If you happen to see a newsflash about a circus missing some clowns, then point the Police in the direction of Dens Park Dundee first, then on to Ibrox in Glasgow.
On their first stop they’ll find big top performers Neil ‘EBT’ McCann, current manager of Dundee, and if he’s still hanging around via BT Sport, the original laughing clown himself Ally McCoist.
The last stop at Ibrox is self explanatory but we’ll cover that particular ‘entertainer’ later.
To justify their clown status we’ll start with the post match assumption of the Dee manager after Celtic thumped his side 4-0 in the BetFred Cup quarter-final on Wednesday night. McCann, without an ounce of irony stated ‘the match was never a 4-0 game’ adding the Hoops scored two goals after the 85th minute.
The relevance of the two late goals to add to an already comfortable 2-0 lead is of no consequence, but the tax cheat did fail to recognise his team, the home side in this fixture failed to register ONE SINGLE SHOT during the 90 minutes. Compare that to the Bhoys’ EIGHTEEN attempts on goal, and anyone with half a brain, something obviously missing from McCann, would see it was at least a 4-0 game.
Not to be outdone, clown number two, Ally McCoist, the first manager of Sevco and BT Sport pundit for the night, must have decided he’d take the heat off McCann by declaring Brendan won’t pick his Celtic side for tomorrow’s derby match until he knows about any Sevco injuries!
Yip, the manager of a side that’s now gone 56 domestic games undefeated, is going to wait until he find out if Pedro will play Bruno Alves or Declan John. Well, given his spectacular success as a manager, it would only be fair to listen to the laughing clown, just out of respect. (snigger)
Which moves us nicely on to the current incumbent of the manager seat at Ibrox, the bold Pedro.
Fresh from his side’s extra-time win over ninth placed Partick Thistle, the dog barking, caravan pulling gaffer threw another of his euphemisms for us to savour. This time liking the players to the ‘batteries of the rabbits from the adverts’, with obvious reference to the Duracell bunnies.
He then followed up his slavering at yesterday’s press conference with some nonsense about Brendan playing four at the back shows the same respect we gave PSG, but if he goes with three he doesn’t. Or something like that.
It goes without saying, who ever taught Pedro Caixinha to speak English is due him a refund. His command of the language is the stuff of cartoons. But credit to him in one respect, he knows how to do what Jim Traynor tells him..
So maybe he’s not as daft as he acts….
In the past international breaks have proved costly for Celtic, with players returning to Celtic Park with injuries, loss of form and/or a dent in their confidence.
Because the players all travel in different directions across the globe, to play with the respective countries, we have no control of where or how they play. However, the last two Scotland performances have somewhat bucked that trend.
With the Hoops supplying six starters in the last two World Cup qualifiers against Lithuania and Malta, the team were bound to show the same traits as they do playing for the club. It was almost a foregone conclusion.
And the one player who really made the most of his game time in Scotland’s dark blue was Stuart Armstrong.
Despite what the player said himself, the ‘will he, won’t he’, signing negotiations took it’s toll on his performances. So much so manager Brendan Rodgers didn’t include him in some games, preferring to leave him on the bench. Something unheard of last season, where Stuart was integral part of the team.
In fact his last appearance prior to signing his new contract was as a substitute at Firhill, where his slack play lead to Thistle having a decent penalty shout at the end of the game. He just looked all out of sorts.
Contrast that to his second half against St Johnstone a week past and you’re talking about the Stuart Armstrong that finished last season so strongly. By all accounts the Bhoy has continued that form in the two Scotland internationals just played.
I saw the first on Friday against Lithuania, but not Monday’s match against Malta, and from my viewing, he’s almost like a new signing.
So thankfully, going into the next important phase of the clubs season, we have another player bang on form, just when we need him…
Whether manager Brendan Rodgers planned to give new Bhoy, on loan Odsonne Edouard a run out on Friday at New Douglas Park or not, the fact that main striker Leigh Griffiths left the Hampden pitch injured tonight, may force the gaffer into throwing the young Frenchman into the mix against Hamilton.
I would doubt very much if Griffiths would be risked on the plastic pitch in South Lanarkshire, with the opening Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain at Celtic Park only days away. Not a risk worth taking in my opinion.
However, Brendan has of course another option.
The welcome return to the club of InVIncible Patrick Roberts could see the young Englishman deployed through the middle in his first game back in Celtic colours. It’s a position the player has played before for the Hoops, so shouldn’t have too many difficulties slotting in.
