A single goal from Georgios Samaras (his first league goal of the season) was enough to put Celtic back on top as a tired side proved to strong for an all-kicking , all biting Hearts team. With Darren Barr in particularly fine form, Hearts attempted to put Celtic off their stride with numerous petulant fouls, but they themselves forgot that the actual point of the game is to score more goals than the other team, which apart from one attempt in the first half , they never looked like doing.
Celtic played the game in the commemorative white strip, which due to the sponsors name also being in white, actually looked like it was designed by someone who knows something about football, and not the usual efforts done by those who follow Formula One racing. (I think we can squeeze a couple more logos in there, Bobby) Still, the socks need a bit of work on them… Skys commentator claimed it was the first time Celtic had worn a change strip at home since the Sporting Lisbon game back in the nineties, but anyone who saw Celtic under Martin O’Neill will beg to differ, as the yellow top made an appearance against Hibs, and thats just from memory.
Manager Lennon was delighted to round the week off with a victory, and although he admitted the team was a bit tired as the game went on, he admitted that he didn’t freshen things up because he “wanted to keep the momentum going” . Only with the benefit of hindsight can those sort of judgements be deemed either right or wrong, but the points are in the bag, no-one got injured, so it turned out okay. The only change from the Spartak game was James Forrest in for Scott Brown, so it does seem that he has pretty much picked his starting eleven, or at least his favourite eleven. This means that Kelvin wilson is going to be a regular at the back with Efe ambrose, and whilst not really cause for concern, they both have a casualness which can mean that whilst its anatomically impossible, there is always a feeling that ones heart has moved into ones mouth while watching them.
But, 1-0 is as good as 10-0 as far as the points tally goes, although there is still a feeling that when the forwards find their proper range, someone is going to suffer a heavy defeat. Or perhaps they are saving it for a cup clash against Rangers Re-incarnated.
With Charlie Mulgrew, James Forrest and Adam Matthews signing new deals, Lennon says he is also talking to Thomas Rogne , Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper and hopes to “get over the line soon.” As he says himself, he is “growing into the job (of manager)” and this is an indication of his man management skills, as well as a bit of financial sense if any of the players were to be hunted by sides from England or Europe. If people are happy, they will stay, if people are looked after, they will stay, or at the very least it will be harder to lure them away.
Fraser Forster will join up with the England squad in Burton on Trent, armed with Gary Hoopers mobile number and a couple of videos for Roy Hodgson to watch. Gary has offered to drive him there, and hang a round for a few days to help his big pal out. Forster has little chance of being picked, but will benefit from the experience, and it is a chance for Hodgson to see if he can integrate with the rest of the squad. Why should I mention this? Simply because if the English lads get to play for their country, its another reason for them not to have to move south. The only other Celt to feature for England was Alan Thompson, and that was because they hadn’t got anyone else who could kick a ball with his left foot. Disgracefully, he got forty five minutes on the field and a voucher for his train fare home.
The diary is often quick to criticise journalists when they come away with nonsense in the papers, though in our defence, with guys like Traynor, Leckie, Jackson and Keevins still making a living peddling dross, there is some justification. So, when one of them-not one of those just mentioned, but it was never likely to be, comes out with a genuine, thought provoking and interesting article, it deserves praise.
Tom English, in an article in the Scotsmans sister paper, Scotland on Sunday, raises a question about the credibility that should be attached to the views of the two Andy Gorams, who put together a column in another national rag. The credibility of the former Rangers keepers and their views is already taken with a pinch of salt by most right thinking people, but English , whilst mentioning Gorams somewhat pro Rangers nonsensical ramblings, goes a step further than anyone else in the Mainstream Media (now with added capital letters) and calls Goram for his (their) political views as well. Apart from wearing a black armband to pay homage to his recently deceased Aunt in a Celtic Rangers game(okay , it was four months before the game, but that can be classed as recent , sort of ), some people claimed it was , in fact , homage to Billy Wright, a member of a paramilitary organisation who had been killed by another opposing paramilitary chap whilst in prison. No real effort was made, nor criticism offered, by the media at the time to establish what was going on in his head, or heads that made him want to give such a public display of solidarity. (Or affection, if it was about his Auntie, which , given the delay, is frankly unlikely.) Thing is, though, it was all glossed over, as was his mention in his autobiography, that after Dutch striker Pierre van Hooijdonk missed a penalty against him, he pointed out to the big fellow that he was a “non-white, unclean, non protestant person of unknown parental origin.” this shows two things, one that he is a racist, and two, that he had help writing his autobiography. Given the recent high profile cases in England, and the resultant furour, isn’t it time someone called Goram to account and showed him his p45?
English must be praised for asking the question about why the man is employed in the media at all, never mind the credence given to his “eccentric” views. Coomon sense in the press. Who’d have thought it?
Ally McCoist and his travelling comedy troupe called in at Stirling on Saturday, and just like the last time a bunch of visitors loyal to the English crown stopped by, they were sent home with their tails between their legs. With a disrespect towards their visitors that even William Wallace would have struggled to match, Stirling Albion despatched the perennial strugglers by a single goal, with their goalkeeper replaced at half time, and their manager away getting married, although he did leave a number he could be contacted on if there were any problems.
McCoist was disappointed, but not embarrassed by the result, and the whole lackadaisical attitude was typified by stories, if true, which we are sure they are not, of the Rangers team bus calling at off licences on the way back from away games to stock up on refreshments.
Surely they don’t think they are going to end up back at the top no matter where they finish in the league?
It seems McCoist has, in that well used phrase “lost the dressing room”, but with the drink involved, he might well have lost the whole stadium, literally as well as figuratively. The Ibrox hordes are starting to grumble, and there have been calls for him to go. But who would they replace him with? One optimistic fan on a radio phone in answered “Davie Moyes” which shows how far from reality they actually are.
Billy Davies, the former Nottingham Forest man still hasn’t got a job, though.
Domestic football for Celtic takes a rest for a couple of weeks now, and the spotlight turns to international football, which is a good excuse to get the garden done ready for winter, and look out that old library ticket to help fill in the hours.
In another shocking oversight, the teaser which rolled over was actually won on the original day by Bartly Cole, who pointed out that Leeds , Real Madrid and Inter Milan had never scored a competitive goal at Celtic Park, a bit unfair because Leeds have never played there, and that Rangers had, but wouldn’t again, because they are if not very actually dead yet, they are very nearly dead. (As General Melchett once said, of a rabbit.)
With shirts being a bit of a talking point this weekend, cast your minds back and remind us who scored the first goal for Celtic in a sponsored top.