There was a time when the phrase ‘conveyor belt’ and *Rangers (IL) in the same sentence would point to the talent coming out of the then Murray Park. Like most ‘phrases’ associated with the Ibrox club(s), they mean very little and have no substance whatsoever. (The Murray Park conveyor belt, like the floating pitch and casino never materialised.)
Think ‘dignity’ and ‘no surrender‘, two more commonly used ‘sayings’ that emanate from the deluded who support the new club.
The second was a favourite of a one time chairman of the liquidated club, a certain Mr Alistair Johnson. He liked it so much he reminded us during a TV documentary where he was in full denial mode of the cheating going on down Govan way. I’m sure his boast was there’s only two words here that matter and the first one’s ‘No’, or words to that effect!
Johnson, who according to Phil Mac is about to take a greater role in the running of Sevco and the ousting of the Glib and Shameless Lying King, will no doubt be heralded as another Messiah who has business contacts all over the world and will put the new club on a par with Celtic in no time. Well, that’s what Jim Traynors press release will say and the obedient media will repeat verbatim.
But the truth is, Alistair Johnson is just another chancer in the long line of chancers that have resided in the Ibrox board room these last twenty years.
He was David Murray’s crony when the EBT and side letter cheating fiasco hit the fan. He was the chairman when Rangers*(IL) with a tax bill sitting unpaid, decided to give the go ahead to splash out on players after their Champions League elimination by FC Kaunas. The tax bill was of no consequence to Johnson, who like the other old club board members ignored their fiscal duties to try and keep the Establishment club at the top.
Murray (Dodgy), King, Johnson and Murray (Potless) were all directors of the old Ibrox club when they knowingly embarked on the ‘biggest scandal in British sport history’, while giving every other club in Scottish Football two fingers.
First of all, I hope you and your families all had a very Merry Christmas. This time of the year is really special.
And since we’re talking about special. as we all know, a week past Sunday, Celtic’s own special record of 69 domestic games undefeated, came to an end at a slippery Tynecastle against Hearts.
It was bound to happen sometime, but I think the manner of the defeat, four goals to nil, took us all by surprise. For a start, it was the first time Celtic under manager Brendan Rodgers had failed to score in game on on Scottish soil, and for the first time, so many of the Bhoys all underperfomed on the same day.
As expected, the media fallout was just as spectacular as the loss. It was like an early Christmas present for them, particularly those in the SMSM of a blue persuasion, of which there are plenty!
In their feeding frenzy, they absolutely slaughtered our defence, with Dedryck Boyata and Jozo Simunovic coming in for most criticism. While their performances that day left a lot to be desired, both were all over the place, what was conveniently forgotten was the statistic that they were still part of the defence who conceded least goals in the league.
They also overlooked the fact that despite the defeat, Celtic were still top of the league by two points, with a game in hand against Partick Thistle to play on the following Wednesday. And it’s fair to say in their quest for sensationalism, they ignored the fallout would only serve to refocus the Champions, something Brendan told them in the post match presser.
When your manager is also a fan, you know there will be a reaction. He hurts as much as we do.
A target of four wins out of four would be set by the gaffer, starting with Partick Thistle at Celtic Park on the Wednesday, followed by our nearest rivals Aberdeen on Saturday, with a trip to Dundee to take on The Dee on Boxing Day. Our last challenge of the four would be a home game against the new club, so many of the headline writers drool over, on the 30th of this month.
Thus far, Celtic have won all three games played since the Tynecastle game, scoring seven goals WITHOUT RETURN! Yip, the shambles of a defence so many criticised a week and a half ago, have not conceded in 270 minutes of league football, including a game against the second placed club, and a tricky away fixture at Dundee, who only a few weeks ago beat the aformentioned new club.
But have Celtic received the same praise for their response to losing our unbeaten record?
Not a chance, the silence of the SMSM tells us they’re not happy that Brendan and the Bhoys have returned to winning ways, especially with their favourites next in line…..
Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run was bound to end at some point, but I doubt if anyone really considered Tynecastle yesterday as the possible venue for it to happen.
Prior to the game Hearts had only won one of their last six games, and Celtic although unbeaten, were playing well within themselves, scraping results instead of winning convincingly.
Regardless, the Champions would have enough in the tank to take care of the Gorgie outfit. Or so we thought.
The signs were ominous early on as player after player found keeping their feet difficult, slipping time and again. The Celtic players that is, the home side had no such problems and were on top of everything we did.
