Middle of the park truism


Memories of the 1998 title win, 25 years ago today, last long in the mind. An early goal should have settled the nerves, but a torturous afternoon lay ahead, before the second goal settled one of Celtic’s most important ever victories.

Somehow, I doubt we’ll remember much of Sunday’s 0-2 win at Tynecastle a couple of decades from now. In the opening 30 minutes, Hearts unsettled Celtic more than any side in domestic football in well over a year. The defence stood firm, while we worked out how to get the ball forward, it was the middle of the park where it all went wrong. We’re all concerned about this, right?

There is a perennial truism in football, Celtic need to be robust in the middle of the park when going to Ibrox. On Saturday, we cannot go with Reo Hatate, who is still to reach full fitness, and Matt O’Riley. Ange has various options, but Aaron Mooy and Callum McGregor will both surely start, perhaps with Tomoki Iwata.

Early weekend prediction: media attention at Newco’s remarkable run without conceding a penalty will result in a penalty awarded against them on Saturday. The game is meaningless and they’re getting a bit embarrassed.

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  1. fieldofdrams on

    I thought to myself last night that there will be a penalty against the Huns as ‘evening up’.



    I’d go with Calum and Mooy on Saturday plus Iwata. Kobayashi is bound to start and thankfully he came on to a decent second half against Hearts, hopefully that settled a few nerves.

  2. CONEYBHOY on 9TH MAY 2023 11:59 AM


    THE ONLOOKER on 9TH MAY 2023 10:33 AM


    The time to upgrade the stadium was during Ronnie’s time, when our attendance dropped to 40,000 and we closed the top tier behind the goals.


    We have 8-9,000 in the south stand, … including myself ,where would they go whilst the work was carried out?


    Maybe us South Standers can go back to Hampden for a season…to watch Queens Park. 😀


    The Onlooker




    If we didn’t give any away tickets, would they fit in Rangers end SE corner? Rangers used to get 7000 there plus a load of seats are blocked off for security.







    Might just squeeze in with a few seats in corpy given away too!

  3. Reo was awful and unfit in the semi final against Sevco but he was much improved on Sunday versus Hearts. He did make errors vs Hearts but was also influential in our attacking play, assisting in the opener and coming close to scoring.



    Iwata has proved tidy and safe in his play so far and I have high hopes he can kick on but Rio is our leading POTY and a proven hunskelper. He gets us up the park in a way that Iwata cannot yet do.



    I think it would be a mistake to drop the proven crew for this match. The final 3 matches offer opportunities for Iwata and others.



    I’d go with






    Ralston Starfelt Kobayashi Taylor



    Hatate McGregor O’Riley



    Maeda Kyogo (if fit) Jota



    one more time

  4. The current just about fit Mooy was badly missed in the 1st half on Sunday.


    It has to be him, McGregor and one other for the Sevco match,

  5. My team for Sat





    Ralston Starfelt Kobayashi Taylor


    O’Reilly McGregor Hatate


    Jota Kyogo Maeda



    Subs: Oh for Kyogo, Abada for Maeda (switch wings), Iwata/Mooy for Hatate/O’Reilly



    same as last weekend but keep Jota on the pitch

  6. Just about recovered from Sunday..


    Big thank you to Tom McLaughlin for inviting myself & Andy to watch the title win in Kitty O’Sheas in Edinburgh. Thanks also to Brian McLaughlin & BRRB for their company… always a pleasure meeting fellow Celts & even more enjoyable celebrating with them. Cheers guys.






  7. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    25 years!!! Way to make someone feel old.



    I finished up in The Canton Express. Absolute bedlam.



    Agree re. the weekend. I said it during the semi-final. Our midfield were second to everything and chased shadows all afternoon.

  8. The fact he started the semi final after being our or 6 or so weeks tells me Reo is Ange’s go to man. He’ll start Ibrox.



    I’d personally like to see Iwata start. It’s a great opportunity to assess him. We know all about Reo, Matt and Mooy.

  9. Anyone think with the league over and no away fans our intensity will be the same as usual? When there is genuinely nothing at stake, do you expect to see the team playing as if the three points are vital?



    I suspect we will lose, despite getting a penalty, and none of us will lose any sleep over it.

  10. The Onlooker on



    I will lose sleep if we don’t turn.



    2007 Walter Smith returned to DeadCo, they were 17 points behind when PLG was sacked.


    Rangers won the final Derby ( a meaningless game) at Celtic Park because we lost focus.



    However we still won the league by 12 points, but believe the win gave them a crumb of comfort…. .



    The following season they finished second again , but only by 3 points. … perhaps if they had not gone to final of UEFA they may have won.



    The next season we lost the league to them by 4 points.



    We should treat Saturday’s game just as important as the semi final.


    Give them no hope.


    Break their spirit.


    Put the hose down their throat.


    Hammer them so badly that the final whistle echoes around an empty stadium.



    The Onlooker

  11. the long wait is over on




    “Early weekend prediction: media attention at Newco’s remarkable run without conceding a penalty will result in a penalty awarded against them on Saturday. The game is meaningless and they’re getting a bit embarrassed.”



    I agree , in part.



    Penalties will be awarded against them in the remaining games but just not Saturday unless they are 3 up and it’s the final minute.

  12. Rangers won’t get a better chance of beating us with Ccv and Aj out…



    Our drop off of intensity and form since the second half of the Kilmarnock game has been noticeable.



    Kobayashi hasn’t convinced me he could be a regular next season…….



    A win on Saturday would be amazing.

  13. We don’t play for penalties; even when in the box we try to keep the ball. Oh is the only one who seems to look for it.



