A Statement Win Sets Up The Table For Celtic To Sweep To Another Title Triumph.

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In every title race there is a day like this, one which sets up what comes next, like when a good chess player has positioned every one of his pieces, so that he can co-ordinate them in a perfect series of moves to win.

Is that us or is that them? Are those pieces ours or do they belong to the club who the media seems to think have the narrow advantage here? I have my own theory on that and it is not terribly hard to guess at.

Our form has been patchy, if we’re using the most generous interpretation, but we’ve beaten them twice and have what is obviously the better team in spite of the sycophantic guff the Hibs boss talked yesterday to excuse his own ineptitude in not being able to lay a glove on them. His team are seventh. Hibs, Seventh.

Maybe his is not a judgement anyone should be relying on.

I do like chess, but I prefer poker and so if you will excuse me I’ll use that analogy instead of the chess one in my argument here. It just suits better what it is that I’m about to say, and whilst I do feel that we’ve got the board set just so for next weekend I’ll talk about a winning hand rather the dispersal of forces.

The unbeatable hand in poker is the royal flush, and I think we have the cards in our hands now, finally, for victory. It’s been a while since I felt that way about this team.

The first card is the Ace, and that’s Kyogo Furuhashi.

The predator, the scorer, the one who can exploit that yard of space to put the ball in the net. He’s been critical to our wins over this lot for the last couple of seasons and he will be critical here. Our Ace wasn’t all that brilliant in the early part of the campaign, but we’ve seen him emerge into the talisman again these past few months. He created our two best chances of the game today out—with the goals, showing an alertness and extra second of anticipation that nobody else in the team can muster.

Our king is Brendan Rodgers, who sat in the stand today but who will be in the dugout for the game after Celtic made damn sure of it and brought in a heavyweight sports lawyer for that very purpose, and as everyone knows, I think that was big win for us in spite of a lot of chatter to the contrary. He’s the man, the leader, the head of the family, the guy who will formulate the plan that the players will execute on the day.

Our queen is Callum McGregor, sitting at the side of the king, leading on the field as he leads off of it. The enormity of having McGregor fit for this cannot be underestimated and he will be vitally important to how we approach the game. I am thrilled that he looks like making it, and my whole week will revolve around waiting to find out if he’s spotted arriving for training. I think he will be. I think he’ll play.

The jack, the knight, the man I’ve often described a our centurion, the soldier, the warrior, is Cameron Carter Vickers, who strolled today as if he was a man in the park and not a player in a close title race. At half time when there was a little concern over our lack of shots on target I could not help but notice that we hadn’t even been under the most minimal pressure in the match, and that was down to him.

The ten is actually our number 41, Reo Hatate, who played out there like he had never been out of the team, like there had been no injury and he had been out on the pitch all these many, many months. To see him return is brilliant. To have him together with the rest of these guys again is what makes this the royal flush, he’s the card we were waiting to be dealt and now that we have it … I think we’re in great shape.

Three goals today, no significant issues, no injuries that were apparent or even any clear-cut chance created against us … that was not just a good three points, that was a statement victory with big performances from big players. Even Matt O’Riley got in on the act today and scored, which is another big lift to us.

At no time today did we look in trouble. Even that first half, with few clear-cut chances and a single shot on target, was comfortable and the football was played was good. The goal was always coming and it was always going to be us who scored it. That was one sided, with Celtic in complete command.

It was a good three points yes, but it was much, much more. It sets the table for the rest of the game and we have a big pile of chips in front of us and we’re holding one Hell of a hand. This title is ours to win. We’re going to Ibrox with our noses in front, albeit they have their game in hand. Leave with a draw and I think we’re in the box seat.

Leave with a win – and with this hand we should – and it’s again ours to lose. There are six games left to go, and this just got very real indeed.

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  • Bhoy4life says:

    We will have to score 3 minimum next week to have any chance, they will all know avoiding defeat for them is a massive assistance, expect the usual disruptive influence from the MiB, as everyone can see, we are starting to look like a team again, they wont allow a passing game which would destroy a bang average Sevco.

    • Dan says:

      Very good win today, perhaps a little concerned about our defence next week, not getting Johnston at all. Him and Scales are mediocre at best. Maeda courts more debate after today. Do we play a player just because he works so hard off the ball. Hard to say, but his crossing, decision making and touch were below pub league again today. I would love to see the lad kick on and be a great, but it never happens.

  • Roonsa says:

    “Our queen is Callum McGregor …..”

    Seriously, James?


    Good victory today. I think we are ready for that lot. It’s not going to be easy, and I’ll take a draw, but I think we are in good shape to take 3 points.

