Johnson’s Support For Maeda Shows The Strength Of This Celtic Dressing Room.

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Alastair Johnston stood up for Daizen Maeda last night, and he summed up how I felt about the red card; he described as “poison” for the whole team.

As I said in my piece yesterday, I felt that it was the worst possible red card to get, and Atletico must have had that well thought through and planned based on his first leg performance.

It was exactly as Johnston said; it was like a bad drug surging through the bloodstream of the team. No other player gives us such energy, not only in attack but in chasing back and working his legs off for the side.

No other sending off would have done us such damage, not even that of the captain. We aren’t a one-man team but we lost more than one man when he went off.

Johnston said that Maeda was distraught in the dressing room. He obviously felt he’d let everyone down. He didn’t. He was the victim of a ruthless and cynical side which will stop at nothing to get the results that it wants.

His tackle was a yellow at worst, it is shocking that it resulted in a red. There are issues here beyond VAR which I’ll talk about at another time.

But Daizen is such a crucial part of the team he can’t afford to dwell on it. That’s why I’m so pleased that the dressing room is rallying round him.

I have to admit, although Kyogo is obviously the star man, I love Maeda, he’s my favourite player at the club right now. I was gutted for him, and for us, at the red card. I knew he would take it badly.

I hope he’s still frustrated at the weekend. I hope he’s raring to go. Aberdeen will pay in full for that dire decision if he goes out there feeling he’s got something to prove and wanting to make it up to his team-mates and the rest of us.

I am going to stick a few quid on him getting a goal, that’s how sure I am that he’ll be up for the fight.

What’s great is that from Johnson’s comments you get a real feeling that this is a community, that this is now a team.

Contrast that with Giakoumakis comments from the other day; he’s so self-absorbed it’s unreal. I think of Maeda, sitting in that dressing room, and feeling that he had let everyone down and its such a difference in attitude. He wasn’t feeling sorry for himself but for the rest of the club and for the fans.

This is a team. They win and lose as a team.

They suffer and succeed as a team.

They take defeats together and everyone supports everyone else.

Nobody here is elevated about the rest.

They hold one another up when someone is down … it’s fantastic.

So, this weekend, this is Daezin’s opportunity to put that moment in the rearview mirror where it belongs. He is critical to this side.

We will badly miss him in Rome but in the here and now he has business to attend to and we have a game to win.

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  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Good tae hear the team are gettin behind DM and supportin him. Ye could see straight away he was gonnae cause them problems and that’s how they were pressurin the referee tae send him aff. The red card itself was a bad joke. Just an example of a dodgy ref, givin one of the so regarded ‘bigger clubs’ in the tournament a helpin hand.

  • codmat says:

    Error James;
    “Nobody here is elevated ABOUT the rest”

  • Eldraco says:

    One thing about our man AJ, he does not and will not take any bullshit about our Bhoys.

    I took to him from the get go and the game at Ibrox when he took care of business.

  • Woodyiom says:

    You could see how upset he was by the way he started taking off his shirt as he trooped up the stairs to the dressing room. He has absolutely nothing to be sorry for – that “challenge” wouldn’t have even ben a yellow in Scottish football. A more honest and hardworking player you won’t find anywhere in the world and the same could be applied to Kyogo – that is why they are loved so much by us – they give their all but always witha smile on their faces. Go Daizen!!

    I hope AM draw Man City at some point – they will get an utter spanking and it will be hilarious to watch 🙂

  • Scot Dickson says:

    Don’t fret little man your a true celt and there a bunch of Spanish cheating c#nts.

  • Johnno says:

    At a total loss as to how player’s are meant to actually deal with the level of injustices that is currently destroying the game currently?
    Becoming so bad now, that I wouldn’t be surprised if it starts to become a mental issue within the game, due to the injustices?
    For a player to play at a big club, then there temperament has to be right, to be able to handle the demands and pressure that comes with it.
    Player’s can very easily become scapegoats also, which in turn will have serious impacts upon there own mental health also imo.
    Such is the disgrace that VAR can impact upon player’s welfare, that should be challenged strongly at this stage imo.
    There still is a human factor, that is going totally unnoticed here, mainly due to so many looking upon the player’s as robots.
    Football has always been and will be a very emotional sport, yet these emotions are expected to be turned on and off in the same manner as a tap?
    The mental strength required within todays game is at a stage so challenging, to the degree never seen before, that I believe the potential consequences need to start to be addressed imo?
    Are we getting to the stage where big club’s have to start employing psychiatric therapist to deal with the ongoing issue?
    Like you pointed out James, we hope Maeda bounces back, with great support from our support, and all ends well for himself on the day?
    Yet do we really know if he will be right mentally to face the challenge ahead?
    Potentially has all the means of becoming a massive issue within the game, and even Potentially ending careers within a club, and all for a still image?
    I still believe that Maeda will be OK, especially with the help received from teammates and staff within the club, along with our supporters, but does that mean that the consequences of such injustices have to remain unnoticed within the welfare of the player’s involved?

  • Gerry says:

    A lot has been said and written since our humbling/thrashing in Madrid…all about opinions. However, the red card decision, in my opinion , was an absolute disgrace, and I was almost apoplectic watching it. Athletico are undoubtedly a talented and well coached team, but the fact that they also revel in the darker arts of football, can be seen, time and time again. Whether you’re old enough to remember or have read about it online, the disgraceful events of 1974 still leave a sour taste in the mouths of many Celtic fans. Maeda has no reason to reproach himself whatsoever, and as you have already alluded, when you remove his energy and presence it is like losing two men. No one can defend our second half collapse but it can certainly be mitigated by that dreadful decision. I can’t understand those that still think it was a red card . This decision, in conjunction with many other questionable ones made, highlights the ineptitude of VAR and/or those operating it. Again, you have written some great articles on the viability of VAR, and for me, it has to go. Only my opinion, but i think it is ruining football and the supposed fluid dynamics of a game. Let’s go back to the referee and his touchline assistants, being the arbiters of our beloved game, and leave the computer screen decisions to Xbox and PlayStation. The most important thing is that our team bounces back quickly, which I’m sure they will, with the talent and resilience in our squad !

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