Sorry if I sound a bit daft and a bit loopy, but the inclusion of Barcelona into the SPL must’ve completely passed me by, the fact that they’re first game is this sunday at Ibrox against Celtic has also passed me by. The negativity and the auld ‘I dread Sunday’ comments really get at my wick! Its Rangers we are playing! FFS! Yes Celtic are by no means excellent, infact very far from it, but we are not any worse than that shower! and we never ever will be!
Anyways, with that over, who remembers the day Giorgios Samaras won the derby?
It was December 27th 2008, Celtic travelled to Ibrox without Shunsuke Nakamura and Aiden McGeady or Shaun Maloney , 3 of Celtic’s creative outlets. Celtic started with Boruc, Hinkel, McManus, Caldwell, Naylor, Mizuno, Brown, Hartley, Robson, McDonald and of course Gorgeous Giorgios. Hinkel was forced off at half time after a robust challenge and Mark Wilson replaced the German international.
The first half was very even, but the feeling before the game in the media that Celtic were the under-dogs, Rangers were by far the better side and Kris Boyd would have a field day against the Celtic defence, despite all that, Celtic were FOUR points clear at the top of the league and if they won it would’ve went to SEVEN! So as the second half started, Celtic, who were very much well in the game, wouldn’t have minded one bit if the game finished 0-0 as we’d have preserved a precious 4 point lead at the top of the SPL.
Some people say the turning point was when Artur Boruc magnificently kept out Kris Boyd who had beared down on goal, but for me, the turning point occurred before that, 10 minutes into the second half, Celtic attempted to break up the park and were stopped at the halfway line due to a foul by Barry Ferguson. Giorgios Samaras attempted to take a quick free kick to release Koki Mizuno down the left, Barry Ferguson stood infront of Samaras to prevent him from doing so. So Samaras picked the ball up and pretended to throw the ball at Ferguson, who completely fell for it and flinched much to the amusement of the Celtic fans.
Now that seems trivial, but lets break it down slightly, A Celtic player, who a lot of the Rangers fans don’t have any respect for (if they have any respect for anyone!) but particularly Samaras, he’d been in the papers before slagging off Rangers, he was booed most of the time he enjoyed Posession at Ibrox that day. So Samaras had embarrassed the Rangers captain Ferguson (someone who portrays himself as a bit of a hardman, and would like to think he was such) in front of the Rangers fans, in their own backyard, he’d done it at Ibrox, behind enemy lines. Celtic, from that moment on, were ahead in the fight.
The big jessie Samaras had embarrssed the big boss man Barry, and I for one loved every second of it.
Celtic went on to win 1-0 due to an excellent goal from Scott McDonald (which Samaras had assisted) and then held out with a terrific rearguard display in the last 20 minutes. It was a game famous for that moment by Samaras, that goal by McDonald, but also another trivial moment with 10 minutes to go, when Rangers had possession in a crossing position outside Celtic’s box, Celtic pressured, leading to the ball being passed backwards and finally to the halfway line, then straight to Alan McGregor, a passage of excellent defensive and pressing play, emphasised with Paul Hartley doing the chasing back and then pumping his fist in the air as the ball travelled back to McGregor. Just what I’d do for Hartley to be playing on Sunday.
Celtic are always at our best when we our backs are against the wall. Never ever believe they are better than us.
Come out fighting Celtic, we’re gonnae need to!