    I think their line up will be a factor too. Morelos can’t play after what has been said this week. Kent is off so probably not a starter. Tillman crocked.



    should be pretty toothless up front but also they will be playing for penalties even more

  14. Given the large turnover in their squad this summer, I can’t see Saturday meaning too much in terms of putting down a marker for next season.



    I assume Morelos will not be playing having being hung out to dry by Beale after Aberdeen.



    In the past, we’ve gone to Ibrox as champions having been on the beer – we went to Dublin under BR after winning the League and went to ibrox and got beat some days later.



    I don’t think Ange has sanctioned any parties after Tynecastle so I assume it’s been training as usual this week.



    We’ve nothing to fear from them. Having rewatched the semi final a few times now, I can’t remember a more toothless rangers side.

  15. The Onlooker – I agree with your sentiment but when players are 100% focused on winning titles and trophies, and they have achieved it, then I suspect the intensity of the players’ commitment may drop off.



    On the other hand, maybe having won the title the pressure is off us and the players feel more relaxed and we actually play better.



    This is Beale’s last chance to get a result so I expect plenty of intensity from them with Lundstrum, Cantwell, Goldson and Barisic putting in meaty challenges early doors. We will find out quickly if we are up for the fight or got an eye on the Cup Final and Ibiza.

  16. Saint Stivs on

    these things barely raise an interest to me, but it would take some sort of mental gymnastics to come up with a team that justifies Tillman (invisible against us_) and Taveneir (utterly shite defender) into the PFA team of the year.



    Seriously NO JOTA, wtf do these players vote for.



    The PFA Team of the Year in full:



    Joe Hart (Celtic)



    James Tavernier (Rangers)




    Carl Starfelt (Celtic)



    Cameron Carter Vickers (Celtic)



    Greg Taylor (Celtic)



    Callum McGregor (Celtic)



    Reo Hatate (Celtic)



    Malik Tillman (Rangers)




    Duk Lopes (Aberdeen)



    Kyogo (Celtic)

  17. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Just about recovered after a severe mauling by a dead sheep earlier……

  18. Greenpinata on

    Paul 67,



    What a perfect opportunity to try something new on Saturday.


    A hostile atmosphere for a game that is really a dead rubber.



    Interesting to see Real Madrid and Manchester City tonight. We were not outclassed and we showed we belong.




  19. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    An Dun 2:14


    Don’t think Dublin was under BR?


    Anyway, agree about the here and now – it will be business as usual under Ange. He’ll want to win every game regardless of the league having been won. Haven’t been at our absolute best lately – he will be looking to put that right. No let-up!

  20. An Tearmann on

    Good afternoon



    I look for nothing of identitycrisis fc other than a Celtic win.


    A guard from the shambles….na no thanks.


    Honour is not something associated the cheating hatred of the two club crap out.




  21. bournesouprecipe on

    Most people in Scotland know that Sevco never went for and got ‘the 55 ‘ Childlike world record’s and world’s most successful clubs are never attributed to anyone other than by the Huns about themselves.



    Highly unlikely Celtic would join in the trashy made up sloganery that emanates from the barren wastelands of a support of paralysed people that did nothing to save the original club Acknowledgment of imaginary records gives credence to be club nonsense.



    It’s another glorious Celtic summer and civil unrest elsewhere, permanently left waiting on the Rainjurz.

  22. I think Ange will play Reo at Ibrox. I’m tempted to say we should play the reserves, but we really don’t want to give them a sniff of a win. The boys should be able to play like champions – we have nothing to prove. Get hold of the ball and keep it as long as possible at every opportunity. It would be fun to see Ibrox empty before the final whistle.

  23. Saint Stivs on

    I would be tempted to give Oh a start, give KF a wee rest.



    Did Callum not mention they wer eback to training on Monday already ?

  24. Saint Stivs on

    anyone going to the Japan games ?



    prices just in.



    E-Tims Retweeted


    🍀Nobu Yamanaka”nobubhoy”🍀🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇯🇵








    Here’s price sheet for Marions x Celtic game.


    Rate 1GBP=170JPY


    Special Seat: £176


    Category 1:£109


    Category 2:£88


    Category 3:£56


    Category 4:£41


    Under 15:£21


    quite expensive!

  25. leftclicktic on



    I was surprised Duk never claimed anything


    Will we see him turn our in blue at the hate factory next season.

  26. Anyone thinking that we won’t be up for Saturday,must have cloth ears,or just not been paying attention to what the manager has been saying since the day he walked in the door.He has already stated,the rest of the games are must win.Players will be playing for their places in the final.We also have records to beat.Anyone really think he wants to give this mob a win?He knows what will be sprawled over every sports page if that happened.Ange is proud of this team.


    Just in case anyone missed it



  27. bournesouprecipe on

    From club mascot, to club referee.



    Saturday for Steven McLean whom Rainjurz TV were proud to announce as the club mascot when Steven was a wee boy.



    Brass necked bawbaggery only available in Scotland.

  28. I think we will definitely get a penalty on Saturday.



    It’ll be in the 94th minute.



    The huns will get three penalties in the first half. We will also have two players sent off, Joe Hart in the first ten minutes and his replacement five minutes before half time.




  29. Agree regards the midfield over the last few games . Sevco game in the semi they over ran us in spells , hearts the same on Sunday , my midfield would be Callum , Hatati , and Mooy or Iwata . MOR would be nowhere near the starting 11, a fair player no doubt ,but too soft for games like this . I seem to be the only poster who thinks it’s time we had a presence in midfield , us old yin’s know , we were lucky to see Bertie auld , Bobby murdoch ,and Davy hay ,the quiet assassin . HH

  30. boondock saint on

    I just read an articel about unacceptable behavior and 6 arrests at the merchant City last year when Celtic won the league. Did the Polis ever publish the amount of THE Rangers that were arrested in George Square a few years ago????

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