    Mon the Queens!!!!

    • Peter Cassidy says:

      The problem next week will be the officials”so Celtic will need to be at there best and if so we will win this match but it’s the officials I don’t trust as we all know .But we should not be in this position we have been poor in some of the games we have dropped points but we are where we are at now so if we play our high tempo there is only one winner at that is us .

  • Owen Mullions says:

    Clear cunt chances, James? Bit of proofreading required there.?

  • Eddie says:

    Check before printing mate. You criticise others. C word is surely a no no?

  • Gerry says:

    I was commenting on your previous article, but I suppose the words I was writing, run into this one too.

    I’ve said for long enough that we win this title through OUR own efforts and merits.

    This has been a painful season to watch for a variety of reasons, and I’ll be glad when it ends, hopefully, with us, as champions, yet again.

    We know there is incompetence amongst our officials…we see it every week, as do the fans of every club in this country.

    We also know there is bias and possible corruption at play…unfortunately this is harder to prove, unless there are concerted efforts made, by a collective number of teams, not just Celtic, to go forward as one, and drive this COMPLETELY out of our game.

    I haven’t yet seen their dubious award from yesterday. However, when you throw in the stonewaller that wasn’t even afforded a viewing on the monitor, in our game today, you again realise, that this corruption, which has went on for too long, and favoured one outfit, has to be weeded out, in order to start the reform process of our football governance.

    VAR was introduced to improve our game…unfortunately it has been utilised by this incompetent/corrupt set up to benefit one team.

    Let us all hope that when we get this season out of the way, then we might see the start, of some serious changes. By god, our game needs it, and now.

    Pleased that we got today out of the way with 3 pts, a clean sheet and fingers crossed, no injuries. Great to see Hatate for an hour and the dynamism he brings! He’s some player and vital for next week! As are CCV and CalMac!

    Now we look for a strong week of training, a full squad to choose from and onwards to what I believe, will be another three points next week.

    We shall await Allan Crawford’s appointments at Ibrokes, to see which band of brothers are tasked to try and help them,and hinder us.

    Celtic, time to turn on the style and ensure they cannot influence a thing ! HH

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Wasn’t as tough as ah expected. Great result, good performance and looks like nae injuries, so ahm well happy. Cannae ask for much more. Take one game at a time. Although the beatons, muir, dickenson, dallas etc will still have a say in this, as we saw today with kyogo. Boyd also, completely surpassin himself as an out and out bitter moron. Big Chris owns him with a perfect analysis of the pen incident and all he could reply was, with a sarcastic ‘it’s a conspiracy’. Ah mean how bad was that ? Just how long sky are gonnae continue wi this absolute embarrassment is anybodys guess.

  • Brattbakk says:

    Fantastic today and let’s be honest, it was a fairly impressive result by them yesterday, sets it up lovely for a ‘no pre match excuses’ game. I’m confident and excited.

  • DixieD says:

    It certainly looks like things are starting to fall into place. McGregors return to the midfield would just be the final piece. A draw (or preferably a win) next weekend, and keep Kyogo, Hatate, CCV, Hart, Maeda, O’Riley and McGregor fit till the end of the season and this league is ours for the taking.

  • Effarr says:

    I don’t know if Queen Camilla … sorry: Callum, will be all that chuffed having to wear a blonde wig.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Brendan our King…

    Cal-Mac our Queen…

    The Royal Flush…

    Aye – Flush The Royal – These taxpayers thieving parasites outta Scotland and the Six Occupied Counties of The Island of Ireland as well !

    Like the bit of CCV as a Knight (of St. Columba) !

  • Joe McQuaid says:

    Agree James, but we should also be making noise about the stonewall penalty that was not awarded to us – best to do this when we won the game anyway rather than be accused of sour grapes. I would add that for me £6m for Bernardo looking like good business if we can do it – a class act who will only get better.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      Kennedy asked on Sportscene about the penalty…

      Says – “I haven’t really seen it” but “I’d rather focus on a good win”

      Focus on BOTH Mr Kennedy…

      He should have stated that he’d expect that to be given at Liebrox or else –

      Also said Cal-Mac ain’t trained yet…

      He should have said that Cal-Mac is coming along nicely and will be assessed with the rest of the squad towards the end of the week…

      We need to box a wee bitty cleverer at times so we do !

  • Jimmy says:

    So much better today. Tempo much better with Hatate spraying balls around.. Kuhn looks a player and Kyogo did what Kyogo does. Add to that, CCV is the best centre half in the Spl by a hundred miles. Next week we go hopefully with our captain playing. Given that I would be full of confidence.

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