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The Future’s Bright…It’s Green and White!

The Future’s Bright…It’s Green and White!

With a number of important games on the horizon, Brendan Rodgers was always going to shuffle his pack for the visit of Kilmarnock in the BetFred Cup last night.

He knew he’d be without the suspended captain Scott Brown, and with his usual understudy Mikael Lustig rested, the gaffer chose 20 year-old Kieran Tierney to skipper a much changed side from Saturday’s opening day win against Hearts.

Celtic started, and finished, the game with Anthony Ralston (18), Kristoffer Ajer (19), Kieran Tierney (20) and Calvin Miller (18) as their back four. Koussi Eboue (19) and Kundai Benyu (19) also featured in the starting eleven, though Eboue went off injured in the second half, after an impressive first 45.

Brendan sprinkled enough experience throughout the side, Craig Gordon, Jonny Hayes, Stuart Armstrong and Leigh Griffiths to help the young Bhoys out.

And it worked a treat.

After taking the lead courtesy of a 14th minute Leigh Griffiths penalty, Kilmarnock never really lay a glove on this Celtic side. Further goals from Anthony Ralson, a debut header on 21 minutes and another Leigh Griffiths strike on 29 minutes, effectively finished the game as a contest.

The second half was much more of the same, with the Hoops keeping total control of the ball, but will be forever remembered for captain for the night, and man of the match,  Kieran Tierney’s 35-yard screamer on 65 minutes!

Stuart Armstrong completed the scoring six minutes later after another strong run and cross by Anthony Ralston, who was a good candidate for man of the match himself.

The stats show a comfortable 5-0 victory for the cup holders, with an impressive 70% possession, against another Premiership team. Incredibly, it was also the InVIncibles 50th domestic match unbeaten under Brendan Rodgers tenure.

A wonderful achievement.

And more importantly, the future’s bright, it’s without doubt, green and white!

Speculation And Confirmation, The Last 24 Hours In The Celtic World…

Speculation And Confirmation, The Last 24 Hours In The Celtic World…

In the last 24 hours we’ve seen two pieces of ‘news’ dominate the Celtic world.

The first has been ongoing since the end of last season, but in the last day or so is gathering pace to hopefully reach a conclusion that will keep EVERY Celtic fan on the planet happy. The imminent signing of Manchester City’s and Celtic invincible, Paddy Roberts.

Over the last couple of days, the news outlets basically said the destination of young Patrick would be either Celtic Park or the French Riviera, with Nice looking to sign the winger.

Well, either that was bullshit, quite possible with the media, or it was a stunt by the French club to get their real target, Allan Saint-Maximin from Monaco, who they signed last night.

That signing has effectively paved the way for the return to Paradise of Roberts, should Celtic and Manchester City agree terms, though to b e honest, I’d thought the conditions for making Paddy a permanent signing were negotiated before now.

As always, the bookies too are heaving their say. They make Celtic favourites to capture the Bhoy, so, for once, here’s hoping they’re right!

The other ‘big story’ to break came from CQN last night, in the form a really cryptic piece that implied plenty but provided little, with the caveat of ‘now a live case’ at the end of the article.

However, the gist of the story, if you read between the lines, not always that easy to be honest, was the involvement of the SFA, possibly Dunfermline Athletic, although not named, and maybe a couple of other prominent ‘businessmen’ who are all involved in a scandal that will rock Scottish Football.

Now, I don’t know who’s behind the story but if Paul Brennan is involved, I’d be inclined to believe the piece, he’s not one for spinning out bullshit.

A developing story, as the article says….

Daly Spat Just A SMSM Deflection From Hoops Performance…

Daly Spat Just A SMSM Deflection From Hoops Performance…

Celtic started the league campaign at Paradise yesterday, as if the new season was just a continuation of our unbeaten last season. The Hoops strolled through the game against manager less Hearts, scoring four times with the loss of a late consolation goal.

In fact, the Bhoys were so far ahead of the Embra side, Brendan took off man of the match Leigh Griffiths, with 25 minutes to go, meaning we were effectively playing without a recognised striker for the remainder of the game!

Two goals from Leigh, along with some great touches, and some brilliant, unselfish running, a single each from Scott Sinclair, who like Griff, seems to love scoring against the Jambos, and Callum McGregor completed the scoring for the afternoon. Callum was unlucky not to have himself another couple of goals.

In reality, it was just like ‘another day at the office’ for the six-in-a-row Champions.

But that doesn’t make good headlines for the SMSM. To mix things up, they could easily have chosen to ask the question why Kyle Lafferty was allowed to stay on the park, after he was given a foul against him for deliberately diving, not long after he received a booking?