They did have an unsuspecting ally on their side in the shape of referee Willie Collum who allowed the home side to leave as much on the Hoops as they wished without fear of punishment, in particular Kyle Lafferty who repeatedly left an elbow on Dedryck Boyata, then smashed Kieran Tierney on the touchline.
The last incident was his FIFTH offence.
However, those tactics did unsettle the Bhoys, and two unforced errors gave the home side all the encouragement they needed to take a well deserved 2-0 interval lead.
Brendan changed a couple of personnel at half-time, bringing on Stuart Armstrong and Moussa Dembele for Kieran and Olly Ntcham, hoping we could repeat the heroics of Fir Park last season when we overturned a 0-2 deficit into a 4-3 win.
But it wasn’t to be. This time there would be no come back. Sure the Hoops made more of a game of it in the second half, but the same poor decision making that saw us struggle recently was all too evident when it came to playing in a team mate.
Add to that Jozo’s impersonation of Bambi to give the Jam Tarts a third goal, then we knew there was no way back. By the time Craig Gordon foolishly gave away a 75th minute penalty the game was all over.
As the home support gave us a rendition of Merry Christmas Everybody, the Faithful showed the InVIncibles how much they mean to us. When Brendan took the Bhoys into a Huddle after the full time whistle to remind them of their achievement, the Celtic support responded by give the Hoops an ovation to remember.
At that point the scoreline was immaterial.
Celtic under Brendan had gone a British football record breaking 69 domestic games undefeated, completed a domestic Treble as InVIncibles, have now won four consecutive trophies, the first time since Jock Stein was in charge, qualified for two Champions League campaigns, and are still in Europe after Christmas.
We are currently sitting top of the league by two points with a game in hand to play this Wednesday at home to Partick Thistle. Our aim is to take maximum 12 points before the winter break, then we’ll evaluate and go again.
It’s been a real pleasure to witness this last 19 months following the greatest team in world football. Bring on Wednesday…
*PS. We’ll be back at Tynecastle in April for our annual Title Winning Party!
There’s this strange mantra going around that it would be good for the team, and the Scottish game, for Celtic’s unbeaten run of 69 domestic games to come to an end.
What? Are you kidding me?
Who in their right mind is fed up not losing games? Is it because we dropped a couple of daft points at Easter Road last week, after taking a two goal lead, or is it to suit the SMSM who are desperate for The Rangers to make some sort of title challenge?
Either way, I for one will NEVER get fed up wanting Celtic to come out of any game without defeat. Draws? I’m not exactly happy with, but they do happen, sometimes fortunately, other times through our own fault.
Wins? Of course that’s what we all want. And if you don’t you’re at the wrong place!
Losses, no thanks.
The feeling of dejection after Celtic lose is something no fan should want to endure. Luckily for us, we have a manager Brendan Rodgers, and a team led by Scott Brown, who feel the same. Long may it continue.
Here’s to number 70!
As Celtic host Hamilton Accies tonight at Celtic Park, in their quest to achieve a sixty-ninth domestic match unbeaten, the desperation from the SMSM, and many punters, for OUR record to end is palpable.
The game will be the InVIncibles thirty-fifth match on Scottish soli this season, almost a third more than any other club in the country.
Add to the fact twelve of those games were played in European competition, always tougher games, including a trip to Kazakhstan, the far travelled Bhoys have coped really well with what’s been thrown at them, sometimes literally!
Of course living up to the fantastic standard set by the players of last season was always going to be difficult, that’s why it was so special, but who at the begining of this campaign would have thought we’d still be unbeaten a fortnight before Christmas?
Every season has it’s own unique challenges. Injuries, suspensions, loss of form, are all contributing factors in how any season pans out. It’s how you cope with all those things that will determine the level of success you have.
This season we don’t seem to be seeing games out, losing goals we might not last season. I think it’s fair to say, we are also missing more chances, so the loss of more points is as much down to the forward as the defence. We win as a team, and lose, although not in Scotland, as a team!
Should Brendan Roagers’ Bhoys return to winning ways tonight, I think you’ll see us go on to take full points between now and the end of the year. That won’t shut the critics up, nothing ever will….
So, it’s 68 games not out. Quite an achievement, and one that was under threat late on in today’s game at a freezing Easter Road when the Bhoys shipped two goals in three minutes allowing Hibs to draw level.
The home side even had a gilt edged chance to go ahead with only minutes to go after Craig Gordon spilled a long ball into his box. Luckily for him and us, Mika Lustig was covering and cleared the ball off the line.
