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….
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.
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.