A spectacular implosion by Terry Butchers Inverness gave Celtic a chance to go clear at the top of the SPFL yesterday with a 2-0 win over family club Motherwell.
While the Highland side were on the wrong end of a four goal thrashing from St. Johnstone, busting coupons everywhere, goals from Anthony Stokes and the ever consistent Kris Commons were enough to defeat the Steelmen, who arrived at Celtic Park with their traditional five at the back and five holding midfielders.
Stokes broke the deadlock with a left-footed strike after 21 minutes before Commons made sure of the points shortly after the break, lobbing the ball over visiting goalkeeper Lee Hollis at Celtic Park.
The victory maintained Celtic’s unbeaten league start to the season and Neil Lennon’s men have a game in hand over the chasing pack.
It came at a cost though, as most games against the Lanarkshire cloggers do, with adam Matthews picking up another injury which looks quite serious.
Manager Neil Lennon said;
“Our initial fears is it could be a fractured collarbone.
“If that is the case we could be looking at three months.
“It puts a big negative on what is a great day for us.”
The villain of the piece, as he often is against Celtic , was silky mifielder Keith Lasley. Perhaps Celtic should wear a blue strip with white shorts as he never seemed to kick anything wearing that particular outfit, which led to several Celtic fans suspecting he may indeed be a fan of another club from Glasgow..
I’ve asked the police if I can borrow their hunsniffer dog to find out.
”I thought it was a penalty,” Neil Lennon stated. “He has taken his leg first and followed through on the ball – anywhere else that is a free-kick.
“Adam did the right thing, he got his body there protecting the ball. For me it is a penalty. It was maybe the way he landed. It could happen anywhere.
“I don’t apportion any blame to Keith Lasley for that. Tackles are made in the game, people fall over awkwardly so there is no blame attached whatsoever. ”
Around fifty thousand people would disagree…
Another negative is the ongoing contract dispute with striker Anthony Stokes, who revealed that come January, he may have to consider other options, such as getting shots on target and actually haging around in the penalty box trying to score goals. Actually, thats a bit unfair. Stokes is doing what he is asked to do, and if anything is guilty of not playing his natural game, which would see him find the net more frequently.
“I don’t know what the problem is, I can’t answer that,” said Stokes. “I’m happy here but I’m now getting to the stage where I can sign a pre-contract in a couple of months so if it stays like that I’ll need to see what my options are and take it from there.
“I’ve always said I want to stay but I haven’t got long on my contract and every player wants a bit of security. I’ll sit back and see what happens but there isn’t much I can do other than play my football.”
“We’re not really close with the new contract, it’s pretty much the same,” said the 25-year-old. “I turned down the last deal and there’s not really been too much discussion since then. I’ll just sit back and see what happens because I’m enjoying my football at the minute.”
His gaffer remains unfazed, and is confident a deal can be done;
“It’s not a question that we don’t want him and I don’t want him to run out his contract either. I’m pretty confident we’ll have Anthony signed sooner rather than later.”
There is apparently quite a gap between what the player wants, which is several thousand pounds a week, and what the club is offering, believed to be minimum wage and every second Sunday off.
Lennon also admitted yesterday that it will be difficult to hang on to keeper Fraser Forster, who had another blinder yesterday;
“I have got to be realistic and honest and it’s going to be difficult to keep him the way he’s progressing,” he said, with a sigh “That’s no slight on us. I don’t know when it will be down the line but I do hope he goes to one of the big clubs because I think he has got the game for it.”
The Mirror has aleady begun sharpening its knives for England manager Roy Hodgson, should the hot favourites for the World Cup fail even to reach the finals.
Matt Law, who seems to have decided he wants Forster in the team, led with this in an article about the Celtic keeper;
” Roy Hodgson failed to send ANYONE to watch England hope Fraser Forster’s Champions League heroics “-his capital letters, not mine. He continued;
Hodgson has promised to stick with under-fire Joe Hart for England’s vital World Cup qualifier against Montenegro on Friday night.
Nobody made a personal check on Forster against Barca last week and there were no England staff in Scotland to watch Celtic’s clash with Motherwell yesterday.
Although Celtic narrowly lost, Forster produced a superb performance against Barca, with wonderful saves from Neymar and Alexis Sanchez.
Forster’s display was watched on television by absent England staff and the 25-year-old was selected in the squad for the Montenegro and Poland qualifiers.
Hodgson insists he knows the talents of Forster and suggested the Celtic star could be given a chance once the latest qualifiers are over.
But Forster may well feel like the odd man out, as Hodgson personally watched Hart struggle against Bayern Munich and John Ruddy is under the constant eye of England goalkeeper coach Dave Watson, who also works for Norwich. ”
Looks like even if Hart flings five into his own net, Hodgson won’t escape the critics.
I missed yesterdays game , as the room I’m currently decorating is a little behind schedule, we were hoping to have it done before roughly in the same month it was started, but thats looking increasingly unlikely, although I am running out of excuses now.
However, a few of the lads tried the Kerrydale Bar in the ground for the first time, and we are hopeful of a speedy recovery after they were told it was £4.25 a pint and £2. 99 for a coffee. If i had went i would have just found a quiet spot and sat outside instead.
Tam Cowan, yesterday in the Record, gave as good a description of his night out at the Barca game as any I’ve seen anywhere else, have a read if you’ve not seen it yet;
The connection between Fortune, Cadete and Scarff was that they had all had perfectly good goals disallowed against former rivals Rangers, and today here are some other faces to think about…
Four players, what do they have in common ?
Did they each leave Celtic then come back again?
Just reflecting on the Stokes position this morning. The club love to pat themselves on the back for prudent management, buy cheap sell dear etc. However, we now have a scenario where Samaras, Ledley and Stokes could all sign pre-contracts with other clubs (using the champions league as a platform for EPL clubs) and walk for nothing. Even if 1 or 2 of these key players is aloud to go for no financial return that had to be seen as attrocious mismanagement. I may be proved wrong – and hope I am – but I’m concerned at the position the club have allowed to develop.
They all played for Celtic?
They all left Celtic and then came back
Is it BBC2?
Wonder how Hooper feels now can,t get a game for a poor Norwich side ,and has watch on as inferior player like Lambert from southampton gets a game what a diddy
Bit harsh matey, mind he scored in the last week or so and has van wolf whistle as competition. And lamberts a pretty solid player with a decent return in the english prem.
Am I limited to 2 lines 0f text now Ralph?
Canny seem to post anything longer than this.
We’ll need to look at this.
No probs been happening for several days bud.
Didn’t realise Bobby Lennox left and came back if that’s the solution!
They were all natural left footers?
They all left kids in the car at Costco?
Uhm. Their names all end in the eh sound. i.e. BertIE BobbY, CharlIE
They cracked the Rubik’s Cube in under 3 months?
OK. Other than the fact they all came back to Celtic after a spell away, is it that they’ve all shagged ladybhoys?
LadybHoys? LOL @ myself
The four of them hate Scot Brown too.