Even then, the game could have still gone our way, with Dedryck Boyata missing a point blank header, then two goal Scott Sinclair blasting wide with the last kick of the ball.
But it could have been all so different if Celtic, once again, took their chances.
Celtic could quite easily have had an early penalty when Callum McGregor was taken before the ball by Hibs defencer Lewis Stevenson. Although there wasn’t much of a shout at the time, the replays show Stevenson getting Callum before the ball. Then midway through the half James Forrest missed a golden chance when he intercepted a stray Hibs pass, only to slip the ball past the post.
With Celtic controlling most of the game, thanks to Broonie and Olly, another great move almost brought the opener just before half-time. Mika Lustig shooting wide after a great move by the Bhoys.
It didn’t take the InVIncibles long to open their account in the second period. As the clock reached the hour mark, Scott Sinclair pounced on Odsonne Edouard’s shot as it came off the post. The goal gave the current Player of themYear a real lift, and four minutes later the Bhoy hit a second after the ball defelected off a Hibs player on it’s way into the net.
Credit has to go both Dedryck Boyata and Callum McGregor for their part in teh second goal, a great pass by the former and a fantastic run by the latter.
At 2-0 up, the game for Celtic should have been in the bag. In fact, when Scotty had what would have been his third chopped off for offside, the game was still in our control. However, we went to sleep at the back and lost two daft goals in the space of three minutes to hand the home side a share of the points.
A share they hardly deserved but were happy to accept. If only we took our chances…
Celtic got their hands on another Treble last night at the Scottish Sports Awards, when manager Brendan Rodgers, captain Scott Brown and striker Leigh Griffiths were all recipents of these prestigous awards.
Brendan was named Manager of the Year for leading Celtic to an incredible undefeated Treble winning Invincible season. Captain Scott Brown received the Team of the Year award on behalf of his team mates, in recognition of our outstanding achievements last season.
And Leigh Griffiths was awarded ‘Inspirational Performance of the Year‘ for his two wonderful free-kicks for Scotland against England at Hampden in the World Cup qualifier in June.
All three were obviously delighted to be recgonised for the work they do in their chosen profession, football.
Meanwhile, across the city, new club Sevco will no doubt be looking for a special award of their own, following their six week Red October hunt for Aberdeen’s Derek McInnes!
With the help of the SMSM, and almost every breaking ex-player and manager of the old club, the pursuit of Del Boy was relentless. Although making it official only came about this week, when the compensation money was in place. Being skint isn’t funny.
As every hack and pundit, with very few if any exceptions, heralded the proposed new Messiah at Ibrokes, McInnes decided he’s better off in the cold North East, than the cesspit of Glasgow’s Southside.
And while the weathermen and women, were warning the people of Scotland to brace themselves for the snow and ice of Storm Caroline, there was in fact increased chances flodding, as Scottish football fans all over the country pissed themselves laughing at the comedy act calling itself Rangers.
I’m sure Mr Custard will be proud of them….
Football is an emotional game, we all know that. And emotions can run high at times, particularly after your team loses, and more so if they’ve performed poorly in a game they’re expected to win!
That’s where perspective comes in to play.
Like every other Celtic fan, I was hugely disappointed with the way the Bhoys played against Anderlecht in our final group match of the Champions League on Tuesday night at Celtic Park.
Losing 1-0 to a Jozo Simunovic own goal was bad enough, but the Hoops just didn’t look like a team capable of drawing or winning the game. Several players were well below par, I’m not going to start naming them, that for me is pointless.
Players do have off days, and if we cast our minds back just a few weeks, the same players getting slaughtered these past two days are the one that played so well against Bayern Munich. That performance was the standard we, the fans, manager and players want to see in every game.
And in some way, that may have contributed to the level of disappointment on Tuesday evening. Knowing we can play at that higher level.
Or maybe the four games in nine days, including a Cup Final and an opponent who would rather kick you than play football, played a part? Who knows?
Anyway, as the disappointment subsides, we should look at the positives of our Champions League campaign. Our aim at the start of July was to qualify for the group stages. We did that. Fate dealt us another blow though, as we were put into pot four for the group draw. We had hope to get into pot three.
The draw itself landed us in with mega-money PSG and German giants, Bayern Munich, two teams with aspirations of winning the cup with the big ears. Any hopes we might have of staying in Europe would depend on who came out of pot three.