We are also presuming the other Bhoys away on international duty come home without any injury problems.
Fingers crossed they all return fit and raring to go, as the Champions look to seal our 54th domestic game unbeaten against a Hamilton Accies side who’ve started the season well themselves.
Another game without loss and the Bhoys move a step closer the the 62 game record….
No doubt you’ll have either read or heard about the latest article demonising Celtic or a Celtic player from the bitter hands of the Sunday Mail’s Gordon Parks.
Parks is no stranger to putting out crap, stuff you’d expect to see from a fanzine, and doesn’t disappoint with his latest nonsensical piece on Paddy Roberts decision to come back up on loan to Celtic.
Without going too much into the article itself, the main gist seems to be that poor Gordon must look at ANYTHING Celtic do and think of a way to portray it in a negative manner. I’d go as far as to say by the standard of his writing, it keeps him awake at night.
But there’s another issue here.
As far as I’m aware, before any article is published either a sub-editor or an editor will have to give the nod for publication. So as much as Gordon Parks is guilty of penning the piece, someone else has the final say.
Which tells us the anti-Celtic bias at both the Daily Record and the Sunday Mail is as rife as ever.
If the journalistic profession had any credibility left, cretins like Parks will soon eradicate it, as the industry falls flat on it’s face…
Normally I don’t pay too much attention to international football, my usual interest is mainly the well being of our players while away, but the inclusion of SIX Celtic players in Gordon Strachans Scotland team to play Lithuania last night piqued my interest.
Over the years you become a bit accustomed to watching disjointed and less than cohesive football as many players are used as square pegs in round holes.
But last night the performance of the Scottish team was almost like watching the current Celtic team play, and to prove the point, I was on more than one occasion caught out cheering for the Bhoys in dark blue, such was the similarity.
The influence of the Celtic players on this World Cup campaign cannot be ignored, the style, the pressing and the patience was almost like watching Celtic on a Champions League night. Minus the amazing atmosphere of course.
Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, captain Scott Brown, Stuart Amstrong, who scored the first goal, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths all played their part in the 3-0 victory in Vilnius. Add to the mix a former Celtic player, Charlie Mulgrew and a former Celtic manager Gordon Strachan then there is definitely a Celtic influence.
Yet, some people, mainly in the SMSM, tell us Celtic’s domination isn’t good for Scottish Football….
There’s a myth that’s hung around Celtic like a bad smell for a long time now, and like most myths, is based largely on supposition.
It could be the reputation of the old Celtic board pre-Fergus McCann has something to do with it, but even then as history shows, even they put their hands in their pockets from time to time.
Believe it or not we did break the transfer window record a few times!
The myth? Celtic don’t spend any money.
For years and years, Celtic were always compared to Rangers (IL) when it came to spending, particularly from the day David Murray took over at Ibrox. His overspending, and cheating, gave the football world a false impression that only decades later discovered to be a fraud.
But spend money, usually the tax mans, they did.
Millions and millions of pounds, paying way over valuation, like Tore Andre Flo for example, accumulating tens of millions of pounds in debt. While at the same time making other clubs, including Celtic, risk everything they had to keep up.
Now we all know what happened in the end. The club that Celtic were rivals to, died of financial heart failure. Kaput.
They do have a tribute act playing out of their old stadium, but they’re only a shadow of their predecessors, though they like to talk the same talk. However, when push comes to shove, they can’t walk the walk, unless it’s walking away.
And there’s a lesson for every club not just Celtic.
From the day Fergus walked through the glass doors at Celtic Park, we were never going to get involved in an arms race of sorts with ANY other football club.
We would stand on our own two feet.
Even when the temptation of tax evasion through EBT’s was brought to our table, thanks to the good governance of chairman at the time Brain Quinn, we declined. Living within our means was the way ahead, and so it has proved, over the last 23 years, we do business the Celtic way.
That also means making sure we get value for money in the transfer market. Sure we have plenty of funds available thanks to two successive Champions League qualifications, but that doesn’t mean we should buy for the sake of buying.
I’m sure there was criticism of previous manager Ronnie Deila and CEO Peter Lawwell for bringing to Celtic quantity instead of quality.
The transfer window has thankfully closed for a few months. We have added Jonny Hayes, Kundai Benyu, Olivier Ntcham, Partrick Roberts and Odsonne Edouard to the ranks.
