I’m only going to do it once, I swear it … Daizen Maeda. I feel vindicated. For all those who wonder what Ange sees in him, why he selects him and what he contributes, I rest my case, the boss can rest his and the player can take a bow.
Now, onto the rest of the game.
That was tough tonight. Tough in part because we were well short of our best. Ange is right. This break might be coming at just the right time. Get the team off to Australia, those not playing in the World Cup. Get them some sun and some relaxing. Get them some time in front of our global fan-base. They have competed like tigers thus far this campaign.
The time off will do them good. The time away will refresh them.
On the strength of that they need it, and in particular the defence which suddenly has found itself prone to all sorts of silly errors and lapses in concentration. This cannot be put down to the style of play. It’s just bad form, and there’s too much of it right now.
But the team continues to get results, and from the moment we opened the scoring tonight there really only was going to be one winner in the game. Motherwell set their stall out to defend and hit on the counter. More anti-football from clubs which just don’t want to have a proper go, and it got what it deserved. Had they shown more endeavour they might have got something – I doubt it but you never know. But instead they invited us on.
We got the second and we deserved it. That wrapped up the points.
But before that we got yet another diabolical VAR decision when Jota’s perfectly good goal was ruled out. The VAR “view” that they showed on TV was so ridiculous that it boggles the mind. Yet when it came time to scrutinise Motherwell’s strike they had a clean shot of it with the highlight lines and everything. Amazing what it can do and what it can’t.
Amazing what its operators can do and what they can’t more like. We’ve won this match and so once again this has not had a material influence on the outcome, but it’s going to have a material influence sooner or later and we should be concerned by that.
Overall this was what we expected; a Wednesday night fixture at the fag end of a tough spell, and a game where we played to the finish yet again and scored our second late. That we conceded right after it made the closing spell tougher than it had to be … and where in God’s name five minutes injury time came from I will never bloody know.
It did no good.
In spite of the Mibbery, Celtic keeps its seven point lead.
That’s all that it’s going to matter when this season ends. Nights like this win titles; remember that.
Oh and players like Maeda do too. And yeah, I did it again.