Defending, drama, confidence and Polaris


Credit to Aberdeen and Celtic for offering up a classic cup tie at Hampden on Saturday.  You and I watch a lot of football, but we seldom get to enjoy two teams going at it from the first to last minute.

Aberdeen manager-elect, Jimmy Thelin, must have watched, wondering just how a team that can put in two hours football like that are sitting ninth in the Scottish Premiership.  We’ll leave him to ponder that one.

The game came alive in the second minute, when Cameron Carter-Vickers was caught square-on to the play, when he should have shifted his body shape to follow Bojan Miovski.  Joe Hart got a leg to the Macedonian’s shot but it wasn’t enough; Aberdeen had an early lead.

Central defender, Angus MacDonald, pondered on the ball, which was enough to encourage Kyogo to pounce and rob him of possession.  Bearing in on goal, Kyogo’s first forward touch was poor, which allowed Gartenmann to get a leg in front of the striker and block his shot.  However, Nicolas Kuhn was on hand to stroke the ball into an empty net.

James Forrest replaced Yang, who had struggled playing out of position on the left, on the hour mark.  Within three minutes James had marked his territory with a drive inside and shot, before repeating the feat and scoring on the second attempt.  Keeper Roos was unsighted and had little chance to make the stop.

On most occasions, that would be that, but Aberdeen had battled throughout and were not about to give up without a fight.  A goalmouth scramble saw a Junior Hoilett beat Hart but not Carter-Vickers, who blocked on the line.

The game peaked as it entered the 90th minute.  Hoilett, a 33-year-old Canadian international, created the best move of the afternoon.  He pitched a cross between a deep Celtic defensive line and the goalkeeper, which dropped into the six-yard-box in front of goal for Sokler to attack.  Brendan Rodgers will ask questions about the other two goals Celtic lost, but this one was a peach.

Aberdeen seemed to flag during the first period of extra time.  Connor Barron picked up an injury five minutes before the break in extra time but Aberdeen interim manager, Peter Leven, decided to hold off making a change.  As the first period entered added time, Alistair Johnston hit the bye-line and cut back for Matt O’Riley, who scored Celtic’s third and gave them a lead which most fans assumed would be decisive.

As play entered the second period of extra time, Aberdeen were without Barron and Miovski, their best two players, but they would not be denied.  In the last minute of extra time, Brendan Rodgers hooked James Forrest to put on an additional central defender, Maik Nawrocki.  Before the Pole settled, Aberdeen found space on the wing James Forrest had been working.

Celtic were playing five at the back, with Nawrocki to the right of the central defensive three, patrolling the box.  It didn’t work.  We had no pressure on the ball to stop the cross, and Nawrocki was caught in no man’s land, available only to block a low cross, when the ball went high.  Aberdeen’s stand-in captain for the day, MacDonald, made amends for his mistake at the first Celtic goal to send the game to penalties.

Who knew Celtic had six good penalty takers?  Idah, Palma, O’Riley, Bernardo, Johnston and Iwata all scored with ice-cool precision.  Three kicks were missed, the first, after Aberdeen keeper went over on his ankle, causing a lengthy delay before his team-mate, Ryan Duncan, was able to take his attempt.

Coincidentally, we talked on Thursday about the effects of a penalty taker forced to delay taking his kick.  It cost Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva against Real Madrid and proceeded Ryan Duncan’s kick against the post.

Joe Hart watched his former side against Real and saw their keeper, Ederson, score in the shoot-out.  I expect his motivation to take Celtic’s fifth penalty came from watching Ederson on Wednesday, not from weeks of meticulous practice demonstrating he was one of our better penalty takers.  Confidence is important in these situations, but not as important as practice.

The smile on Joe’s face after his miss was a coping mechanism.  He needed to demonstrate he was still in control to himself as much as anyone else.  He might not be a good penalty taker, but he’s an experienced professional.

14 penalties taken, 12 on target, the first 11 of which found the net.  Joe got his arms to Killian Phillips attempt to put Celtic into the final.

Occasionally, you will see losing fans turn and leave the moment the losing kick is made. On Saturday, both sets of fans remained to congratulate their sides on a performance which drained the public as much as the players.  This is Scottish football.

