Capital Punishment from Celtic


Rarely in the last 40 years have Celtic been so comfortable at a game in the captial.  The champions went ahead within three minutes courtesy of a sublime Matt O’Riley volley, from a forward-pitched cross by Luis Palma.  It has been an education watching Matt (still only 22) develop as a player.

Matt’s talent was evident when he first arrived in January last year, a £1.5m snip from MK Dons.  His midfield role was less effective last season, but Brendan Rodgers has tweaked his game incredibly.  We are fortunate to have seen many great Celtic goals in recent seasons, yesterday’s opener from Matt is up there with the best of them.

I regularly read opposing  views on Daizen Maeda.  With space to close down, as he had when we were down to 10 men at Livingston, he is a class apart.  Then there is his distribution.  Yesterday he drove into the box midway through the first half to convert Reo Hatate’s cross and effectively tie up the points for Celtic.  He made the game more interesting midway through the second half with a pass in front of his own 18 yard line that found Lawrence Shankland, who thumped the ball in off the post.

You would think Kyogo would be permanently marked when inside the opposition box.  Most of the time, this holds, but Kyogo looks for space while his supporting cast from the Celtic midfield arrive in the area hunting the ball.  Defenders the world over are drawn to the ball and to movement.  This scene played out early in the first half.  Kyogo, all alone with the ball and facing a startled Zander Clark, made no mistake.

Last week, discussing Callum McGregor, “one of the world’s busiest players”, I wrote:

“Brendan Rodgers has many challenges: pressure to win every game domestically, then having to make the huge step up for Europe, with few genuine advantages.  One, though, is the luxury of winning many games early, another is having central mid options.  He should make the most of them.”

Brendan immediately hooked Callum on Tomoki Iwata restoring our three-goal lead.  Wise management of the player will extend Callum’s career, it will also allow the development of Iwata, Bernardo and Holm.

Like you, I don’t have a dog in the fight over what happens at Hearts, but their Steven Naismith experiment is so obviously doomed.  Vacant seats were visible at the start of the game, while the home sections of the stadium were practically empty before fulltime.  Running a football club is easy, as I am sure Ann Budge will tell you – as long as you stick to talking about Celtic fans.

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  1. Perhaps Anne Budge will be happy with the result and performance yesterday, after all was she not recently complaining that they seem to give us a game but then do hee haw against Sevco?



    Not quite sure that evened itself out as she hoped but the inconsistency that was key to her complaint looks to have been resolved :)




  2. Prestonpans bhoys on

    Just looked at the highlights, for starts what could you possibly say was poor about the first goal!

  3. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Things taking shape nicely. Think that’s our first four-goal game of the season?


    Looking much slicker than early season, though better still to come.


    MOR looking like he will be comfortably into double figures. Potentially a Burley 97-98, Petrov 02-03, Armstrong 16-17 type campaign, while Kyogo might pick up the Mark McGhee scoring against Hearts trophy!


    All looking promising but tougher tests ahead in Europe where margins are tighter and mistakes are punished.


    Onwards and upwards!

  4. Quad- Hearts play Sevco 3 times in next few weeks, if they don’t turn up,Naibalance will be toast

  5. As much games like yesterday give most of us a pleasant stress-free day Hearts away needs to provide more of a challenge. Except for a nice confidence boost it does nothing to help us prepare for a game against a tactically world class manager and a team with World Cup and champions league winners in their ranks



    As long as a club the size of Hearts make short sighted decisions like turning down 500k a year from us and the Huns from selling us a whole end, and appointing no-hopers like Naismith we will struggle to bridge the gap against the best when we play them. The gulf in quality in opponents is too big.



    No doubt there will be the usual complaints about lack of ambition if we don’t win on Wednesday but if we can walk through games like Sunday teams like Atletico will always be a big step up



    Hearts were so poorly set up, I honestly think Sydney Tims wife would have gone a better job than Naismith. From minute one you could see we were going to thump them

  6. From last blog, I totally agree with Greenpinata and Burnley regarding Oh. We can’t make any judgements on the lad until he is given a run of games where he starts. He is getting frustrated. I like him and hope he is a huge success. I hope we stretch our lead in the league to 10 points as soon as possible to give Brendan a chance to give Oh, Holm, Bernardo and our two new centre backs more game time.

  7. Griezmann scored a hatrick yesterday away against Carl Starfelt’s Celta Vigo, while Celtic faced a Hearts that didnt have a shot on goal or a touch in our box for about 20 minutes at the start of the second half.

