Movement, talent and that old antifascist


Hoary old phrases like, “Trophies are not awarded in February” will be heard today.  While this is technically true, let me add another, last night’s performance was Season Defining.

I worried before the game that our midfield would be too new for the occasion and too lightweight for the ‘robust’ opponents.  As it transpired, anyone in blue who intended to offer a robust and in-your-face derby baptism, were like statues, compared to Reo Hatate, Matt O’Riley and Callum McGregor.  For the majority of the game, Callum played the Masked Virtuoso No. 6 role, before moving to the No. 8 position, then ending at No. 10.  Quite a shift for a man carrying an injury.

Throughout the first half I continually said, “It’s all about the movement”, but then I watched Josip Juranovic and thought, “When did I last see a Celtic right back put in a performance like this?”  Yes, movement was the masterplan, but the reality is, Celtic have far better players.

Metrics detailing the effectiveness of shots from outside the box give you a sniff of what might happen when a player pulls the trigger from distance, nothing more.  Outcomes depend on your survey population.  If I shoot from 20 yards, one outcome will occur.  If Reo Hatate shoots from the same distance, another.  Reo’s conversion ratio from distance will surly drop, but goodness, what an outstanding threat he is.

With Cameron Carter-Vickers in front of you, a goalkeeper should put in a calm performance.   Joe Hart had a relatively easy evening, but with the score at 1-0, he raced from goal to smother a through ball which evaded the Celtic back line.  It was a crucial intervention, within minutes Celtic were 2-0 ahead and there was no way back.  Across a pulsating 90 minutes, this detail could be overlooked.  That would be an error.

The only goal I have seen back on video (so far) is the third.  Before watching, the question was, Where did he come from?  When Reo Hatate crossed from the left, Liel Abada was standing at Springfield Cross – believe me, I’ve watched it repeatedly.

You’ll hear people talk about having a change of pace. Liel started his run at a sprint, then, when it was too late for his defending full back to react, he dropped a gear and exploded forward.  Barisic, the full back in question, dropped to the ground, knowing the horrors he was about to witness.  It was too late to do anything else.  That change of pace brought Liel into the heart of the box unmarked.

The finish looked easy.  I remember Kenny Dalglish, who watched on from the stands, made the same thing look easy at Celtic Park.  It was not easy, it was masterly.  Leil met the ball on the drop volley and allowed the pace of his run to apply the necessary force to tuck it away.

At halftime, one of my sons held up his fingers in a ‘5’ gesture?  Oh, to be brought up in an era when we expect to score so many against the other side of the city.  Ange is too clever for that.  Four days earlier, Matt O’Riley got cramp during a game, Callum McGregor has been out with a serious face injury, Reo Hatate is still going through his preseason regime.  We started the second half intent on maintaining our winning lead, an objective delivered with comfort.

As we discussed, trophies are not handed out in February.  But to paraphrase that old antifascist, this is not the end of the Ange Postecoglou development plan for Celtic. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Enjoy your day.

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  1. Someone mentioned Tom English’s pre-season article about his beloved Rangers. ‘Orgasmic’ is how I would describe it:



    Rangers: ‘Domestic treble & Champions League run must be targets’



    By Tom English


    BBC Scotland


    Last updated on


    28 July 2021


    28 July 2021




    From the section






    Rampant Rangers won their first top-flight title in a decade last season with a 25-point margin and 100% home record


    The last time we saw Rangers in a competitive match – if you can call a 4-0 victory competitive – they were monstering Aberdeen on the final day of a league season that brought them the title they desperately wanted and needed.


    In the most emphatic way, they dynamited the chat about Celtic’s 10 in a row and sparked a debate of their own – how many titles can they win on the bounce and what represents the next level for them this season?


    With their stability and remarkable squad depth – in Scottish football terms – they’re holding every ace. They actually have two strong teams – one that would be hot favourites to win the league and a second that could well finish runner-up if they were given a shot at it.


    Where Celtic are struggling desperately for players, Rangers have, if anything, too many. George Edmundson has now left but at centre-half they still have Connor Goldson, Filip Helander, Nikola Katic, Leon Balogun and Jack Simpson. Experience, a bit of defensive dog and touches of class. That list is also an illustration of their numbers and it’s repeated throughout the squad.


