Celtic Get The “Statement Win” And Silence The Critics Both Inside And Outside The Club.

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What an outstanding victory that was today, and one in the eye for those who still cannot wrap their brains around the simple, and obvious, fact that Brendan Rodgers is a superlative football manager who knows exactly what he is doing.

As proud as I am of the team today for that, and in particular guys like Scales, who have emerged as big, big players I am even more impressed by the boss himself who did not make a single bad call today.

No, not one. Including the team selection.

His decision to play Forrest was fully vindicated in that it provided us with experience and know-how on a pitch some of our other players will never have been on before. It was vindicated in his decision to take Forrest off when he needed to make the tactical change. Like a good soldier, my namesake came off without complaint.

That is James Forrest. More than 400 appearances. More than 100 goals. That is a club legend.

That is a footballer I am privileged to have watched. Some of the criticism that was fired at him, and the boss for selecting him, could only have come from the kind of people I talked about yesterday; brats who seem to like nothing more than castigating the players out there putting in a shift for us, people who don’t seem to derive any pleasure from following this team.

These are the sorts of people who still slag Daizen Maeda.

He was fantastic today, and I know he was getting stick in a lot of places before he smashed that superb shot high into the net late in the game. Even before that I had commented to friends that I thought he was brilliant. His work-rate is almost beyond belief.

He played wide left. He played wide right. He played through the middle. He set up chances. He tracked back. He epitomises “we never stop” more than any other player in the team. Yes he missed a couple of chances before his goal, but it was a performance brimming with quality.

The defence was excellent.

Sutton was dire in commentary today, finding every excuse he could to have a dig at Lagerbielke who he appears to have made his mind up about. He brought his A game today to his analysis. Unfortunately, Sutton’s analysis often sounds very much of the “I was sacked by Lincoln City” variety. Our whole back line deserves the highest praise.

Since the central defence was thrown together, they have kept clean sheets here and at Ibrox. They have held Feyenoord for 44 minutes in Rotterdam and would have strolled the rest of the game I think had Lagerbielke not been a little silly in his challenge. That’s inexperience at that level, as Rodgers has said. But these guys are really impressing me.

Callum McGregor, and not for the first time in recent weeks, produced a captain’s display and looks back to his finest. Matt O’Riley? If ever there was an example of a player totally transformed by a manager who “gets him” and who he seems to love working with, this is the guy. Rodgers is taking this guy from the status of a really good squad player to the level of un-droppable. He shows every sign of turning into a massive talent under this guy.

Kyogo had a quiet day by his standards, but he’s double marked nearly every week now and that creates chances and opportunities for others to exploit.

But today is the manager’s day. One of the biggest bits of praise I can give him is that when we go down to ten men under him, I never panic and never feel like we’re in any trouble.

He knows exactly how to react in those moments, and he did again today. His decision to take off Hatate and bring on the defensive midfield player, in Iwata, was inspired and would have been the last thing that the hapless Livingston manager would have expected.

As to the red card itself, I thought Beaton couldn’t wait to get it out of his pocket but Hart was a little reckless in throwing himself into that challenge. But I am going to forgive him for that.

It’s the first sending off of his career, in 700 games and he was simply carrying out the manager’s instructions in playing the “sweeper keeper” role which demands that he come out of the box and go for the ball when the opposition is past the last defender and he sees he can get to it.

He’s older now. His speed is not what it was.

But he played the same role at Ibrox and it was one of the contributing factors in why we won the game there. I hadn’t properly understood the “sweeper keeper” role until I watched him that day and recognised that he did it superbly.

The trouble with a keeper is that he is always scrutinised for his mistakes because he, unlike everyone else on the pitch, does not get a lot of opportunities to make up for it.

I said yesterday we needed a statement victory.

That was most certainly a statement. We played much of the game a man down and as James McFadden has just said in the commentary box, you would never have known that in how we played. That’s because the tactics were right, the changes were right and the mentality of this team was to keep calm and keep playing football.

I could not be happier with that. That was the performance we’ve all been waiting for, easily our best one of the season, at a tough ground and in the face of adversity … and even doubts amongst our own fans.

Put them aside, folks … the gaffer is back on deck, the Good Ship Celtic has its war guns out and suddenly we look formidable once more.

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  • Fat mike says:

    Hopefully today is the end of transition and the start of Rodgers moving through the gears. Mcgregor and matt o Riley can take massive credit for carrying the team through it with the quality theyve shown and as for danger mouse, he’s not human

  • Tim Buffy says:

    I’m not one of those who can’t wait to have a go at Joe Hart, after all he’s been superb for us. But that red card has been coming for a while. Still, he’s young enough to learn from it.

  • Magdalena’s Chestnut Gelding says:

    Great performance, great victory. That’s more like it.

    Now, is it just me or in the lead up to Joe’s red card when the ball comes over the top the Livingston player furthest from the camera on their right wing looks offside?

    The VAR picture is eventually shown cropped to highlight only the player wiped out by Hart. Not the full width view of the pitch. It looked as though the other guy was offside, but a cropped VAR pic? That’s a new one on me.

    • Tony B says:

      You’re right mate. I thought that as soon as I saw it. If the Livi player is offside then anything that happens after it in the same period of play doesn’t count so no red card.

      However that doesn’t suit the corrupt hun agenda as embodied by Cheatin Beaton et al.

      Our club should be calling this out vocally at every opportunity.

    • Jimmy says:

      Red card every day of the week Mcg. To say otherwise is just crazy.
      Great 3 points. Hate that surface with a passion. Hopefully kick on now and go on a run. CCV coming back will beat a big lift for the team and fans.

      • Magdalena’s Chestnut Gelding says:

        I didn’t say it wasn’t a red card.