  8. Jim White on Talkshite, singling Celtic fans out for Palestinian flags,MON informed him fans at CP have been flying these flags for years

  9. bournesouprecipe on




    So much , for the ‘we’re weaker than last year brigade’ as Brendan charts the best start since 2016/17.



    Kyogo’s scoring rate, makes it near impossible for Oh to get game time hardly his fault we play one up top, injuries aside he’ll need to bide his time, like a few others that push for a starting place. BR uses his five subs like Ange just waits a bit longer.



    Luis Palma the stand out summer signing beginning to reflect his transfer fee and competition as predicted by Brendan for the Centre Back berths, with Liam Scales a new Charlie Mulgrew.



    Good shape taken up again for the high level on Wednesday.

  10. Brilliant performance yesterday all round 10 out of 10


    Reckon the answer in lesser games is to rest CalMac, play Iwate and give Holm some game time, my opinion only.


    My very slight bother is A J , not sure he is back to his brilliant best yet after his injury, could be wrong.



    Do we ever get a fekkin home game !!!!!




  11. BSR @ 12:54 PM,



    Hope all’s good…



    Although I wasn’t in the “so much weaker” camp, I certainly made the point that after the two transfer windows this year we were weaker.



    I’d stick by that.



    Ange and Brendan have their own strengths and weaknesses and we are seeing BR’s skill at player development coming to the fore, with Scales and O’Riley pariculaly showing big improvements.



    You are right about Oh, his chances to shine will be fleeting yet he has to take the opportunities offered, so far his performances have been mixed.



    Things are progressing nicely for the team, hopefully the large number of development players we brought in this year are developing but my feeling is it will be some time, if ever, before they get the shrinkproof jerseys.



    Hail Hail

  12. KINGLUBO on 23RD OCTOBER 2023 1:14 PM


    Do we ever get a fekkin home game !!!!!




    Have just looked this up, as I was thinking the same and so far this season in the league, we’ve played 4 at home and 5 away. The game against Hibs will take this to 4 home and 6 away, which is t that bad.



    However, given we’ve had to play Hearts, Hibs, Sevco, Aberdeen and I think Livingston away, we likely won’t get two home games against some of them when the split happens and could end up playing some of them 3 times away.



    The Huns on the other hand…





    Can’t believe we’ve had the start we’ve had with the fixtures we’ve been dealt. The club is in same hands with Brendan at the helm.



    We were outstanding yesterday and didn’t allow Hearts to play. As they are being slated for how bad they were. A lot of that was down to how we played.

  13. I think Oh is in a similar place to GG before Kyogo was injured.



    Once Giakomakis had a run of games, we could see we had a striker there.



    Of course I don’t want Kyogo injured but I’m unsure how we can assess Oh fully without a few starts behind him.



    When GG went back to second choice, I thought he came on as a more effective sub.

  14. Jim White another bluenose who has been well looked after by the media ,I agree about subs getting more game time ,15,10 ,minutes is not long enough.

  15. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Rumour has it Jim White applied for the job of village idiot in a place called Dumbville ….



    … but failed to meet the intelligence threshold

  16. bournesouprecipe on




    Just mucking around with labelling of Celtic things.



    The we’re weaker debate is circuitous and highly debatable and could boil down to Palma for Jota or Scales for Starfelt, you could do a ‘who would win in a fight between Ange’s bench or Brendan’s bench,’ again highly debatable. We were also nearer a CL point than we’ve been recently, against Lazio?.



    We might be on the eve of a real Celtic result on Wednesday who knows. We’re stronger IMO in that we’ve a better manager than the Ange Postecoglu that stepped off DD’s private jet, a couple of years ago. The summer window I concede is demonstrating that it was indeed about potential, not oven ready.




  17. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    “over what happens at Hearts, but their Steven Naismith experiment is so obviously doomed….. Running a football club is easy, as I am sure Ann Budge will tell you – as long as you stick to talking about Celtic fans”




    Nailed it Pablo.



    Populism laced with bigotry since the Star of The East got involved.



    Doesn’t matter how many capable people and good things a football club has or does.



    If you ain’t got the right man in the most important role – you don’t have a chance.



    Reverse of the above equally applies.



    Watching the Mitchell brothers in the dugout in the first half … looking perplexedly at the tablet …. trying to figure out what the performance data was telling them ?




  18. “!!BADA BING!! on 23RD OCTOBER 2023 12:31 PM


    Quad- Hearts play Sevco 3 times in next few weeks, if they don’t turn up, Naibalance will be toast”



    As much as I’d love to see more SPFL teams, even Hearts who I have no love for, get their act together I would miss seeing his miserable face full of pain after another skelping by the champions :)



    Even more reason for me to hope for a Sevco loss!