    They have a battalion of midfielders, which has been supplemented by the arrival of the experienced Premier League player John Lundstram. At centre-forward they have Alfredo Morelos, Kemar Roofe, Cedric Itten, the everlasting Jermain Defoe and the intriguing Fashion Sakala, who scored 16 league goals for Oostende in Belgium last season and got one against Real Madrid at the weekend.


    * Malmo beat HJK to set up Rangers tie


    * Former Rangers player Dawson dies at 63


    * Gerrard praise for ‘exciting’ Sakala


    Rangers have just come through a pre-season campaign featuring a win against a Madrid team featuring Marcelo, Nacho, Isco, Lucas Vasquez, Martin Odegaard, Luka Jovic and Rodrygo.


    Steven Gerrard’s side won 2-1 despite starting without Morelos, Roofe, Glen Kamara, Joe Aribo, Nathan Patterson and the injured Ryan Jack. It might not have been a high-octane affair, but it was an eye-catching result.


    They also had a highly creditable draw against an Arsenal side that started with Cedric Soares, Emile Smith Rowe, Nicolas Pepe (£72m), Thomas Partey (£45m) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£56m). Kieran Tierney, Alexandre Lacazette, Willian and Hector Bellerin came on as substitutes.


    The Ibrox club played without Helander, Morelos, Borna Barisic, Ryan Kent, Aribo and Jack in that game. Their early-season form line is streets ahead of all others. Celtic, toiling horribly to get a competent goalkeeper and a defence worthy of the name in place, lost 6-2 to West Ham on Saturday.


    One league title should not sate Rangers. And it surely won’t. Gerrard might not say it publicly but a single trophy last season – albeit the big one – was an underwhelming return on their overwhelming superiority. They won the league by 25 points, they scored 105 goals in all domestic competition while conceding just 17, they won 74% of their games in Scotland and lost just 5%.



    Rangers fell to St Johnstone in the Scottish Cup after St Mirren knocked the Ibrox men out of the League Cup


    Those numbers reflect their dominance and yet they only had one trophy at the end of it. Given their momentum and personnel they should have had all three, but St Mirren did them in the League Cup and St Johnstone did them in the Scottish Cup – on penalties.


    Over five games against Callum Davidson’s team, Rangers won by a combined 9-2 last season. They played against Jim Goodwin’s side four times and won the head-to-head 10-3. The cup defeats were an aberration, a glorious one for Davidson, in particular, and his brilliant double winners.


    Celtic, in their now distant pomp, won four trebles on the spin. They were never caught the way Gerrard’s team were. They were too good, too resilient. A full house of domestic trophies has to be the target for Gerrard this time.


    Not just that. There’s Europe, too. This is a side that has had notable victories in recent seasons. They’ve beaten Braga, Porto, Feyenoord, Legia Warsaw, Midtjylland, Galatasaray and others. They’ve drawn twice – and should have won twice – against Benfica.


    They’ve now earned a shot at the Champions League group stage and all the glamour and pound signs that come with it. All of this is clearly within their grasp. More trophies at home and a place with the big boys in Europe – those are the next goals.


    We expected some high-profile departures from the club but none have materialised. Not yet at any rate. Rangers, through their managing director Stewart Robertson, have gone on the record about their need to sell a player or two to address their financial situation – they can’t keep relying on soft loans from supportive directors – but there’s no sign of a notable exit.


    They have numerous marketable assets on their hands and, in most cases, decent back-up. They’re in a good place even if they do end up selling Morelos, Kamara or Aribo. A ton of Champions League loot wouldn’t half alter the fiscal picture at Ibrox.



    Rangers have reached the Europa League last 16 in each of the past two seasons and now have their first tilt at the Champions League under Steven Gerrard


    There’s a debate ongoing about their new policy of charging the print media £25,000 for entry to the inner sanctum. It’s an odd one. Rangers don’t want to give away access for free, but there’s an obvious quid pro quo in doing so. Their sponsors derive value from the reams of coverage that newspapers give them. This is not a one-way street.


    If this is about their desire for extra money it would only bring in chicken feed in terms of revenue even if all titles were to go for it. In that sense there’s a touch of the car boot sale about it. Big clubs around the world don’t act like this.