40 years ago there was a forward for Oldco who was known as ‘Polaris’, for his ability to dive like a nuclear submarine.   I don’t know if there was an unspoken understanding between John MacDonald and match officials, but to his credit, MacDonald at least did his work in an era before VAR.  How utterly stupid would you have to be to be faced with an open goal and crash to the ground, hoping for a penalty instead when VAR can review your act?  You wonder what Silva has been told about how life in Scotland works.

Fabio was offered around by Wolves in January.  It wasn’t just his £50k a week wages that turned off all but the most gulible, it wasn’t even his theatrics.  Fabio ended up where he did because of his ability.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4

  1. BRRB I recall Steve chalmers got a hat trick , Bobby murdoch scored too , sorry can’t remember who the other scorer was . I do remember it was a very cold day Though .

  2. After Saturday’s thriller he winning post is now in sight for the big cups just like Willie Mullins at Cheltenham , the final push now starting to loom large for Brendan and his squad. The match had everything the football fan could ask for, goals, last second equalisers, nil biting penalty shoot-outs, yes uncomfortable at times if you were a Hoops supporter .



    James forrest probably the most skillful player at Celtic and at 31 years of age still has an awful lot to offer and has the ability to turn a game with an instant piece of magic, probably a mistake to sub him for a defender particularly against a tiring Dons defence.

  3. Watched a bit of the Huns game yesterday as well as their usual speal they started singing Steven Naismith you a Wanxer, just wondered why ?……..Yet again it might have been the Hearts supporters !🤣

  4. Keeping everyone fit and getting Callum and Reo firing on all cylinders is my wish for the next month.



    Although someway short of a scintillating display on Saturday, it was clear that everyone give their all to get the result.



    Happy to see:


    Hart, Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor.


    McGregor, O’Rielly, Hatate.


    Kuhn, Kyogo, Forrest, as our starting eleven, with a bench of:




    Ralston, Nawrocki, Welsh.


    Bernardo, Iwata.


    Yang, Idah, Palma, Kelly, for the run-in.



    Sorry there’s no Maeda and keeping fingers crossed for Callum – Achilles injuries can be stubborn and confidence-sapping.



    A six match shoot-out awaits, almost like a Champions League group, three at home and three away. It is for sure a more testing and intense climax than we’ve been used to over the last twelve years.



    I was pleased to see Craig Gordon back in position, after serious injury, for Hearts in the other game on Sunday. He was a good for Celtic, and vice-versa.

  5. AT AND BRRB . Thanks guys it was Charlie gallagher . Imagine forgetting who scored a goal against them .

  6. Tom McLaughlin on




    My comment certainly wasn’t aimed at you.






    It’s very easy to post an opinion that is hypocritical when you post two comments that betray opposite values.



    I highlighted the opposite values in my post.

  7. Bhoyjoebelfast on

    Setting free….


    Yes. Steve Bruce.


    Re the 5-1 game. I wasn’t there but remember Wilson scoring at the Celtic end, and the bales of straw on the track

  8. ERATIC on 22ND APRIL 2024 6:33 PM


    Watched a bit of the Huns game yesterday as well as their usual speal they started singing Steven Naismith you a Wanxer, just wondered why ?…




    Astute sevco fans🤔 Didn’t Naismith walk away (like every other bugger) rather than tupe over to Sevco. Our game on Saturday was a thrilling 3-3 encounter, partly due to the fact that we have several Aberdeen level players. Hopefully, we navigate the remaining games before surgery during the summer.

  9. Tom McLaughlin on

    I remember the 1966 5-1 game on 3rd Jan. I was 12. My cousin and I went to the pictures in the afternoon. We came out about 6pm and saw a Gers fan walking towards us. I asked the score and when he told us I dropped my plastic cup of cola.



    Chalmers netted a hat-trick. Gallagher & Murdoch got the other 2.

  10. That 5-1 New year game is one of the few times I stood in the Celtic End. I think Wilson’s goal was just about the only attack they had. Mind, I couldn’t see the other end, which they attacked in the second half because of the fog.

