo Furuhashi is the embodiment of all things Celtic. Kyogo is the embodiment of all things Angeball.
We have Callum McGregor. The new Captain, left to pick up the pieces as the World collapsed all around him.
A class man who can stay so calm under pressure. A man who knows when action is needed and patience is essential.
Calmac is also a perfect embodiment of all things Angeball.
We have Joe Hart. A new leader amongst Men.
A man grateful to restart his life with new comrades and gives his all and looks out for others.
Keeps it simple and helps others do their roles as well he can.
Joe Hart is the embodiment of all things Angeball.
We have Jota. The star who is happy for others to bathe in the glory of victory.
Jota will happily create the chances knowing others will convert them and take the glorifying headlines.
Jota is the embodiment of all things Angeball.
We have Cameron Carter-Vickers. Like Hart, a man happy to join new comrades in a new adventure seeking glory.
Carter Vickers knows his role and acts accordingly, Always there to press and clear, he battles opposition and gives his all in defence.
Carter-Vickers is the embodiment of all things Angeball.
And then, Im afraid it all goes rather Jar-Jar binks on Ange and all of us.
At least for now,
The problem, at least the current problem with Angeball is it has to be carried out by 11 players who can execute and follow The Way.
4 players and a Keeper just isn’t enough to get through a game against any opposition whether it be Livingston away, Dundee Utd at home or Leverkusen on their holidays.
Ange’s dictate of ball playing fullbacks driving inwards and forwards is great when they have ability to dribble, vision to pass and team-mates making space. What we currently see is Montgomery ( or worse Bolinfuckingoli!) lost on the left and Ralston rampaging right into trouble leaving massive spaces on the right. These spaces aren’t being covered by a wary winger, Abada is no James Forrest used to shielding a Lustig overlap kinda thing.,
Angeball also currently sees us play everything through Callum McGregor. That may seem fine but its not how its meant to be. The centre half or halves are meant to bring the ball through the intial line so players like McGregor can pick it up further into opposition half and bring in players like Turnbull and Rogic and the wingers as they bear down on goal. Currently Starfelt seems terrified of facing the opposition goal and resorts to square passes to Carter-Vickers who says “I dont dribble” so passes it back to him and eventually its back at Joe Hart to repeat ad infinitum.
Only having McGregor there to take a ball also highlights the issues of a non existent midfield. We seem to play a 2-1-4-3 formation and as soon as a ball is lost, we are immediately under pressure as only McGregor is around the centre circle.. Rogic and Turnbull seem to play 20 yards inside opponents half, running or standing in parallel with each other, even mirroring each others lack of bite or ability to tackle. Their influence in the final 3rd is also limited given its so crowded and their game appreciates space to move and shoot.
Up front we now have Kyogo back, hopefully for a long long time. The rustiness could have been shaken off last night and he will find the back of the net again soon enough.
However there is also concern out on the wings. Jota appears to flourish one half and then somehow the team forget he is there the second half. We constantly give him the ball in the first 45 minutes then ignore him for the second. Very strange indeed.
Across on the right, Abada continues to raise eyebrows. he now looks more a forward rather than a winger. A guy who can score goals but cant really dribble or beat a man to the byline with any consistency. Abada is only young of course and hopefully James Forrest can help challenge as well as mentor him in the role.
Of course we do have to acknowledge the major issue that is Injuries.
We hope that Juranovic can return to health and then take up the role at right-back that requires his pace and football brain. No shoehorning him in on the left. Lets see specialists in specialist positions please.
Liam Scales might get a chance over on the left but the left back position being strengthened will probably need to wait to January or more likely seasons end and Greg Taylor will expect to pick up his place again once he has recovered from recent surgery.
In the middle, James McCarthy is in and out of the squad and the Jury is still out on him and his role and input to the side moving forward. So far its been disappointing but if he kicks on could we see him aside McGregor or in place of McGregor in the centre as McGregor gets pushed forward, perhaps.
Up front, Kyogo can get some assistance and respite from new signing Giorgos Giakoumaki. The Greek signing is quite the unit, he is the same shape as Carter-Vickers and if he can get match fit then could provide another option as we try to break SPFL defences. Albian Ajeti is also there to offer some rest time once games are hopefully cut and dried.
That’s a lot of if’s of course.
Which is the problem given that Angeball is so fixed.
Everything must work at all times.
Everyone must give everything at all times.
Every player must execute the plan at all times.
Currently that is not the case.
Ange will not change.
Angeball is The Way. We shall either fail disastrously or we will stumble for now, but eventually we shall make it out of the darkness and emerge into the modern football light as a good outfit.
In order for that to happen, everyone have to get on board. Management, Players and Fans.
Sure cry into your glass in the refuge of your home or pub as the current malaise still lingers, but back Angeball at all times in public as we hopefully creep forward.
Cry for the Board to get as far away from Celtic Park as much as you like, but back the Manager and the team as we face each challenge, at home and abroad.
If we don’t, well only disaster awaits and we shall go back to the start yet again. Some may say cut our losses but for now, I say we hold our nerve and ride out the storm.
The path is clear, the Plan is clear, we just need the players to execute the plan. It may take more than just injuries clearing and a January window but we stick with it and seek a higher ideal.
This is the Way.