If God didn’t want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep


Graeme Murty twice took Newco teams to Celtic Park, competed throughout and left with a point on both occasions.  It was not until a home 2-3 defeat in March, that his team fell apart.  We were promised this season’s Newco were clearly better than last’s, but there was no evidence of that yesterday.  Newco defended like Hamilton Accies did a week earlier and were no more effective.

I’m usually annoyed when a goal-scorer is awarded Man of the Match, as the goal often masks a superior performance from a team-mate, but Olivier Ntcham pulled the strings all game.  A year ago he was still finding his feet in Glasgow, you will remember a player nervous on the ball.  Two weeks ago I thought he should be rested, as his passing was neither crisp nor accurate, but he controlled this game throughout.

The goal was a masterpiece.  Tom Rogic won the ball on the edge of the Celtic penalty area, on one of the rare occasions Newco were up field.  The break was on.  So often players run into dead-ends when presented with half the field to run, but Tom twice made subtle changes to his direction, keeping the path ahead open.

The passes to Eduard, then onto James Forrest, were perfect, but Forrest’s awareness to pick out Ntcham between retreating defenders, instead of shooting, decided the contest.  It showed great intelligence.

While Newco defended manfully for most of the afternoon, it took one slip of concentration to decide the game.  Ovie Ejaria tracked Tom Rogic until the edge of the penalty area, but switched off while team-mates changed who they were marking.  Rogic was picked up by another defender, Ejaria stopped running, leaving Ntcham free.

When you hit the woodwork three times before you score, then again, with the score at 1-0, you would be forgiven for thinking that this was going to be ‘one of those games’, but this never looked likely.  Newco were so poor.  They came to defend deep, offering Celtic free possession out from the back.  In recent weeks Celtic have struggled to unlock teams who defend in this manner.  AEK, Suduva and Hamilton Accies each did well for long periods; I suspect Gerrard based his game plan on doing the same, but a little better.

Craig Gordon had little to do: a Morelos shot from a tight angle which flew straight at him, being the sum total.  That was in no small way thanks to the Belgian.  Dedryck Boyata was imperious, clearing everything in the air with ease and comfort.  I am glad to have him.

There was not a weakness, never mind a failure, in the team.  There is a long hard season ahead, and we will face greater challenges, but there is already a familiar feel to the season.  Newco are seventh in the league but now face a series of fixtures which should enable them to climb the table.  Both teams will compete domestically and in Europe until December, with Celtic players also having international duties during this period.  We have been here before and have the squad to get the job done.

Newco are light in experience and personnel.  They will not compete for the title and have yet to produce evidence of their credentials as runners up (imagine they hyperbole if they had Hearts’ start to the season!).  Why they continually loop into this fantasy about “the gap narrowing” is beyond me.  All they have done is spent more money for a result which their youth coach bettered.  Twice.  They present themselves ready for shearing each time.

“If God didn’t want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep”, Eli Wallach, from that other Magnificent 7.

A Match for Cancer, Petrov v Milner

We gather on Saturday to fund three organisations with their work on cancer: your Celtic FC Foundation, the Stiliyan Petrov Foundation and the James Milner Foundation.  The game will see the return of our own Magnificent 7, Henrik Larsson, as well as Lubo Moravcik, Artur Boruc, Paddy McCourt, John Hartson, Joos Valgaeren, Johan Mjallby, Robbie Keane, Owen Hargreaves, Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch.

It will also be an opportunity to see the magnificent Hristo Stoichkov, Luis Garcia and Gaizka Mendieta play for Petrov’s Celtic team. You can buy tickets here, only £14 adult, £6 for concessions. Or call the Ticket Office, 0871 226 1888.  Stoichkov, Mendieta, Larsson, Moravcik and McCourt, all doing their thing at Celtic Park, while Artur gets a chance to relive some antics from the past!  Treat yourself.


Click Here for Comments >

About Author


  1. !!BADA BING!! on 3RD SEPTEMBER 2018 7:40 PM




    Yes they are charging double what Arsenal are charging!!…talk about screwing your fans..£34 a match at 3 match discount prices…oh dear..must have some bills need sorting

  2. We have a good team but we have far to many players who are not of the required quality soaking up wages. however, saving grace is lots of players are out of contract at end of this season which should free up a significant amount of wages.



    Focus all energy from now till jan to identify and sign up 2 x centreback and 1 x rightback as will as getting forrest and ncham to sign up to new deals. Boyata if he wishes too!!!



    We could afford a better quality of squad within the current wage budget and we will never have a better opportunity to realise the quality over quantity mantra






    But they will get to see the whine masters galacticos chasing shadows for that price.


    Then the glorious aftermath as he blames refs with the endorsement of the mssm.


    Somehow think he may temper it down a little as i’m not sure UEFA will be as willing to bend over and take one for the cause as the SFA are.