        I said I thought the Livi player on their right was offside when the ball was played over the top. VAR eventually showed a cropped photo with a line showing the guy Hart wiped out was onside, but had cropped out the full width of the pitch. That’s a new one on me. Why didn’t they show the full width of the pitch for the VAR decision?

        • Jimmy says:

          Because you seen something that didn’t exist. Leave that nonsense for the clowns on the dark side of the city.

  • Scud Missile says:

    Auld Spew at his best today describing Celtic’s season as CHAOS when going down to 10 men,he then went on to have a pop at O’Riley,BOOM!
    So if auld PISHY describes Celtic as being in CHAOS this season and 7 points clear of our so called challengers for the title,maybe someone on the moan-in could ask auld PISHY to use a word now to describe how the season is going for sevco if the word CHAOS is used to describe Celtic
    And if we are in CHAOS and 7 points clear of sevco then just how willthe league table look once we come on to a game and in TOP GEAR.

  • Johnno says:

    Welcome back Celtic.
    Just the performance, matched by the result that we needed to really kick start our season.
    Many massive individual performances produced that will bond us nicely, for setting the standards required throughout the season.
    Huge statement of intent sent to all within the SPFL today, and that we still have plenty of room to become even better and stronger still.
    Credit to Rodgers also as I had a few doubts arising as to how players were actually responding to him, no sign of any such issues on show today which was a delight to see also.
    Special well done to Greg Taylor to finally getting his season up and running.
    Oreily and scales continuing to go from strength to strength also, brilliant for ourselves.
    Gustaf showing our younger player signing not as bad as many were trying to claim, so hopefully this project shite can finally be put to bed with largerman leading the way?
    Very very proud of the bhoys today, little bit overdue with the statement of intent for my liking, but certainly worth the wait with what was on show today.
    Standards have finally been set, now it remains for them to be kept, as still remain the best that Scottish football has on offer by some considerable distance also still

  • Torky58 says:

    I agree James, we played well today despite the referee giving two of our players yellow cards when it was them that were fouled, the red card for Joe was harsh but he gave Beaton a decision to make and as you rightly said he couldn’t wait to get the red card out. We seem to be getting better with each game we play and we’re still not cooking on full power yet, someone’s going to get a doing off of us soon and all this is being done with a depleted squad imagine how good we’ll be when our full compliment of players are available. I agree also that Maeda, O’Riley and CalMac were superb today and Scales and Lagerbielke have looked pretty solid at the back. Reo’s not back to his best yet but you can see flashes that he’s not far away I think in the next few weeks when he’s fully match fit we’ll see the real Hatate again. I’m usually a bit apprehensive about Livi away but not today I said to my mate we’ll win by four or five today and considering we played about seventy minutes with ten men that was an incredible

  • John Copeland says:

    Is there anyone in officialdom watching these games on plastic pitches who has concerns about players ‘ safety and wellbeing ? There must be somebody out there working for the governing bodies who thinks like myself , that one of these days – sooner rather than later – that some poor sod will have a seriously bad accident or Injury on these goddamned monstrosities …. or WORSE ! In my opinion those plastic pitches are occupational hazards and clubs who use them should be given financial help if needed to do so to rip them up … immediately ! I hope to God that I am wrong in my assumptions .


      Great point.
      Should be a STANDARD requirement for all Clubs, as is features like minimum Ground Capaciy and Safety Standards, before a License to play is issued.
      Agreed that funding should be made available.
      It would also in the long run help to improve the Standard of Scottish Football.
      It would also improve the availability of players, with less injuries playing on that abomination, for all Clubs.

      The Champions Are Back.. let them all take note.

  • John S says:

    There was way too much greetin’ after the Feyenoord game. Good to see the positivity re-emerging. The fans can only ask that the manager and players do their best. I would say they do.

  • Joe Monaghan says:

    Couldn’t agree more about Sutton becoming ,a joke sounded to me he was desperate for the hammer thrower’s to score so he could slag off the defence which was excellent btw.

  • Fun time frankie says:

    I think Sutton has taken the blue pound,I thought there would be fireworks when he started at sky with himself and hair weave but nothing,also imo if Joe Hart comes out and heads that ball today and he’s the one who gets flattered then it’s the livvie man who’s off.

  • Tony B says:

    Re Beaton. Has he EVER sent off a hun player? Or awarded a penalty against them?

    One thing is for sure: if that had been Butland making that challenge he would not have been red carded.
    The Scottish game is corrupt and the custodians of the club should be calling it out PUBLICLY.

  • James Archibald says:

    that was the 1st thing I said the card was out as soon as he saw it he couldn’t wait and no doubt someone will look at the offside priot the the red card. HH

  • Iljas Baker says:

    I sometimes get frustrated with Maeda, afterall he does miss some sitters and lacks ball control at times. But so do many top players in every league I remind myself. His work rate is stupendous and his goal yesterday was sublime – great control, a wonderful shot into the top corner – a moment of magic. You have to put up with the bad while waiting for the good to emerge.

    I think we fans are too often discouraging to players, sometimes disparaging of players. We seem to have picked up something from the MSM.

    Players are not robots, they can’t be programmed to do everything the way we’d like. I’d say every Celtic player tries his best, they need encouragement when things not going their way. Taylor and Scales prime examples. Yesterday they were immense after poor starts to their Celtic careers and especially as Taylor has had a bad start to his season and Scales being a DD signing didn’t get a look in under Ange.

  • Jack says:

    The Joe Hart sending off was harsh. Scales was back covering the goal, so the Livingston striker still had a lot to do to score if Joe doesn’t take him down. Beaton could not wait to send him off. Yellow card for me. McLean on VAR just as bad as Beaton.

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