Posted on Monday, 6th August 2012 by lordofthewing
You shouldn’t feel old at the opening game of the league season. That should only happen when we reach the cold nights of winter and you long for your couch, central heating, widescreen HD Tv and full sports package.
But as Celtic celebrated entering their 125th year it was hard not to feel old. A flag was raised on the top of the North Stand to commemorate this event. The flag was as limp as I would expect a 125 year old to be.
Then at half time had some legends of the club walk round the pitch promoting our new charity fund @1254125. It was when Frank McAvennie was introduced as ‘hero of the centenary year’ that it hit me THAT WAS 25 YEARS AGO. Where the HELL has the time gone? I can vividly remember the 88 Cup Final as if it was yesterday.
It was 4 years after that that Aberdeen came close to winning the league for the last time. Saturday was a meeting of men speeding towards middle age – most whose middle age spread has already started it’s onslaught – remembering better days, more innocent days when it was always sunny, the players you watched were real heroes and the dreams you had as children were still alive unlike the crushed cans they are now.
It was a depressing Saturday night.
Sean Fallon unveiled our first league flag in four years. As the 90 year old did his stuff the fire works placed in front of the North Stand went off quite wildly. They shot in all directions as if in celebration of Lee Naylor’s crossing. I wondered how that passed health and safety as We Are The Champions boomed over the PA only 4 months too late (also in celebration of Lee Naylors back post defending perhaps?)? See that’s an old man thing. Thinking logically. In the end I was glad as it was the only fireworks we saw all day.
Our manager made three changes from the team that sneaked by HJK despite dominating. All changes were enforced. Jamesy Forrest had a hamstring problem, we are informed that Scott Brown hip is degenerating, which – stop me if I’m wrong – doesn’t sound too good to me. He may need an injection to play in Finland and a 10 year wait on the NHS to get his hip replaced.
The KNVB decided to take revenge on us claiming to play a competitive friendly in Amsterdam a few weeks back by reporting Charlie Mulgrews fantastic reflex stop on the line as him being a bad sport. Suspended via a friendly. Off course the KNVB are only looking after their Champions who need tested before the Big Cup and not face a ragtailed group of charlatans.
Thomas Rogne replaced Mulgrew, Beram Kayal took Broony role and Tony Stokes Forrests. None made a great claim for starting berths.
The game kicked off and develop a pattern which it would adhere to for the whole 94 minutes. We tried to pass the ball patiently. We were timid and hesitant with the ball. Like teenage lovers not wanting to hang up on each other we didn’t want to take control of the ball and make something happen.
“You hang up.”
“No, you hang up.”
“No you first.”
“No, you first!”
The urge to scream ‘JUST F*CKING DO SOMETHING’ overcome me on several occasions. This saw periods of pointlessness and scrappy giving up of the ball. The ball was headered back and forth, booted back and forth, punted out the park, skelped aimlessly into space were no striker was daring to run. It was that ginger headed foster wean that no one wants.
Aberdeen on paper should be better. Guys like Naysmith, Anderson, Hughes, Rae, McGinn, Haynes and Vernon make them one of the better SPL sides. The 1300 traveling fans soon had their early friskiness sucked out of them and any trip across the halfway line from their red menaces caused mild disbelief in their ranks. If they continue like this you will the sound of sweetie wrappers being rustled will be drowned out by mass suicides at The Rhodders.
We rarely threatened. Samaras looked into the eyes of his full back once and shot wide. This was before he got a kick in his face that left him dazed and confused. Problem was that his play afterwards didn’t give any indication that he was dazed and confused. It was just a version of Sammy we have seen numerous times. Wandering around haphazardly like a stunned gazelle.
Tony Stokes and Gary Hooper seem to be not on speaking terms. Like two brothers both wanting a shot of a shared Christmas bike only to be told that there is a rota. They were never in the right place at the right time. Tony Stokes had one shot at goal and it was struck in the huff not with any great hope or purpose.
This is unlike Kris Commons who shoots when he gets bored. While everyone is passing the buck Krissy will just buy some office space and let fly. 4 shots on goals he had and all were on target. That’s on top of his four on target against HJK. His goal was born of frustration that his cross -which he claimed it was – wasn’t going to find an interested target so he shanked it.
We missed Forrest to give us something different. Pray to your gods that he is fit for Wednesday night. We also need Victor Wanyama in the midfield. He was like Clark Kent becoming Superman when he moved into the midfield. Any watching scout would have drained their battery life on their notebooks after he moved.
The others were a mixed bag. Double F flapped at a cross but was lucky that Vernon got a nose bleed when the ball landed at him. Adam Matthews wasn’t as impressive as the other night but he was willing.
Thomas booted the ball the way he was facing seemingly not wanting to risk turning his body in any direction that may have caused a rupture or puncture. Kelvin Wilson looked hunchbacked as if he was pulling a tractor and Lizzy McGuire is now that burnt chorizo sausage left on the BBQ when everyone is full.
He needs a cuddle or a slap. I’m not sure what one yet. Maybe he will be eaten and loved after midnight once the drink has flowed?
Kayal looked like he had lost his buzz while Ledley – like Matthews – was limited in his willingness. Maybe we need more Welsh Dragons? They have fire. The Derry Pele waltzed in what looked like oversized shorts and Darryl Murphy had a pulse.
Some were worried at this leggy performance and it’s pointers to our game on Wednesday. It smacked to me of the type of performance you get in the early stages of the season. It came with added European hangover as we put a hell of a lot into the game against HJK.
We got three points. Eh, that’s it. We hope that iced baths, massages and 24 hours a day listening to Orinoco Flow by Enya get our rhythm back before we tackle the plastic.
Godspeed you huped wonders.