Our Irish Bhoy Faces His Trial By Fire. If He Has A Future At Celtic We Will Soon Know.

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The title of one of my favourite movies, Any Given Sunday, comes from the book, in which Tony D’Amato, the head of the Miami Sharks American football team says that, in the right circumstances, on “any given Sunday” any team has a chance.

This is why we all love football so much, because we get this particular truth and we all have great memories of massive days when it didn’t seem, at the start, that we were going to watch anything particularly remarkable.

Liam Scales is facing one of those weekends. If we don’t sign a centre back who can go straight into the team the odds are high that Scales will be playing alongside Lagerbiekle at the heart of our defence. This kid is about to find out what he’s really made of. On any given Sunday, anything can happen.

We are going to learn a lot from those 90 minutes of football.

Back in the sands of time, local magistrates had absolute authority in matters of life and death. If the magistrate felt that there was some dubiety in a case that came before him, he could decide to exercise a little discretion and leave it in the hands of the God’s.

That is the origin of an expression that will be familiar to us all today; the “trial by fire.”

The trial by fire was one of three distinct tests to “determine” innocence or guilt. If you survived these tests – the trial by fire, the trial by water or the trial by combat – you were free, although what state you’d be in to “enjoy” your freedom was pretty much up in the air.

When I think of Liam Scales going into that Ibrox cauldron, the trial by fire seems apt.

There were two ways to subject someone to the trial by fire; you either made them walk three paces over a red-hot ploughshare or you made them carry a hot iron bar over the same distance. Your innocence or guilt was established by whether or not the bandaged wound had healed sufficiently after three days for “God’s judgement” to be revealed.

Most Celtic fans have already passed judgement on Scales; I say let the trial by fire decide what to do with him.

If he passes that test, he need never take another one. Because he will have proved what he’s made of and we’ll know if we’ve got a player or not. More to the point, he’ll have learned something about his own talents which will stay with him for a long time. He will grow in stature and self-belief. It will be his making, or it’ll be his breaking.

I couldn’t tell you, right now, what I think will happen this weekend. The thought of him playing should fill me with fear, especially as he’s going to be up against one of the most physical Ibrox forward lines any of us has seen in years. They were built for this game, make no mistake about it. Their manager bought these guys to rough us up.

In the movie, Willie Beaman emerges from an injury crisis which flares up during a game; the starting quarterback, Cap Rooney, gets hurt early in the match and then Tyler Cherubini, their second string QB, gets stretchered off within minutes of taking the field.

Beaman, who the film reveals later was a hot-shot prospect played out of position by his former coach, which led to an injury and a collapse in his value, status and morale, takes his place and over the next few matches proves himself to be a magnificent footballer … although a dreadful leader and team player, at least initially, when his narcissism grows to momentous proportions.

The movie is about him learning to appreciate that teams, not individuals, win games and with his new found humility comes a greater understanding of what it means to be a leader.

I don’t expect that a successful 90 minutes will turn Liam Scales into an ego driven monster, but if he comes through this massive test the manager will be forced to take another look at him and so will we, perhaps as a solution to our left back issue.

Scales deserves it. He went out on loan last year and so impressed Aberdeen that they wanted him back, on a permanent deal, and I think he might even have gone out on one and we’d never have seen him again.

That has happened before; Ryan Christie was a great signing for this club, criminally underused and underappreciated, he was allowed to out on loan and returned to the club with most people fully expecting him to be sold.

And do you remember what happened? An injury crisis afforded him his opportunity to shine. He grabbed the red-hot iron bar in a cup tie with Hearts, produced a superb display, and never looked back. The team that he was on loan with who wanted to sign him? Aberdeen. How gutted would they be at lightning striking twice?

For reasons which are completely mysterious to me – because I know I should be dreading this – I find myself perversely looking forward to the game. Who knows what our starting lineup will look like or how it will perform, but if Liam Scales starts my advice to him would be to ignore that sensation of walking on red hot iron and focus on the ball.

Because, as the trailer for the movie says, on any given Sunday heroes will rise.