  11. Opinions are the oxygen of a blog.



    The concept of a blog :-



    To Express ideas. Views, thoughts and opinion on a subject. To share information and to acquire or impart knowledge.



    Hail, hail.

  12. DAVID 66



    Prayers will be offered for Michelle.



    Hope your knee op comes around sooner rather than later. If you were an altar bhoy you can sue the Pope for the injury.




  13. glendalystonsils on

    15 year old me was also in the Celtic end for that 5-1 game . Old Rangers were hot favourites (as they had been for a rew years) . When they scored first their fans must have thought the points were in the bag but we didn’t miss a beat after that and went on to completely demolish them . It felt there and then as if a wonderful Celtic side was being born and a seismic change was taking place in Scottish football .

  14. Liam Scales in one of our best players this season.


    Took up the reins when CV was injured.


    Carried us through very difficult times, giving his all, week in week out.


    Was also excellent in Europe.


    His passing ” over the top” or ” down the channels” is second to none.


    Perhaps if Johnston and Taylor would stop giving time and space to their opponents and Joe Hart commanded the six yard box with a bit more authority, we would not be having such problems from crosses.

  15. to be honest our defending is criminal , and that goes for the back 4 , we are ok when teams back off and let us play from side to side and back , but heaven help us when teams press us and throw crosses into our box or play a long ball between our centre backs , clearcut required for next season or give others a chance.

  16. GREENPINATA on 22ND APRIL 2024 7:38 PM


    Opinions are the oxygen of a blog.



    The concept of a blog :-



    To Express ideas. Views, thoughts and opinion on a subject. To share information and to acquire or impart knowledge,with ONE moniker and not have a different moniker for every day of the week after chasing boats all day!



    Hail, hail.



    Der fixed it for you Gp :-))

  17. Good evening all.



    Thank you everyone for your kind words, it’s greatly appreciated.



    Keep the faith, there is always hope, I’m living proof.




  18. Agree that AJ is as much to blame as Liam Scales for allowing the cross, however, the crosses were not whipped in with any great pace and should have been cut out by Scales at the back post. His positional sense is very poor and he has been off form for a while now. Rocky deserves a chance.

  19. Scales a bit at fault for the 2 goals,but the guy who had the best chance of averting the goals,was Joe Hart.A cross from the touch line,over to the back post,3 yards out,has to be at least punched clear by the keeperThe ball,traveling too far ,to near the goal for the keeper to remain on his line.Not the first time in his Celtic career.Quite a regular occurrence.Never been his strong point.We lose so many goals from close in headers.


    They were 2 wonderful crosses,curling into the goal,a nightmare for defenders,on the back foot.You need your keeper to help.Not a moan,you see it happening every week,all sorts of mistakes made by defenders,keepers.Strikers missing sitters.Thats football.


    Onwards to Dundee and 3 points.Not sure about that mob,Saints a different animal at Love St,than Hearts.

  20. Seen various pictures of the VAR decision in the Man U game today,and I am none the wiser.Looked as if both players were in line going by those lines.


    My biggest moan with the VAR lines,watching on TV it’s impossible to tell with the bawhair decisions.The close up today in the Media,proved nothing.

  21. glendalystonsils on

    TURKEYBHOY on 22ND APRIL 2024 9:07 PM



    Couldn’t agree more . The two far post goals were not the blame of any one player , sure, Johnston could have done more to stop the cross , while Scales was flat footed and seemed unaware of the danger behind him . But having watched and rewatched those goals on tonight’s teatime news , Joe Hart could have got a fist on both those crosses .

  22. Dear Cqn.


    A round up given over tonight by good Celt


    MarcCRC.Monies raised by cqn’rs old and new towards a wreath and charitable donation in thw name of Brian McGinley,known to us as poster Ron Bacardi


    wreath -£150


    charity cont – £161.70



    Total raised £311.70.



    Well done all and God Bless Brian Mc Ginley known to us as Ron Bacardi.Rest in Peace good Celt 💚🙏



    Hail Hail and Thanks

  23. BRRB



    Certainly is,and a lot donated independently,hope the team go on a win this league for his memory,God willing a glass will be raised on the final day.




  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4