Only a few weeks ago, we were being fed a fantasy by the SMSM that the new club out of Ibrox were going to give us a title challenge, and stop our double treble ambitions. The fantasy was based on hope. There was very little evidence to support this stance.
It was all conjecture.
Sevco had at the time, and still have, Graeme Murty their under 20’s coach, managing their side. He was the only option they had after Aberdeen’s Derek McInnes knocked them back. His record going into the derby game at Ibrox on the 11th of March was so-so, baring in mind, every point won by the new club was treated as league winning!
We were told this was going to be the day the gap would close and Murty and his players were going to give Celtic something to think about. Such was their belief, only days before, the same players cheered after being drawn against the holders in the Scottish Cup semi-final! (Boy would than come back to bite them in the arse!)
And on the day, they couldn’t have wished for a better start, Windass capitalising on Boyata’s lapse in concentration after only two minutes, and firing past debutant Scott Bain in the Celtic goal.
You could hear the excitement of every pundit (well nearly every) in Scotland as the Champions fell behind. This was going to be THEIR day!
Even after Tom Rogic equalised, they still believed. And when Candeais put the home side back in front, their pulses soared with excitement. All they needed was to get to half-time in front…if only!
But then the whole thing came crashing down.
In the final minutes of the first half, captain fantastic Scott Brown fired an inch perfect ball over the Ibrox defence to the man himself, Moussa Dembele, just as 40,000 bluenoses were asking themselves, ‘whit’s the goalie dain’?
Moussa knew what he was ‘dain’, so he chipped the ball over Fotheringham to make it 2-2, and deflate the overexcited gullibillies….
The second half saw another glimmer of false hope for the Sevconians, when Jozo Simunovic was sent packing by referee Willie Collum, much to the delight of his assistant, Tory MP Douglas Ross, who was seen on TV to be yelling ‘red card, red card’ in his mic.
Their joy was of course short lived, as manager Brendan Rodgers pulled off a master stroke and introduced young French striker Odsonne Edouard who duly repaid his managers faith by scoring Celtic’s third and winning goal, only minutes after his iintroduction!
That day was the end of any serious, although it was more in hope, notion that Sevco could challenge us, so it came as no surprise on Sunday when Broonie and the Bhoys strolled around Hampden picking them off at will.
Had it been a boxing fight, the game would have been stopped at half-time, such was the Hoops dominance.
But four goals to nil doesn’t tell the full story…..
While we basked, they imploded. First the fan come player, and not a very good one, Andy Halliday was substituted minutes before the break. He was visibly upset, possibly because the Celtic support were chanting his name, but more likely because he was hooked by the rookie manager. You could see the vains in his neck as he vented his anger towards the dugout.
Things gradually got worse for the ‘pretenders’. Golden boy Ross McCrorie was red cardede after pulling Moussa Dembele to the ground, to give Celtic a penalty and a chance to make it 3-0. Dembele duly obliged, with a little Panenka chip as Fotheringham dived the wrong way.
Candeais was next to show his disgust as he walked straight down the tunnel after being replaced by fellow countryman Bruno Alves. Although his introduction did little to stem the flow, as Olivier Ntcham scored Celtic’s second penalty of the day to make it 4-0 not long after.
With Celtic now on course for a historic double treble, the atmosphere over in Glasgow’s south side couldn’t be more different.
Since the game, we’ve seen Kenny Miller and Lee Wallace publicly disciplined following a dressing room altercation, believed to be with manager Murty, ‘fans’ padlock the gates to the training ground, while demanding they ‘deserve better’, a supporters group advocate a silent protest this Sunday against Hearts, some might say they rehearsed that last Sunday, and former chairman Alistair ‘no surrender’ Johnston telling their fans that off the park they’re ‘ahead of the curve’!
To say they’re in meltdown is a bit of an understatement, but I’m sure the SMSM will in their own way soothe the pain of the gullibears by announcing an ‘orange strip’ for next season….
Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic will travel along the M8 tomorrow lunchtime to Easter Road knowing a win will give the Hoops a SEVENTH league title for the second time in our 130 year history.
There’s no doubt former Celtic player and manager Neil Lennon, will have his Hibs side fired up to stop the Bhoys celebrating in Leith, but equally, the Celtic players, fans and management are on a real high following our emphatically easy Scottish Cup Semi-Final win last Sunday.
It’s always a tough game in the east end of the capital, the Hibees are full of energy and will be in our faces from the get go, however, with our top performers hitting form and really showing their worth in the big games, I’d expect the Hoops to be celebrating come 3pm.