He might just be the man everyone is talking about at the end, in all the best ways.

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  • Kevan McKeown says:

    First 15-20 minutes are crucial. Huge pressure from all angles, includin their hysterical crowd, will be right on our defenders from the start. Nae doubt about it. Tae give ourselves a reasonable chance, If we can keep them from scorin early, for me, ah think thats our main focus and priority. And if we can keep them out for longer the more frustrated they could become. Lose an early goal, ah can see it just gettin worse and ye dread tae think what could happen after that. One fact about football tho, is that it always has and always will, throw up totally unexpected or shock results at times. Think thats what we can hope for.

  • Stephen Mc Dowell says:

    Don’t you think it’s a little unrealistic to judge a players career on one game?

    • James Forrest says:

      We wouldn’t be though. He showed he’s a decent enough player at Pittodrie last season.

      This would just confirm that he’s grown as a footballer.

      • Stephen Mc Dowell says:

        I hope not, he’s no kid either, he’s 25 and in my opinion he’s already shown what he’s about, judging by last season and his efforts at Aberdeen…… that MAY be his level, he may not be the most talented centre half but he certainly doesn’t lack heart and doesn’t shy away from a physical battle, if all they can offer up top is an a big lummox they our boy will have a field day.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    I love your wee bit of optimism and excitement James, I’m quite an auld guy and the day I’m not excited for The Celtic to be playing the mob from Castle Greyskull is the day they’ll be carrying me out in a box. This weekend it is excitement mixed with a wee bit of trepidation. The loss of Mooy, Jota and Starfelt along with the long term injuries to others plus our ridiculous project signing policy has left us weakened in a big way.
    I know that some people will probably say that the likes of Liam Scales shouldn’t be near this fixture but we are where we are, as long as the players on the park at Ibrox give their all, then any criticism should only be levelled at the Celtic board, especially the two Lawell’s and Nicolson.

  • Roonsa says:

    I am sorry James but I think it is absolute lunacy that we go to Ibrox with your suggested Centre Half pairing. We have had plenty of time to resolve this and, as per usual, Celtic adopt a suck it and see approach. I have to say I am very fearful of Sunday’s outcome. We were utter pish against Killie and St Johnstone and I really can’t see where a win will come from. In fact, I will be delighted if we leave with a point. I am so pissed off right now. We had two years of thinking they have learned the lesson and are now pressing home the advantage. So quite how the team is now in such a state of disarray and seem to be up against it on Sunday is beyond belief.

    • James Forrest says:

      It would be lunacy if we were doing it by choice 🙂

      But we might be out of other options.

      • Bill says:

        Exactly, the only other option is a short term loan as signing yet another centre half would be stupid. In fact we’re lucky we didn’t punt Scales early as otherwise we’d be stuck with Iwata or an almost fit Kobiyashi! At least Scales has played at Ibrox before for Aberdeen.
        Don’t forget Charlie Nicholas (I know, I know) had Scales alongside CCV in his SPL team of the season, he must have done something right.

  • Rob says:

    Give him the ball in his own half with the opposition scurrying backwards to park their bus and Scales is fine. He can meander forward at a snails pace and make slow passes square to his teamates, back and forth adnosium.

    A soon as the opposition counter (anyone remember what that was like from celtic) he doesn’t have a clue what to do. He flaps and seems to panic.

    Sevco will be onto this weakness and he’s in for a torrid time. I just don’t think he has the smarts to deal with this.

    Hope I’m proven wrong big time, time will tell.

  • Davie says:

    Scales did a good job for Aberdeen Last season, other players at Celtic need to step up before scales does.
    Turnbull has lost his chance and should be allowed to leave.
    O’Riley is highly thought of but his shots are weak, heading is non existent for a tall player, tackling is weak, back tracking is lame (Abada does more) O’Riley is a lad with potential, he needs to step up a great deal more.
    Taylor started hopeless at celtic, turned a corner but has gone horribly back to hopeless.
    Kyogo needs to get in position quicker, he’s standing in front of opposition keeper claiming time wasting, Kyogo is the one time wasting then he can’t receive the ball when it comes forward as he’s 15 yards offside.
    So plenty of others need to step up before Scales.
    Brendan has broken a fixed team, only a couple of tweaks were required but he’s gone into boring slow possession passes again, keep passing back & sideways won’t produce goals.