  19. It was disappointing that Hearts only gave us about 600 tickets for our fans but, to be fair to them, they ensured that there were only about 600 Hearts fans there also by the end.


    Fair do’s.

  20. HRVATSKI JIM on 23RD OCTOBER 2023 2:09 PM


    It was disappointing that Hearts only gave us about 600 tickets for our fans but, to be fair to them, they ensured that there were only about 600 Hearts fans there also by the end.



    Fair do’s.





  21. boondock saint on

    Hi All,


    What a great performance yesterday. I have never liked Hearts, their fans, or that shoite stadium.


    When I got released from Celtic, I went up to Heart on trial. My first day I got picked up at Motherwell Cross by Nicky Walker and derek ferguson. You could imagine the banter going back and forth from them with regards to my name and were I used to play and support:)))) To make matters worse, Sandy Clark was in charge of the reserves:((((((((( Joe Jordan and the brilliant Frank Connor were in charge of the first team. After that first day, I decided to get the train from Cleland for the next week. I played one game for the reserves at right back against Dundee United, and was up against Michael O’Neil, jaysus he was fast, but I held my own. went from Jinky winger at Celtic, to right back at the Jam farts, and knew I was doomed:)))))))


    Bhoys were wonderful to watch yesterday though I wanted, selfishly , to hammer them by more.


    Hope all of you are in the best of health and happiness. Got to get back to teaching now))


    Hail Hail



  22. Garngad to Croy on

    Better and better ! It is not Angeball but I am really enjoying watching Brendan’s Celtic team develop as the weeks progress.

  23. CELTIC40ME 12:41pm



    Saying the same in the club yesterday………very poor Hearts team and now Madrid no difference.





    Can’t see Hearts taking a thing from “rangers” but live in hope.

  24. The returnof weeron on

    Lots of fodder for good chat about our team, where we are stronger, where we are not, etc.



    I think that Scales got lucky with all our injuries. I don’t think that we were seriously considering him as staying at Celtic. However, he has certainly excelled, so much so, that I think he is an improvement on Starfelt. All else being equal, I’d imagine that Phillips will go back to Liverpool in January. Our other CB’s will have to be pretty good if they are to get game time.



    Also worth noting that BR’s man management has given us some improvements. MOR being the obvious one. BR has also got Jamsie back in the squad. Some work needed re the fullbacks, as they struggle to get back to being, well, fullbacks.



    Yesterday was a reminder to all of us that work goes on daily that we never see. Iwati had dropped right off my radar. Yet, his cameo showed that there may still be a player in there.



    Good points have been made about ticketing. Sadly, it looks like Scottish Football will continue to self harm.



    And….fixtures. Jeez, we need to let this one go, folks. Some of the chat has been embarrassing. Our string of away games (Aberdeen, tfod, hertz, hibs) is exactly the opposite of last season, when we played these teams at home in the first and 3rd phase….and tfod had the away games against us, Hibs, hertz and Aberdeen.



    Anyways, time to move on and worry about Wednesday…:)




  25. boondock saint on

    I think Scales has been wonderful. He will always give you his all as he knows that one bad performance and he is replaced. When I was a wee bhoy, I had a soft spot for big Tam McAdam when he played for us, and especially when he was celebrating hanging onthe Hampden crossbar. Big Scalesy will do for me.

  26. Tom McLaughlin on

    24-hours later, Hearts management, players, supporters and the Scottish media moaning about a penalty awarded to Celtic, in a game Celtic strolled 4-1 and the penalty was missed.



    Only in Scotland.

  27. Bang on the money Paul.



    Only in Scotland do they think it’s a great idea to lose hundreds of thousands for no reason and only in Scotland do hit a whitey naismith and wee davie fae Bar L get a managers gig, then rant about decisions they don’t understand and have no qualifications to say they can actually do the job they are in.



    Hard to find a sponsor? You bet.



    All for one team in Govan, the VAR recordings should be a laugh.




  28. We are getting there with Brendan. Good to see the fans finally bury the daft hatchet.



    Chuffed for Iwatta yesterday.



    Matty O has proved me wrong and the humble pie is delicious.




  29. garygillespieshamstring on




    I’ve noticed that Celtic never seem to win a game on merit as far as opposition managers and msm are concerned.


    Always due to bad goals and poor marking by opposition, bad refereeing decisions, cheating by our players, misapplication of VAR or lucky breaks.



    I hope they keep telling themselves that for a long time to come.

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