  4. Huns getting ripped off for fun,



    Season Ticket £690


    2 Friendlies £26


    UL 1st Round £15


    UL 2nd Round £18


    UL 3rd Round £20


    UL 4th Round £25


    UL Group Stage £105 with 3 days notice


    Scottish Cup Ayr – TBC

  5. The good old BBC,still valiantly trying to debate the Celtic goal at 9.30 tonight.”Was it a foul on Jack”.


    Dear Lord.





    He elected to become a Bosnian international footballer, who has also represented Croatia but not at full level.



    Bit of a strange one that.

  7. TIMJIM on 3RD SEPTEMBER 2018 8:10 PM


    Is Jozo a Bosnian or a Croatian..





    Croat, he confirmed that today.

  8. i'vehadtochangemymind on

    Wife finished My Kitchen Rules Australia, puts Matchmaker Australia straight on . Hmmmm, what shall I do? Is there anything I could watch on youtube? Hmmmm. Oh, I know. LG and broonie winding the zombies up.

  9. VFR/Póg/AngelGabriel: Great to meet you at Coia’s for breakfast before the match yesterday.



    Also Great to see HamiltonTim & Minx88 at the corner.



    Thanks to Marspapa for delivering my ticket.



    Still grinning from ear to ear. And the hun boss wasn’t:-)




    Wife finished My Kitchen Rules Australia, puts Matchmaker Australia straight on . Hmmmm, what shall I do? Is there anything I could watch on youtube? Hmmmm. Oh, I know. LG and broonie winding the zombies up.





    I thought the lamb shank the girls cooked tonight was their best effort, however, it was clear that their Moreton Bay Bugs, both starters and the desserts were way below standard. The apple pie contained no pastry – it was a deconstructed crumble FFS! They’re going to Elimination House if you ask me…

  11. Hope Celtic are asking the SFA for clarification on the 4th officials role.


    If what the whiner said is true then Beaton’s credibility and impartiality are in serious doubt (never have been to Celtic supporters who have watched his refusal to implement the laws of the game on opponents v us.The recent Hearts game a prime example)


    Either whiner is a liar or Beaton should not be allowed to officiate in Celtic or Rangers games.



    No just sitting in a dark room with a blindfold and fingers in there ears chanting but we urr ra people


    and waiting for Neil Lennon to fart in public so they can cite him.

  13. mike in toronto on

    Is it just me, or did anyone else read the title of today’s article, and think, ‘Wow… p67 is finally dealing with how our Board treats the fans’? …?

  14. If you watch Edourd’s booking, you will see that in fact, he was fouled from behind by cocaine head.



    Jack, should be given the green-keepers job at Celtic. He spent so long rolling on the grass.


    What a sad, pathetic figure he is, feigning injury at every challenge.


    It is hilarious that the fans are banging on about wanting hard men to sort out the Tims. Hard men?


    Still, a big thanks to Jack for rolling out that other patch of grass as Rogic stormed down the field to set up the goal. Good man Jack, Stevie G must be so pleased.

  15. Fanatic


    I hope Celtic are today asking for clarity on the 4th official role, quoting Hun G comments


    Following up with a video sent to compliance officer, again with Hunny G comments




    Midfield done much better yesterday ?


    Think Griff should be pulling out of the international squad and focus on getting fully fit for the Bhoys


    Hopefully Simonuvic and Morgan will also be ready in 2 weeks, then Bitton next month


    Brendan also focus on having Ryan Christie coached as a No10, he is not a centre forward, but has the game ( intelligence) to be a no 10

  16. Mea Culpa, that grass has to be rolled, perhaps not by such a light weight though:-)


    Not very effective.

  17. Would also be focussing on coaching Jack Hendry at right back ? ( he did play there often for Dundee) Given we now have Benkovic into to support at CH ?

  18. Doc, was that 4th official not the same official who managed to get the 6 year old club a draw at Celtic park by judging Over the Hill tackle on Griff as fair, 2 seasons ago


    The one in last minute when he wiped Griff out not touching the ball

  19. I think Ollie has a clause in his contract that Man City insisted on that they can buy him back for £6m £8m £10m or £12m depending on what year of his contract he is on (if they so wished).



    That’s why we got him for £4.5m.



    Everyone played their part yesterday but James Forrest was sublime.




  20. Norrie- no time for international games but LG could use them to get match fit.Good to see Christie getting a run , will give him confidence, hope you’re on the mend HH

  21. Bada


    Agree games will help with match fitness – just not sure he is anywhere near fitness


    He was struggling last week when taken off against Suduva.


    I’ll be fully fit for next home game ???

  22. Fool Time Whistle on

    Really hope that Ryan Christie gets the full bhoona Rodgers personal coaching.



    12 months spent with another team will only have really kept him fit.



    He has the energy & skill set for our team – he just needs that Rodgers X factor thingie that CalMac got.