  • Henriksgoldenboot says:

    Scales is the least of my worries of the debutantes or potential debutantes.

    To me he has already proven himself. And has been very professional in his conduct and very patient. One of the standouts over pre season and deserved his chance before now, before we ran out the door and bought other project players.

    There’s many a player who would have taken it as a slap in the face seeing the number of recruits being brought in his position and spat the dummy and asked to leave. Again his his attitude to stay and fight shows us the type of player he is and the type of young man he is. The type of player we need on any given Sunday.

    So I’m sure his fate will be in the hands of God (as there is only one) and we’ll see him come through this baptism of fire as one of the stars and I’m predicting this season will propel him to an international breakthrough season also becoming a mainstay in the national team.

    Go on Liam. Have the game of your life. God bless you. You deserve it!

  • king murdy says:

    i’d love to think he would pass with flying colours james….
    just really don’t think so….definitely nowhere near the quality we need, nor is taylor, turnbull and haksa…calmac and maeda just have not shown up so far….and as for rodgers….he’s been seen around the building – but has made no contribution…in fact, the only people at the club who are at the top of their form are the lawwell’s…..fuk the pair of them.
    i fear for us on sunday..really do…..and as for the CL….that’s a nightmare coming down the line….
    how the fuk have we been reduced to this in the space of a few months ????? SHAMEFUL.

  • Johnny Green says:

    I like Scales and I hope he comes through this test successfully, As you mention he is possibly a better option for LB than the other two we have, so I wish him all the best on Sunday, it’s time for him to step up to the mark and be counted.

  • Thewildgoose says:

    I think a blind man running for a bus could see that Scales is in for a torrid time on Sunday should he play. Factor in he’ll have Taylor playing left back beside him and the tribute act will undoubtedly target our left hand side and run amok. I’d rather see big lagershandy play LCH and either Iwata or Ralston play RCH, still don’t hold out much hope though. How that can be the case from where we were last season is quite frankly disgraceful, board showing their true colours again.

  • Johnno says:

    Still to hard to call James.
    Personally believe scales could and would operate best on the left of a 3CB.
    Actually believe this would be our best option for handling the aireal bombardment that’s to be expected on Sunday.
    Taylor on the left of a 4 is a potential liability to the deep cross, and Hart hardly fills us with confidence with dealing with crosses into the area.
    Set plays are another concern also.
    Would like to see Rodgers change things with the use of wing backs to close down there scummy full backs quicker, and still allows us plenty of pace to be able to hit hard on the counter.
    Rodgers came back for these type of games, and hope he comes up with far better than the shite he has served up to us so far.
    Could potentially work without the desperate need of getting another CB in, but wouldn’t be overly confident about it working, if it’s even an option whatsoever in Rodgers plans

  • Peter Campbell says:

    Are you saying that if Scales does well we should consider him for an entirely different position? No offence, that doesn’t make sense to me. I’d rather we obtained a new – actual – left back.

  • Jackson says:

    Just another example of “ them” buying players to rough us up like you say James.
    What does our board do to combat that
    Zilch.., with projects… good luck Liam

  • Bunter says:

    I’m on Lanzarote at the moment and looking at the Lawwell interference on transfers from afar it looks like amateur hour with Peter and the men in grey all over again. But on Scales, I think he’s coming good and will do us a turn on Sunday. He gets us and seems to have a good football brain. Those of a certain vintage will remember Mike Conroy, a competitive and competent midfielder, play at centre half in a Scottish cup final against the old Rangers. Mike won the man of the match award. Keep the faith / Celtic will prevail on Sunday! HH

  • John S says:

    He’s 25 years old (half the age of the Rangers*’ striker), Irish and has played against them for Aberdeen (I think). Some players are made by their performance in this tie.

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