Posted on Wednesday, 24th October 2012 by admin
Let me start by saying I haven’t blogged in a very long time. Mixture of moving from full time employment (where I simply had no time) to full time education (where I’ve been learning a thing or two about this sort of thing) and the fact that I didn’t really think I had much to say that differed from what was going on here anyway. But today I just had to say something about last night.
I’m so chuffed and happy at the fact I was able to wake up today a Celtic fan, but before too long, an emptiness came over me. I’ve always seen myself as an optimistic Celtic fan who would never ever take a bet against my team, I prefer to bet on NFL football. However let me state, people who are all over Facebook and twitter saying ‘Never thought I’d be gutted losing 2-1 in the last minute to Barcelona’ are wrong. Of course you’d be gutted. This acceptance that ‘well 2-1 is actually not bad, I’d have settled for it before the game’ turned my disappointment into anger. Nothing is settled when it comes to Celtic.
Each player to a man was exceptional last night defensively, although we did lack adventure going forward at times. Hooper had the thankless task of chatting up the Barca back 4 whilst everyone else stood firm. Hooper didn’t have a bad game though, he just didn’t get it to stick. Mulgrew worked hard but he is a very limited player. If anyone has believed the hype surrounding Mulgrew then its the man himself. A great cross for the goal but very wasteful when he had possession. Also his pathetic attempt at a free kick when he knew fine well Wanyama and Ambrose had the beating of the Barca players in the air was nothing short of pitiful and smacked of downright greed from Mulgrew. You’ve had one good season, get over it.
Thats the only negative out of the way. Now for the positives.
Efe Ambrose was superb last night. A real rock in defence and a composure on the ball which still, through the nightmares of Caldwell and McManus, gives me the frights everytime he displays it. Barca threw everything at Celtic last night, they usually throw everything at every team they play. Ambrose stood firm, next to the always improving Kelvin Wilson, who I will never entertain a bad word about ever again, dare I say Celtic looked comfortable? Nothing was ever certain, every time Barcelona attacked nails were being bitten all around the world, but Ambrose and Wilson seemed to front Barca, I can count twice when either Ambrose or Wilson let a man run across them. In 94 minutes against the team with that sort of movement that’s a feather in the cap for our defenders.
Lustig – Phenomenal. Not many were willing to give this man time to find his feet at Celtic due to the emergence of Adam Matthews but its not to be forgotten that he moved to Celtic in January after a full season with Rosenborg so was very tired when he took his place at Celtic Park. Dealt with Sanchez very well and carried the ball forward on a few occasions trying to build attacks for the team. Its not hard to see why Lennon let Mark Wilson go in the summer when we now have two very capable right backs at the club competing for the position, which is not a bad thing in any team.
Its official. Emilio Izaguirre is back. Its an utter joy to see the wee man playing so well again after a cruel injury blow and although it has took time, it was worth the wait. First of all our full backs should be able to defend. Absolutely not a bother for Emilio last night. Pedro? More like Ped-no. I’m just gutted he was never allowed to take on the Barca right back and deliver a cross for Hooper but he can have no complaints about his peformance.
None of the players can say they had a bad game last night. We were done by two last gasp chances. As good as the passing and movement for Barca’s first goal, it was sad to see four Celtic players around Iniesta without at least one block going in. Surely being pegged back just before half time in the Nou Camp would kill us? Suddenly after the euphoria of taking the lead, it was no longer a dream. It was real. Surely Celtic were finished?
Not at all. That is what is so hard to take. We should have got a point. In fact. We were two clearances away from winning 1-0 in the Nou Camp. Barca couldn’t get by the brick wall of our back four often,but when they did, they couldn’t beat our Goalkeeper. Those who doubted Forster are the ones having to endure course after course of humble pie. And quite rightly they deserve it too.
So to finish, I’m absolutely gutted. I’m so proud, but I’m so disappointed. I’m not looking forward to the return leg v Barcelona either. Maybe it was the game taking its toll on me but I can’t shake the feeling that was our best chance to get something from Barca. Maybe I’ll be more confident in two weeks. All I know right now is that whatever conflicting emotions I have about the game, the’re cancelling each other out and leaving me empty.
But one thing is for sure.
Celtic aren’t just making up the numbers any more. We’re back.