Just who’ll be on the field to secure the points for the title is anyone’s guess. Brendan usually makes the odd change here and there depending on who he sees fit to do the job on any particular day, and I’m sure tomorrow will be no exception.
Personally, if everyone’s fit, I’d like to see the eleven that started last week’s derby game retain their places, leaving us with a bench every other team in Scotland can only dream of. Having players with the quality of Leigh Griffiths, Paddy Roberts, Scott Sinclair and Odsonne Edouard to call on is enough to put the fear into any opponent, including Hibs.*
Let’s hope the Bhoys replicate the score, and win the Premiership in style…for a truly Magnificent Seven!!
The hypocrisy that is Scottish Football shows no bounds when we have a tax cheat pontificating to the Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers about post match comments.
Billy Dodds, ex-Rangers player, and EBT recipient, has told us that Brendan’s comments after Ross County’s captain Andrew Davies, tried to maim Scott Brown ‘didn’t sit well with him’ as he claims the gaffer is trying to influence the SFA disiplinary board.
No sign of criticism of a player he used to coach, no sign of remorse that he’d just witnessed the worst tackle of the season, nope just a dig at Celtic.
But then again when you’re happy to cheat the public out of tax and claim ignorance, then morals won’t be very high on your agenda.
Unfortunately, Dodds is just one of a number of tax cheats who’s careers have thrived in the media, in particular at the publicly funded BBC, since being exposed for not only cheating the public but their fellow professionals.
Billy Dodds is a great example of all that is wrong with Scottish Football. Until him. and his like. are banished from our media and the platforms they are given to spout their bias, then the game can’t and won’t move forward.
The horrendous premeditated assault on Celtic skipper Scott Brown by the thug Andrew Davies on Saturday is a result of a vendetta, indirectly instigated by the Hearts manager Craig Levein.
For some reason Levein chose to comment on Broonie picking up a booking in the Kilmarnock v Celtic match, suggesting it was deliberate to avoid missing an upcoming derby match at Ibrox. This came on teh back of him telling the world that other players in Scottish football ‘need protection from Scott Brown’.
Although Broonie’s disciplinary record shows that in over 400 matches for the club, he’s received only four red cards, with the last one against Ross County last season rescinded. Hardly the record of a dirty or reckless player that others need protected from!
And as far as we know, Broonie has yet to punch a team mate, something Levein can’t say….
But since the Levein comments, Aberdeen’s Sam Cosgrove tried to maim the Celtic captain at Pittodrie, resulting in a deserved red card, Motherwell’s Kipre had a go at Broonie, prioir to his innocuous sending off, and on Saturday we witness a tackle that could have seriously damaged Scott’s health.
Davies knew exactly what he was doing. He was trying to finish Broonie off, be it for the season or for the rest of his career. It was that serious. For anyone to suggest otherwise, they’re either blinded by blue tinted glasses or work for the SMSM.
Meanwhile, the chief shit stirrer Levein watches from the sidelines. His comments unpunished but his sentiments carried out by ever thug looking to make a name for themselves playing against the Hoops.
With the Bhoys only nine points off seven league titles in a row, for me it would be karma if the Hoops become champions again at Tynecastle, for the third time in a row, with Broonie scoring at least one of the goals.
And to cap it off, Scott Brown being named the Player of the Year, an accolade he so richly deserves in this his testimonial year…
When Brendan Rodgers sends out his players on to the park in the Krestovsky Stadium in St Petersburg tonight, even he doesn’t know what Celtic will turn up.
Will it be the side that played so well in the first leg last Thursday night at Celtic Park or the team that laboured so much against Anderlecht?
It’s hard to tell, the team have hit the heights on a number of occasions this season, but inexplixably for a team under Brendan, had a good number of lows too. Without trying to compare to last season’s phenomenal feats, the Bhoys have had to cope with a lot more injuries and selection problems this term, so something has to give. Which probably explains to an extent the inconsistent displays, and the loss of points.
However, when the Hoops are at full speed. and the players perform, they’re a match for anyone, including Zenit St Petersburg.
Come 6pm this evening, we’ll get the first glimpse of the team Brendan thinks will do the job. That job is more about qualifying than performing, but both would set us up nicely for our trip to Aberdeen on Sunday.
Either way, still participating in Europe at this stage of the season is a bonus, As a pot four team in such a tough Champions League group, to be playing Europa league football in February, is an acheivement in itself.
Regardless of the result, we should all remember that…
Tomorrow Celtic will play in Russia for the fourth time in European competion since the break up of the old Soviet Union.
