I wasn’t really expecting a title party.
Our form has went south and our closet title rivals where facing a ‘gimmie’ in the early weekend game. Yesterday was only the second time that McCall’s men have dented the goal in 6 occasions when facing the team that McCall calls ‘THE’.
The goal yesterday ended their barron run of 4 games without a goal against them, which saw an incredible 17 goals scored against his side. But….results aren’t everything. Style of play is another bug bear and it was not surprising to see that Sono Aluko wasn’t afforded the same ‘treatment’ that James Forrest was early in the season.
Still, no matter the mindset set to the gas mark disappointment I was upset that the coverage showed – in slowed down slow motion – a celebrating Elbows screaming like a gorilla whose young have just been snatched to be made into a handbag numerous times. I don’t think there is a more sickening sight in football than that.
Obliviously there are more sickening sights in football when something nasty happens like a broken leg, nasty head collisions or a player collapsing for no reason but we are prone to over exaggerate trivial things as REAL nasty sickening things don’t happen THAT OFTEN. We are left with things like hated rivals winning, someone you don’t like scoring a winning goal or praise being heaped on a failing manager hiding behind administration to be exaggerated about.
Enough, to football. Real football. The sexy stuff.
Well…it wasn’t that sexy. It was Sarah Jessica Parker sexy. You know? You get told that it’s good looking but all you see a horse face but is kind of alluring.
The Fermers just weren’t going to turn up, roll over and get their tummies tickled. They were one of the form teams in the SPL. 3 wins on the bounce, unbeaten in 6 and only 2 defeats on the road (Hibs & Motherwell) all season. It was easy to see why they lose on average only 0.70 goals away from home.
Their shape and defenders reading of the game was impressive and wholly modern. The art of tackling has almost been made illegal all the world over though in certain bolt holes in the SPL it’s still allowed if it borders on assault.
McKay, Wright, Maybury and McCracken intercepted and read everything that we tried. If they weren’t reading the lines the ever dependable Jody Morris was ensuring that act was following the script. There was no desperation in the defending only confidence that they break up the play using a football brain not brawn.
That is unusual in the SPL. And their manager deserves credit for his team and having the best ginger buzz cut not seen this side of Billy Bragg.
We also have impressive modern players. Anything Jody Morris can do Joe Ledley can do with bells on. But it is at the back we have a player that seems to making great strides in epitomizing what is required in his role in the modern game and giving us something that we haven’t had in years.
Thomas Rogne is everything we don’t expect from a Celtic centre half. While Glenda makes defending look frentic and last ditch oor Tam just ensures he doesn’t stress out the sellotape that holds his joints together. Football intelligence is something he has in spades. It’s what the modern day centre back needs. Mulgrew uses it as well when back there. The other Cb’s seem Jurassic in comparison.
Are full backs are 21st century. Matthews and Izzy are better going forward as is the want in the world wide game while Mikael Lustig looks more comfortable – on first impressions – as an away full back. To be used in those games when we may be under the cosh a bit.
While it looked like for long spells if we had thrown all our game changing eggs into the starting line up and someone needs to tell Hooper that – hopefully- we still have 9 games to play this season and it’s not finished a look at our previous should have calmed us when that early settler doesn’t come.
In our 3 games with St Johnstone this season we have been 0-0 at half time. 13 times this season we have been drawing at half time. We have went on to win 9 of them. We have also scored an incredible 18 goals between the 65th and 75th minute (goals were 66 – a fabulous header from the at times unplayable Samaras after a great ball from a 90min Kris Commons – and 70mins) in all games this season.
Drawing at half time doesn’t faze the team so it shouldn’t faze us.
The doubters say that we making hard work of winning the league. We have only had one attempt at winning it and failed at the home of the second strongest team in the SPL. No disgrace. How can you make hard work of it when you can’t win it?
So, to Rugby Park it is. One point needed. We are looking to clinch our 3rd title at Rugby Park since 2004. Though, I fully expect Kenny Sheils to pull another mind game stunt this week. He did it before the League Cup final. The whole ‘I want Celtic to win the treble’ and ‘They are the best team in the land’ mantra all was to heap the pressure on us.
It’s nice to hear the coaching staff talking about beating our 93 points total. That keeps our long term focus. The need for constant improvement something that we need and we are a too young side to let our quest for improvement slip and we have done too much already this season to let it to.