A booking that was long overdue, I’m sure it was his sixth offence, before referee Clancy yellow carded the big streak of piss*. (Yet Broonie was booked for his first foul?)

Or they could go with Hearts caretaker Jon Daly’s scathing attack on Brendan for the Celtic boss daring to stick up for former Hearts gaffer Ian Cathro? There was also some nonsense about it being a ‘disgrace’ to talk about another teams players.

Although last season the bold Pedro ‘named’ the Motherwell  and Aberdeen teams to play against Sevco, without a word said!

We all know what they’d choose.

The whole soup taker Daly and Brendan spat was just a deflection from reporting the fact that Celtic are just 13 games away from breaking another record. That would be too much for the SMSM to swallow…

*They could also have reported the same Lafferty giving the Celtic fans behind the dugout ‘the finger’ after he was substituted. I’m sure had Broonie or Leigh did the same it would have been covered….

S’happening Bitton?

S’happening Bitton?

When Kieran Tierney greeted Nir Bitton at the entrance to Celtic’s Lennoxtown complex a few weeks back and asked him ‘s’happening Bitton?’ the support had a right good laugh to ourselves.

Here was a player, talking to team mate the same way we would talk to our pals. In other words, like everything Kieran does, we could relate to it. ‘Bitton’, who was in and out of the team at the time, just gave KT a high five and moved on.

I’m sure they still greet each other the same way but maybe the answer might be a bit different, because the in the last two games, Nir Bitton, first as a substitute in Trondheim on Wednesday, then playing the full ninety minutes at Celtic Park yesterday, has been outstanding.

With injuries to Dedryck Boyata and Erik Sviatchenko, the support were asking if Brendan would go into the transfer market for another central defender? Knowing Jozo also has to be carefully managed in case of injury, it seemed a logical step.

But the boss had other ideas, and after watching him play the same role in training, he decided Nir Bitton would fit the bill in the centre of the back four. The 6’4” Israeli international has the attributes to do the job, and unlike a new signing, doesn’t need time to get settle and get to know his team mates.

Whether the move works long term remains to be seen, but for now, he’s doing just fine…

 

 

 

Injury Battered Celtic Just Pressing On…

Injury Battered Celtic Just Pressing On…

Before a ball is kicked in this season’s league campaign, reigning champions have already been ravaged by injuries that’s left Brendan Rodgers without four key players, two central defenders and two strikers.

Dedryck Boyata was the first casualty hobbling off with a knee injury during the clubs preseason match against Slavia Prague, an injury that will keep him out of action for at least three months.

Next to go was Moussa Dembele after he suffered a setback in training, ruling him out of the start of the league campaign and the rest of the European campaign, with September being the earliest he might be back. Like Boyata, he won’t be rushed.

And just when Moussa broke down, our other main striker Leigh Griffiths complained of a calf strain, serious enough to keep him out of the first Rosenberg match at Celtic Park, recovering only to feature for the last half an hour in Trondheim on Wednesday.

To make matters worse, Erik Sviatchenko, who was also a doubt for the game in Norway, suffered another injury after only 24 minutes of the game. The news today that Erik will be out for at least another six weeks is a blow to Brendan, and the Bhoys, as he tries to get a settled team to try and emulate last season’s magnificent achievements.

What won’t happen though is panic from the manager.

Brendan will look at the situation and decide if he needs to bring in more bodies. He’s already stressed he only wants quality, and he doesn’t want to bring in players for the sake of it.

However, times like this you often discover other players will step up to the plate. Like Nir Bitton did on Wednesday night…

 

Celtic Head To Asia To Play In Europe…

Celtic Head To Asia To Play In Europe…

In the crazy world of UEFA and European football, Celtic will travel to old foes FC Astana in a bid to make the Champions League group stages.

Brendan and the Bhoys took care of the team from Kazakhstan in an earlier round of the same competition last season, with two penalty goals from Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele giving the Hoops a 2-1 home win, after a credible 1-1 draw in Central Asia, courtesy of Griffiths.

The tie is definitely the worst we could have hoped for travel wise, but the fact we played them, and won, last season will give the team and fans a boost, as we bid to make it two in a row for the group stages.

And this year, the Bhoys have a different mentality, as we showed against Rosenberg, a mentality instilled by the manager that can cope easier with high pressure games, having played so many over the last 12 months or so.

The first leg of the play-off tie will be at Celtic Park on Wednesday, August 16 (KO: 7.45pm), with the return in Kazakhstan the following Tuesday, August 22 (KO: tbc)