    Gerrard has an opportunity to emulate Rangers’ city neighbours this season. A treble and a Champions League adventure has to be the target. They don’t have to win the league by 25 points again. They don’t have to go unbeaten in the Premiership. They don’t have to threaten any goalscoring or conceding records. The clean sweep and the European run is what it’s all about.


    Celtic are beginning a painful transition, Aberdeen, Hibs and St Johnstone are building and the hope is they’ll get some European loot to kick them on even further, but Rangers retain a massive advantage domestically and serious optimism continentally.

  2. Putting on a show. On and off the park.



    Magnificent setting and mesmerising 45 minutes, followed by a controlled second half.



    Total football, total entertainment and achieving our just rewards.


    No team can play 90 minutes in our first half tempo, subsequently a squad of equal calibre is vital.



    HH to all, what a fantastic journey.

  3. Tom English is clueless about how football is actually played. , he just writes a bunch flowery balderdash based on who is winning …. He has no clue as to how teams won … other than one team played better than the other ….



    You could go through all of his stuff and cut replace all with team names and players …. Still the internet needs to be filled up … somebody got to do it

  4. HOT SMOKED @ 4:11




    Like the listing of two teams – impressive….but it seem such a short time ago, just after Ange was announced, that putting together even a decent starting eleven was a real poser.



    What a transformation…and when the smoke(injuries & internationals) clears, we are looking at an unbelievably strong squad.



    After Edouard, Ajer & Christie went, and with Calmac signing a new deal, we were in the unusual position in having no obvious future saleable ‘stars’ in the squad. Now, with the Japanese boys, Riley, Jura & Abada, we have six who could, on the face of it, command hefty fees, if & when they move on. Not, of course, in the forefront of our minds after last night, but still very important to the club down the line.

  5. Big Jimmy from previous thread – Sorry pal I went into work early, I stupidly arranged meetings for today weeks ago and had to prepare…….I’m fecked noo right enough after a late night and usual early rise.



    BRRB and Big Jimmy let me know when in March you intend going out for a swally and I will hopefully make the starting line up. I would prefer a Friday afternoon right enough if possible.



    D :)

  6. DAVID66 on 3RD FEBRUARY 2022 4:55 PM




    I will let you know DAVID.


    I could murder a few Pints right now, but Im still not Fit enough to go out.


    Its daeing ma heid in !



  7. Matt or the Welsh Superstar?



    I huvnae ever played Professional fitba.



    Matt already is “absolutely” (Mcoists common phrase) Rinsing out the Style!!!



    Europe and Winning next years CL has to be the ambition.

  8. sceptical citizen on

    Tom English would probably be proved correct if the huns had the same manager now, as the the manager, Stevie G, who was in place when TE said what he said, because SG parked the bus against Ange back in August at Ibrox, and Ange could still be playing tonight against SG, or anybody else who parks a bus, and we’d be playing tippy tappy 20 yards out from goal, and we’d probably still not have managed to make their keeper make a single save. Ange isn’t alone in his naivety, a host of Celtic managers were sacked in the 1990’s coz they couldn’t get round a parked bus. Brendan was the same. What’ll Ange do if Motherwell park the bus?

  9. CaddingtonCommon on

    So zRamsey is now the best midfield player in Scotland ? He isn’t even the best midfield player at the bigotdome!



    What’ll Ange do if Motherwell park the bus?




    An injury-time winner will still get the 3 points.




    Don’t wish to be too cruel , but you sound even more clueless about goes on in a football park than Tom English …

  12. Tom McLaughlin on




    The stadium announcer must have read your recent comments on CQN. ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was saved for before, during and after the Huddle as you suggested it should be.



    What a wonderful spectacle last night’s game was, both from the players and the support. Exhilerating.



    Who’s gonna stop us now? Nobody.



    Let’s put motherwell to the sword and leave Rangers chasing a 4-point deficit.

  13. What a performance – when we play with that pace no one can get near us and once we have a full compliment fit and can manage the squad and playing time we will be at for 90 mins – that will be a sight to see.



    GG could and should have had at least one last night – he seems to steer the ball toward the target rather than strike it, getting in good positions which is positive.