We’ve also extended Stuart Armstrong’s contract, and sold NONE of our main players, despite the efforts of the SMSM, who relentlessly linked Moussa, Jozo and Erik to moves away from Paradise.
All these new additions and contract extensions cost money. We did try and break the clubs transfer record, we did pay the largest amount for a player in nearly ten years.
So when you hear anyone say,’ Celtic won’t pay the money’, politely or otherwise, tell them they’re wrong. It’s just another myth…
If the proposed year loan move for Odsonne Edouard from PSG goes ahead, Celtic will now have three of the most promising French youngsters to choose from.
The French market is clearly the place Brendan Rodgers wishes to shop for the best value, and who can argue with that after watching Moussa Dembele perform for a season, and early glimpses of Olivier Ntcham.
Edouard is only 19 years-old, and like his new team mates has represented France at youth level. The French academy system seems to produce an abundance of good young French players, with many plying their trade all over Europe.
Brendan knows he needed a third striker option and admits himself keeping three good strikers happy is difficult when there’s generally only one starting place.
However, injuries to Dembele and Leigh Griffiths has forced the managers hand somewhat into bringing a loan player in. He has also cover all the bases should Moussa decide to move on, with the option to buy Edouard, depending on how he fares, a ready made replacement could already be at Celtic Park.
Like always, I’ll wait until the young man runs out with the Hoops on before believing he’s a Celtic player.
Now for that centre back….
Maybe it’s an age thing, but nowadays I don’t get too caught up with the feeding frenzy of transfer rumours in August and January.
That’s not to say I don’t get excited about Celtic securing the services of such a wonderful talent as Patrick Roberts, regardless of whether he’s on loan or here permanently, of course I do.
But with the advent of social media, Celtic are linked to players almost daily, and usually the ‘source’ is no more credible than a pish stained guy in a pub who knows a pal, who’s friends with an agent, who’s uncle played for Brechin!
There’s also the ‘Twitterati’ for want of a better expression, who after a few games of FIFA or Championship manager know how to spend our Champions League million’s better than Brendan Rodgers and Peter Lawwell. Bless.
For guys like me, it used to be enough to see the new Bhoy stand on Celtic Park with a green and white scarf, expressing how happy he is to join such a fantastic club with it’s amazing support.
Until Maurice Johnson.
Now, us Celtic Da’s prefer to wait until the player runs out on our hallowed turf with the Hoops on. The we know there’s no turning back from there…
A lesson well learned.
The news every Celtic fan was waiting on finally came just after 6pm tonight when the club announced the return of wing wizard Patrick Roberts on another year long loan from parent club Manchester City.
Speculation has been rife for weeks now that the little genius would be plying his trade back in Paradise.
Add to the mix young Patrick is a Celtic fan himself, and he was revered by the Celtic support, his return makes a lot of sense.
Patrick will of course be back under the watchful eye of InVIncibles manager Brendan Rodgers as he continues to make his way in the game.
There’s no doubt Celtic will try to add another one, maybe two players to help Paddy and his team mates challenge both at home and abroad in what could be a second record breaking season for the club.
Great times ahead for all of us connected with Celtic. Let’s enjoy them.
As if the news that professional footballer Gary Mackay-Steven was rescued from the River Kelvin in the early hours of Sunday morning suffering from hypothermia wasn’t bad enough, the media then switched the focus of the story three times in an hour this morning.
While driving to start my shift, the 7.00am news bulletin broadcast Aberdeen’s Gary-Mackay Steven was pulled from the River Kelvin yesterday. They said he was fine but didn’t elaborate too much.
Within a half hour the news headline had changed to Aberdeen and former Celtic player Gary Mackay-Steven. They didn’t mention Dundee United where he spent four years playing at all.
At this stage I could smell a rat, and listened to the next news bulletin.
This time the headline went straight for the jugular. Former Celtic player Gary Mackay-Steven was rescued from the River Kelvin in the early hours of Sunday morning. It then went on to say he had attended a nearby nightclub, but didn’t name the club.
There was NO mention of Aberdeen.
Which begs the question, why would any media outlet stoop so low as to change the narrative of the story to make the incident look as though a Celtic player is involved?
Maybe the club can asks for clarification.
*The most important thing here is Gary is alright. Regardless of the circumstances.