Belgian champions Anderlecht were to come out as our third opponents in our group. They were to be the target for our Europa League place. That wouldn’t be as easy as many thought, the team from Brussels only lost out to an extra-time goal in last season’s Europa league quarter final, to eventual winners Manchester United.
Despite the media view, they were no mugs, with a good recent European pedigree.
Now we all know how the group panned out, two heavy defeats home and away to PSG, a loss in Munich and narrow defeat in Glasgow to Bayern, and a win in Belgium by 3-0 followed by Tuesday’s 1-0 loss.
Three points from out six games was enough to put us into Monday’s draw for the Europa League last 32, and European football after the New Year.
That was our aim when the draw was made. And we achieved it.
And contrary to the misinformed English media, we didn’t qualify with the least points, Borussia Dortmund only reached two points, and our defeat in Paris wasn’t the worst of the Champions League campaign, Liverpool twice scored seven, against Maribor and Spartak Moscow.
Once again their ignorance knows no bounds.
Last but not least, Celtic have played twelve matches in this season’s Champions League. We were the only team to come through the champions route to actually record a win. That 3-0 in Brussels was a lot more significant than most of us thought…
When Celtic take on Belgian side RSC Anderlecht tonight in our final Champions League match of this season, the sole aim for Brendan Rodgers’ team is to do enough to have the club playing in the Europa League in the New Year.
Now I’m not saying he’ll send out a team to do anything other than win, he’s already said he sets his Celtic team as out to play the Celtic way, but the bigger picture is to be in the next Europa League draw.
The Bhoys have a fairly comfortable cushion after demolishing the Belgians in the first encounter in Brussels, 3-0, in what was a fantastic European performance.
That scoreline means Anderlecht come to Paradise tonight having to score four goals without reply to knock the Hoops out of Europe altogether.
Nothing is impossible, especially in football, but the chances of Celtic totally collapsing are remote.
With Moussa Dembele fit, Edouard banging in the goals, and Leigh Griffiths doing what leigh Griffiths does best, Celtic will be going all out to get the tie over and done with as soon as they can.
And let’s not forget, when the draw was made, Celtic were in Pot 4, so were weren’t expected to progress. That itself, would be an achievement given the comparable resources and stature of the other teams in our group.
Bring it on….
If anyone ever had any doubt about the credentials of Brendan Rodgers as the leader of our club, then the gaffer yesterday answered those doubters with a proper statement.
Not a statement manufactured by a bitter PR man or a seething club official.
No, this was a statement from a manager defending his club, his players and his fellow supporters in response to the ludicrous mud slinging from both the SMSM and Motherwell this last week.
I’ve posted it below, read it and you’ll see the honesty and professional integrity of our leader. Brendan Rodgers.
“This week, there was a debate about the honesty and professionalism of the Celtic players, and questions asked about the supporters. This is not a debate. These are players who have got to this level of 67 games unbeaten because of their professionalism and their honesty. in how they work and how they devote their life to their profession and. along with the supporters, they have been absolutely brilliant.
“I understand Motherwell were probably hurt after the game on Sunday and that probably spills into Wednesday, but some of the nonsense that came out of there this week was absolutely incredible. I just want to make the point on behalf of the players and the supporters of this club, and the humility they have shown.
“After the game on Wednesday, we have a chief executive of Motherwell, a guy in senior authority, walking around with a laptop trying to show and demonstrate to the media that it wasn’t a penalty.
“He was also in the media room, trying to show members of the media that it wasn’t a penalty and then tweets later on that evening, talking about retaining class and dignity. That’s not behaviour that defines and fits that.
“For us, Motherwell have been three really good games. I have nothing with the manager as Stevie is a great guy and done brilliantly with his team. and all the games were competitive in different ways. But for senior members of the club to do that, I find very disappointing.
“Three good games, three tough games and I respect the emotions of them, but we have done our talking on the football field, and that’s where it should take place.
“Nothing should be written against our supporters and players about honesty. These guys have this record because of their honesty, because of how hard they work, because they never have a lazy day, because every time they play home and away, they are up for every game and not doing daft or lazy things. Their professionalism has been exemplary.
“The two officials involved have been questioned. Craig Thomson, he was there – OK, it was a bit soft but it was a foul. On Wednesday night, it was a bit soft but the motion of the player, he puts his hands on the player, and Willie Collum was there, so there is support for the two officials as well as they have got hammered for giving penalties – they were soft penalties, but they were penalties. It’s done, three games are done and we move on.”