    One very minor concern last night was how easy they were able to play through us in parts the second half – seemed a bit easy to get to the edge of our box. I love our attacking play and perhaps it is too much to expect to have a “close out” plan just yet but would like to see us learn how to squeeze a game out when required without be camped in our own box. That apart it was textbook – blast them early and knock whatever game plan the opposition has into row Z.



    Fair play to Jack, Goldson and Shagger who were the only ones to shake most hands last night whist the rest of the sprinted up the tunnel – particularly Capt Tavernier – PEN – dignity eh……….

  14. sceptical citizen on

    EKBHOY on 3RD FEBRUARY 2022 5:46 PM




    Don’t wish to be too cruel , but you sound even more clueless about goes on in a football park than Tom English …




    Aye good for you. 👍

  15. Only just got chance to read last 3 or 4 pages of live updates thread & of course this thread and the readback was a joy.


    However I know full well that the euphoria will not last long & players being lauded right now will be getting slated pretty soon.


    Just a few days ago we struggled to beat the Arabs, last night we looked magical,


    That is Football,


    I have been saying for months that the Huns will drop points in non Derby games, I am also saying that so will we,


    We had a nightmare with recruitment last year, we brought players in but individually & collectively they flopped.


    This year has been the opposite, every player brought in has contributed,


    We are in a good place right now and I believe the future is Green & White,


    However this League is still on a knife edge, we were not out of it, when we were 6 back, They are not out of it at 1 back,


    Enjoy last night to your Heart’s content, I know I certainly will but keep ye’re feet on the ground,


    2 points from last night,


    What was Madden up to at our first goal, he was talking to lino & seemed to be in Communication with someone in the Stand, Has he introduced his own version of VAR into Scotland,


    Was he considering ruling out goal, was it a Dougie Dougie rerun.



    Second Half, To a fair extent we ditched Ange Ball. We still had a bit of possession based defending but we also had Defenders defending in Traditional way. heading Balls out over the Touch Line and Booting Clearances up the Park.


    Was that a one off or are we going to become more pragmatic in defending leads,


    Must admit I actually enjoyed the defending but then again last night I would have enjoyed anything,

  16. sceptical citizen on

    EXPAT_CELT on 3RD FEBRUARY 2022 5:45 PM




    What’ll Ange do if Motherwell park the bus?




    An injury-time winner will still get the 3 points.




    Just like DundeeUtd last week. 👍

  17. p.s. I rarely agree with Kev, but the reality is an open game suits our style,


    I believe the Huns came to sit in but the early goal changed their plans.


    Breaking down packed defenses remains a problem and it will rear it’s ugly head in a number of the remaining games.

  18. outside local morrisons,



    2 old berz I recognise from their loyal bus.


    stauch one is, he is still wearing a decrepit poppy on his jacket, with a wee union jack and norn-iron flag badge.



    i decide to take my time to get the basket, wipe it down



    baric, no way back, trembling, no fight, shat it, thats what sums it up, said it before, they cant play in fornt of a hostiel crowd, hampden hibs first half allover, pittodrie and brown, even ross county , now this.



    i had my ear buds in.



    let out a laugh as if i was listening to something.




  19. half hour later, leaving the shop, its pouring now, the 2 berz are joined by a third younger with his young boy debecked in his strip,



    i heard



    gvb aint up to it, the game should have been played on original date, no fans, madden would have heard the clash of heads ………….




    wa wa wa



    i imagine its happening all over scotland

  20. prestonpans bhoys on




    madden would have heard the clash of heads ………….



    They are morons, there was no clash of heads more hand on his face.

  21. Big Jimmy – You get yersell on the mend.



    You will know when the time is right to venture out.



    D :)

  22. prestonpans bhoys on

    Oh surprise not a word about the game from Reporting Scotland and we pay for this, shocking

  23. Watching the game again. First ten minutes Callum McGregor really set the tone for us. A few tackles won and 50-50 early on between him and about 5 orcs. Won it and gave aribo a wee shove just after it. Fabulous stuff.

  24. fourstonecoppi on



    Oh surprise not a word about the game from Reporting Scotland and we pay for this, shocking



    STV was better..using words like ‘Rampant and thrashed’

  25. clyde phone in.



    Billy “ah wiz suprised that nobody gave mcgregors face a flick, just to test him out”



    Didn’t look like a clash of heads? Looked more like a forearm by aribo in a desperate leap.