Our last three encounters have taken us to Moscow, where the Bhoys won twice, 2-0 against Dynamo in 2009, and that memorable 3-2 Champions League win over Spartak in 2012. Our previous game against Spartak in Russia ended in a credible 1-1 draw in 2007.
So, the Hoops are technically unbeaten on Russian soil, albeit all three games were played in the capital Moscow.
Tomorrow, we travel to 700k north to the Baltic port of St Petersburg to face local side Zenit, one of the big spenders in the Russian league. Manager Roberto Mancini is known to spend a bob or two, as his spell at Manchester City will testify.
That of course doesn’t guarantee you success.
Only last week he brought his team to Glasgow as favourites and left with a 1-0 defeat. Celtic were brilliant on the night, and to say the fact it was the Zenit players first game in two months is being disengenuous to the Bhoys.
However, tomorrow’s game will be different.
For a start the game with a lead, that may influence the way manager Brendan Rodgers picks his team. The match is also being played on a totally new hybrid pitch for the first time. That may suit the Bhoys as Zenit won’t have played on it either.
And of course the occasion. We’ve all seen it before, losing an early goal then it’s uphill from there on in. That is simply an option we cannot afford in St Petersburg.
Having said that, we are always likely to nick a goal, having done so in Paris and Brussels in our Champions League group games. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again…
We all know draw will be suffice. Let’s hope we can go get one…
As Scottish Football’s governing body you would think the SFA would be doing their utmost to help and promote the country’s only European representative. In any other footballing nation, that would be the case.
However, we’re talking about Scotland here. A place where corruption is the game’s middle name. A place where the bowling club mentality of the football association is plain for all to see.
Last Thursday night Celtic played host to Zenit St Petersburg in the last 32 of the Europa League, at Celtic Park. The champions are the only club leaft in Europe after all the others faltered long before the clocks went back. Celtic’s progress is as important to the standing of our game as it is to the prestige of the club.
Having a club still in Europe after Christmas is a big deal. The SFA and the SMSM should have all been geared to promote the hell out of chances, and get right behind us.
Instead, the paraocial stooges at Hampden decided to take the limelight off the Hoops and announce a tax cheat, Alex McLeish, as the national manager. The morals of those who occupy the 6th floor at the National Stadium have never been anything but shady, to say the least, but to announce EBT McLeish on Thursday was a slap in the face to not only Celtic, but every Celtic fan.
They had all the time in the world to appoint a new manager, God knows they’ve fecked about long enough, but chose to show their utter contempt for our club with their stunt last Thursday.
The fact it’s McLeish can wait for another day. I just hope when it comes round to providing players for future Scottish internationals, the gaffer let those selected know that as far as we’re concerned, Celtic come first.
Craig Levein likes to play the pantomine vilian. As far as he’s concerned, it’s all abut him. Ma ba’ syndrom you could call it.
His blast about Broony this week is typical of a guy who’s ego is so big they had to widen the doors at Tynecastle. Now there’s nothing wrong with an ego, if you’ve got something to boast about, but poor Craigie has absolutely hee-haw to brag about.
As a player he was decent, winning a couple of Young Player of the Year awards, with a Scottish Cup runners-up medal thrown in. He also represented Scotland on 16 occasions.Hardly setting the game alight!
To be fair, he’s better known for punching his team mate Graeme Hogg before a game at Raith Rovers, for which he received a 12 match ban. Quite a guy.
Since he became a manager he’s won a few Manager of the Month awards and was rewarded with a stint as Scotland manager, where his tactical nous saw him field a team without a striker in the Czech Republic.
WIth is feet firmly under the table at Tynecastle he oversaw the appointment and dismissal of Ian Cathro, though he chose to keep on his assistant Austin McCann.
This season, he’s wrestled with a Hamilton player in the Tynecastle technical area, resulting in a sending-off, grabbed a Hibs player in the same place a couple of weeks ago, then proceeded to jibe Hibs manager Neil Lennon after the game with his crass ‘normal service restored’ comment.
While Brendan was magnanimous post our 4-0 defeat in Edinburgh last month, this creep went all ‘5-3 on aggregate’ after Tuesday’s game, refering to their 4-0 win and our 3-1 win. Convenently forgetting the 4-1 drubbing we gave them on the opening day of the season.
I’m sure Celtic captain Scott Brown will use the idiotic comments from motivation, as the Bhoy leads the club to our seventh title in a row, and possibly a second consecutive Treble. And possibly, a Player of the Year award too!
