Unlikely Heroes As Celtic Sweep Dundee Aside In A One-Sided Beating At Dens.

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Heroes emerge when you need them most. Heroes aren’t walking about in their day-to-day lives being heroes, they are made by the circumstances and by their times.

Liam Scales is a Celtic first team regular right now because he rose to a huge occasion. Now this team may have to rise to another one and it is possible that it will be Stephen Welsh, although the boss has suggested that big Carter Vickers will be fit for the Ibrox club.

Welsh could be the weekend’s hero.

Today the heroes were Paolo Bernardo – capping an excellent game with a deserved goal although it was a terrible one for Dundee to lose – and, shock of shocks, Mikey Johnston who came on for the tremendous Luis Palma and upstaged him with a double.

Full credit to him for the way he performed.

But that today was a one-sided slaughter masquerading as a football match.

It was the equivalent of a punishment beating where the only surprise is that we didn’t punish them more. It’s ended 3-0 and two of the goals came fairly late in the day but that was as comprehensive as we’ve been for many, many weeks. That picked up from the Livingston game where you saw major signs of improvement, and rocketed up the stats graph.

We are so, so much better as a team when we have movement off the ball, when players aren’t lumping balls into the penalty box, where we’re keeping it on the deck, where we’re running into the area and giving the defenders decisions to make, when we’re knocking it low across the goal and inviting errors.

Every improvement in our performance against Livingston was evident again today except there was more of it, more of everything.

I thought we were excellent today, and as I said I thought Bernardo and Palma were both head and shoulders the best players on the pitch.

Palma had a superb game before getting taken off and I worried that it would weaken us. Mikey Johnston’s little cameo was the happiest and most unexpected turn.

If he could do that every week there would be no question about his future, not that I think there is because he doesn’t do it every week or nearly often enough. But Luis Palma again looked like he could be the creative star we’ve been craving. He is racking up the goals and assists at a steady rate.

Bernardo really intrigues me though.

We hadn’t seen enough of him to justify thinking about exercising that option … well two league games in a row, he’s been excellent and I think I like what I see. If he plays at the weekend and shines we may have a big, big player on our hands and one that would be worth keeping at the end of his loan.

Two niggling concerns.

The first is that Kyogo still seems a little off it. He was dreadfully unlucky when he chipped the keeper and the ball floated past, but he was quiet today and I’d love to have seen him do a lot more.

The second concern is Cameron Carter Vickers, although as I said, the boss offered an encouraging update on what happened with him and he’s got a good chance of being fit.

But his loss would be enormous, and highly unwelcome, and it clarfies again the need, if we’re dispensing with Lagerbielke and Nawrocki, that we bring in at least one other centre back, maybe not in January but definitely in the summer. With Phillips on the way out that makes it all the more critical.

On a last note, I am disgusted at the officiating today but as you can probably gather I’m saving that for a separate piece because honestly, we’re in the midst here of an ever developing scandal when it comes to this stuff and we got nothing today from any of them, in spite of some incidents which were exactly the sort VAR was introduced to spot.

Celtic should be calling this out, in public, every week and keeping the pressure on the SFA. Because whatever’s being said “behind the scenes” isn’t getting through and only a clear message where there’s no plausible deniability or dubiety will suffice.

Overall today, I’m very pleased with those three points.

That was much, much more like Celtic and we put Ange style numbers in terms of chances, shots on target, attacking runs, touches in the opposition box and corners on the boards … very pleasing indeed and a clear step up from the Livingston game which was, in turn, a major leap from the dire displays which cost us points.

Bring on the pretenders. We now look ready.

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  • John L says:

    I was happy for Mikey today as said before, we need to work with what we have and encourage every player in a Celtic shirt to perform to the best of their abilities , even if we don’t fancy them as a player. United We Stand. Hail Hail
    Ps . Minus 2 at half time 4/1 Get in

  • Phil says:

    “tremendous Louis Palma”. How we can watch the same game and have polar opposite views.

  • brian cavanagh says:

    Hi James I feel for your as a observer of the Celtic team. It is frankly difficult to assess the real quality of the team performance when there are consistent failings in the refereeing of the game. And it goes to the heart of the premise of the game. If a fan/commentator can’t judge the quality/lack of quality of their team due to poor refereeing, it makes it hard to really review the 90 minutes. Another game with questionable decisions would normally lead anyone in any other business to question the competence or ability of an adjudicator, yet in Scottish soccer such professionalism is discouraged. So the big question is – why do UEFA allow this bias, and why do they show little interest in the corruption that seems to dominate the Scottish game?

  • Prince Dossing says:

    Interesting phrase “an ever developing scandal,”

    Do you know who will stop this charade playing out every week James?

    It won’t be spineless club chairman,that ship has sailed long ago,it will be a fan led rebellion and it is incumbent on every support in Scotland to warn their respective boards that if they don’t have the will to take this on then they will.

    Watch the suits jump as soon as season card income, merchandise ect is under threat,you can bet your last penny Budge,Cormack ect would be in a race to get airtime anywhere once that trickle becomes a stream until ba’s burst

    Supporters have far more leverage than we think – 2012 proved that even fans of clubs down the pyramid.

    Enough is Enough

  • Johnno says:

    Decent enough performance, yet lacking that clinical edge within it, to really rack up the goal difference.
    Maeda still way off the pace since the injury, so our right hand side was still not functioning the way we like, so hopefully that area improves hugely against the scum.
    Surprising goalscorers, but delighted for the pair of them all the same.
    Like yourself James, still finding Paulo an intriguing player, and starting to fit into the midfield areas very nicely presently imo?
    Still unsure if that will make him a decent signing for us in the longer term, but certainly doing well enough currently, now it’s crucial he keeps that form going?
    Huge concern regarding CCV, and certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable with having to use Welsh against the scum, a game where Welsh has looked a liability within the past, and still rather him not having to be used within it also imo?

  • Scouse bhoy says:

    Corner kicks are woeful i hate to admit .

  • Peter Cassidy says:

    Three points job done players playing as team and will get even better also new players starting to get used to Scottish football if Rodgers can get in a centre forward who can score goals.around the penalty area ie good poacher do not want a project type player got to many of them at the moment .

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Gathering a bit of pace in the right direction in the run up to The Glasgow Derby…

    Unfortunately so are Greig Aitken and Andrew Dallas !

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