Last week I suggested we were better with yesterday’s game over and done with, but I have to admit to thoroughly enjoying the occasion. It may not have been the derby of Old, but it had traces of familiarity from my youth, when managers Billy McNeill and John Greig faced each other.
I watched the game back on television last night. What an absolute pair of trumpets Warburton and Weir are! Weir was sent to the stand for demanding Mikael Lustig receive a second yellow card, despite not receiving his first. Warburton then explained this to the media, indignant that Lustig wasn’t dismissed for two yellows, still totally oblivious to the fact he hadn’t been booked.
Football’s hard. Referees make mistakes. But keeping track of who has been booked is remarkably simple. It was Nir Bitton, not Mikael, who was booked early in the game. Nir and Mikael have a similar, slight, build, but there’s 7cm between them, with different skin and hair pantones.
What does this tell us? That the Newco management didn’t know their opponents well enough to tell them apart, never mind how they would play. Remarkable, considering how often we’ve been on television this season.
Two weeks ago a Dundee United fan asked me what we’d done to Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven. Armstrong, he explained, was never going to make it as a wide player, he was effective for United through the middle.
I think we suffered for the loss of Tom Rogic, as Stuart edged himself into the occasion, but it may be Ronny Deila deployed him incorrectly.
Moments to cherish from the game: Moussa Dembele’s first touch to control Lustig’s cross at the fourth, and his reverse pass for Scott Sinclair at the third. You’ve not seen control and awareness like that from a Celtic striker in over a decade.
We’ll touch on the longer-term issues of yesterday at a later date, after we’ve got Barcelona out of our system.
The one thing we all wanted from yesterday was to come through the game without further injuries. Both Scott Brown and Tom Rogic, two of our central midfield three, retired early. I’m not going to tell you we’ll take anything from Barcelona on Tuesday, but having Brown, Rogic and Bitton in the team will allow us to at least face the game in decent condition.