You never know, if we beat Partick Thistle next weekend and The Diets overcome St Johnstone, the draw might just pair us together. Now wouldn’t that be nice….
Before the opening of this years January transfer window, there was an outcry from the support for new recruits, as there always is. Only this year the requirements were more specific.
A goalie, this was before Craig Gordon’s injury, a right back, centre half and that illusive ‘number 10’ were all on the ‘shopping list’ of the concerned Celtic support.
Along with the customary demand to spend every last penny of any Champions League money, aquiring the players you would like, is not as easy as many think. After all, it’s only a couple of years ago the same support were lambasting Ronny Deila for bring quantity to the club, at the expense of quality.
However, Brendan Rodgers is a different animal in this respect.
He’ll wait and be patient to get who he wants, if at all possible. This was shown with the persuit of the majorly talented Chaly Musonda, who could have been at Paradise in the summer, but for some reason, the deal fell through. His recruitment, all be it on loan for the next eighteen months, goes a long way to filling that ‘number 10‘ role.
Charly was in fact the third player to join the Hoops this window. German international centre back Martin Kommper, joined from RB Leipzig earlier in January but was injured at our training camp in Dubai. St Mirren’s young winger Lewis Morgan also put pen to paper for the Hoops but was immediatley loaned back to the Buddies to continue his development.
That left the right back and goalkeeping positions to fill.
So Brendan went up to Dundee to get Scott Bain and Jack Hendry. Bain, who was out on loan to Hibs after falling out with the odious Neil McCann, has been a target for the Hoops for a while now. He joins on a six month loan deal while his team mate Hendry is here on a more permanent basis after signing a four and a half year deal. His transfer was also a record for the Drak Blues, although not disclosed.
Our failure to take club to near bankruptcy will not go down too well with some of the support, but it looks like the manager has the players in he wants to work with. And I’m sure he’ll know best…
Celtic demolished the only side to record a domestic win against the Hoops in a scintillating forty-five minutes that totally blew the Edinburgh side away.
Goals from Odsonne Edouard, Dedryck Boyata and the man of the moment Moussa Dembele, gave the Bhoys a comfortable three goal interval lead.
The Bhoys returned to the kind of form that had all us Celtic fans salivating after we demolished Aberdeen at Pittodrie earlier this season, again with an in-form Moussa as the focal point. Of course as on that occasion, captain Scott Brown ran the show last night.
If Broonie doesn’t win the Player of the Year then there’s something far wrong.
Brendan changed things around abit for the game, bringing in the more physical Koussi and Eduoard to combat the Jambos, who like to leave the boot it. They only do so because they get away with it, much like their Glasgow cousins….
From the start you could see the Bhoys were up for the game and took the lead after only two minutes, Edouard scoring aftre Moussa put him through. That was the catalyst for Celtic to go about skelping their opponents.
And they did, when James Forrest headed down to Moussa who slipped in Dedryck Boyat who was still forward from a corner, to shot past the advancing McLaughlin in the Hearts goal.
The goal didn’t really reflect the dominance the Bhoys had in the game, but the third made the scoreline more realistic.
A fantastic run from Kieran Tierney down the left brought him to the byeline, where he dummied a sprawling Hearts defender, before crossing to Moussa, three yards out to knock home the goal we’ve all been waiting for.
You could see the relief on the players face, and in fairness to the Bhoy, his perforamance was more like the Moussa we all know.
As in many one sided games, the interval breaks up the momentum, and although the Champions still controlled the game, only poor finishing and heroics from the Hearts defence prevented Celtic adding more goals. Although the lead did alllow Brendan the opportunity to introduce Charly Musunda, who just oozed class as he strolled about the pitch.
The Jambos did get a consolation goal from Lafferty, who seems to lead a charmed life when he plays against us. The last twice he’s scored at a tim ewhne he’s lucky to be on the pitch. The leniency shown to him by both Willie Collum last month at Tynecastle and Craig Thomson last night is quite astounding.
Which leads me nicely on to the crass act that manages the Edinburgh side.
When Celtic lost our unbeaten run at Tynecastle in December, manager Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for the home side in how they went about their business. He could easily have griped about the aforementioned Lafferty, who committed FIVE fouls, including a straight elbow on Dedryck Boyata, before being carded, but chose only to praise the victors.
Contrast that to the moaning of Craig Levein last night post match. His greeting about Scott Brown was almost predictable as his team were given a footballing lesson all over the park. But his ‘well that’s 5-3 on aggregate’ jibe was something you’d expect in the playground.
Pity he forgot to mention our 4-1 drubbing of his team in the first league game of the season….