Neilson, Skovdahl, Starfelt, Rogic, Celtic deliver


Like you, for the most part, the football I have watched is mundane.  It is a necessary process towards an objective.  Last night was so different, I loved the game.

If you sit anywhere near me, there is a mantra you will hear whenever Celtic are well on top but not in the lead, “We need to score when are this dominant.”  You have seen the movie, good play is not always rewarded, and right now, we cannot afford to be on the end of a hard luck story.

By the time of Kyogo’s 33 minute goal, Celtic could have been well out of sight, but Hearts clung on.  Craig Gordon, the post and a multitude of faces and bodies got in the way of shots from dangerous positions.  Despite being behind, Hearts wasted time until 70 minutes, we mocked them, imagine wasting time when you are losing!

Credit to Robbie Neilson.  He knew his team could not cope with Celtic for any sustained period so sent them out to slow the game down, irrespective of the score, and wait to see if events would conspire to help them.  They did.

Tom Rogic and Carl Starfelt made their first appearance for over a month and James Forrest made his first league start in as long.  Rogic and Forrest were scheduled to be hooked when they tired.  Then events, dear bhoy, happened.  First Anthony Ralston limped off a few minutes after creating the goal.  Stephen Welsh put his leg in to block and took a blow with 20 minutes remaining, he left soon thereafter, but not before Jota pulled up with a hamstring injury.

Celtic’s subs were all used, Rogic, Forrest and Starfelt needed to find the energy to finish the game.  At this, Hearts stopped wasting time and started to look like a football team.  They dominated play until the closing minutes of the game.  In that time, they created good chances that could have seen them leave with a point, throwing our title campaign into more turmoil, but the defence held firm, Joe Hart was not called on to make a save worthy of the name.

Neilson could contemplate the words of the late Ebbe Skovdahl, who after a visit to Celtic Park with Aberdeen, with enormous clarity, quoted from a 40s Western, “The operation was a success but the patient died.”  Neilson did as well as he could, despite the loss.

Starfelt was a star.  A diving header 8 yards from goal, at an angle it was easy to get wrong and truly test Hart, was illustrative of his imperious performance.  That night at Tynecastle seems a long time ago.  Stephen Welsh continues to grow into the role of first team regular.  Anthony Ralston did what Anthony Ralston does – sends in crosses the like of which we have not seen from full backs in years.

Josip Juranovic got to play almost an hour at his natural right back position.  He is a player who will continue to flourish.

Although Carl won Man of the Match, my vote went to Tom Rogic.  Celtic have been particularly left sided in recent weeks.  Play went through Jota, by some margin our most creative force.  This is problematic, as opponents plan for this.  With Tom on the field, we could pivot away from our Portuguese, causing disarray in the Hearts defence.

All of that is a moot point for the games ahead, let’s hope Jota’s hamstring is better for the Cup Final.

I’m not one for writing about referees, as you know, but will touch on this tomorrow.


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  1. es, thought Big Tom was excellent after his lay off, not like him to bounce back right away, por cierto

  2. lets all do the huddle on

    “If you sit anywhere near me…”




    is that the section who sing



    get the brits


    get the brits


    get the brits in now




  3. prestonpans bhoys on

    69% possession conceded 12 fouls against 9 for hertz. We must be some dirty team, don’t think you’ll get those stats in any other league.

  4. Madden ‘managed’ the game, to make sure Hearts were still in it,


    Celtic 1 yellow card


    Hearts 0 cards



    Absolute joke

  5. I enjoyed it mostly, then I’m a grumpy eejit. The finishing could have so much better, take our changes apart from Kyogo and it was damage limitation for Hearts.


    As you are not going to write about referees today let me start.



    Madden, either incompetent or corrupt, you decide……



    “If you sit anywhere near me…”











    is that the section who sing







    get the brits





    get the brits





    get the brits in now














    More likely it’s the section that don’t support the political party who introduced, and fought to retain, The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012, to even up the score against Celtic fans.



    Lest we forget.

  7. Can’t believe Starfelt hasn’t scored yet. Unlucky with a header again last night. The snap shot vs Leverkusen at home was really unlucky

  8. Pingback: Neilson, Skovdahl, Starfelt, Rogic, Celtic deliver | Celtic FC News Now

  9. A 24-year old man has been arrested after Barrie McKay was hit with plastic bottle while being targeted by missiles thrown by Celtic fans.



    Don’t come back….

  10. Great to see Rogic being recognised. On his game, the best player in Scotland,



    Unfortunately when we do look to the bench we are lowering the standard quite dramatically. Changes often mean we are weaker finishing games.



    All the more reason for being more clinical with the regular first half onslaughts



    Our form is terrific. December though is our period of maximum danger.




    Injuries could do to December this season what Dubai did to January last. We must match Ibrox point for point this month and of course better them if possible – a very tall order in my book taking everything into consideration.



    To pick up a point from Paul – every domestic opponent we play attempts to slow the game and waste time. If we were not so profligate it wouldn’t matter a jot. The opposition’s box is akin to a bowling alley and we almost always hit the pins – blocks & deflections seem to stymie every attempt……so frustrating

  12. I am happy to see some team rotation being necessitated by injury and suspension. It happens every season and we are now in the thick of that season with regards to game frequency.



    I am happy to see some stars rested for the Betis game as the LC final is NOW more important. We will not have our Jnuary recruits available for this period so we have to see who can step up as starters and not just subs.



    Rogic has thrown his hat in the ring and Bitton did so too in recent European DM performances. McCarthy had the one decent game and I thought young Adam did really well last night. Abada has been quiet recently and Mikey has not shone (though he did make one very good slip pass last night and forged a good scoring chance that he screwed wide as Kyogo was in the way and offside (again?).



    Even the rarely tried- Scales, Ajeti, Giakoumakkis, Urogohide, Soro, Bolingoli and Shaw now come into play as bench options and Betis makeweights, For most of them this is a last chance saloon or a chance to impress a buyer. I would not write off the first season guys yet- it takes a lot to transfer from Venlo, Sheff. Wed or Shamrock Rovers and establish straight away ( no such excuses for AJeti, Bolingoli or Soro) BUT, if we recruit well in January, there is little point in over age players hanging around unwanted and they can then depart if they have not impressed.



    If our 3 injured players are out:- we can still proceed with






    Juranovic CCV Starfelt Montgomery



    McGregor Turnbull Rogic



    Abada Kyogo Forrest



    and we still have Bitton, McCarthy, Urogohide or Scales, Ajeti and Johnston to sub for tiredness, or injury. We also have Taylor and Karamoko on the comeback trail so there is cover dor positions.



    Whether it is good enough- only time will tell.



    Follow the Tony Ralston model and grab your last lifeline!




    To be fair, I don’t have a problem with the GB’s song book per se. My complaint about last night’s sectarianism was about a chant rather than a song.



    The “ORANGE B******” chant directed at the referee on 28 minutes to be precise.

  14. would have expected that we would have made additional subs when our 3rd injured player went off , think coaches /manager got caught out.

  15. General interest item, for those who might be interested.




    Some while back I linked to the brilliant twitter feed of OLD IRELAND IN COLOUR, the colourisation of 4 lassies in Bodyke in 1887.



    I just assumed it was one of those random pics, but sometime later I was back on the feed and there is a brilliant reason the pic was taken.



    Turns out 3 of the Girls are the O’Halloren sisters, somewhat famous at the time for defending their house from eviction, alongside Michael Davitt and the local clergy. This was in August 1887, 3 months before theCeltic were born in St Marys hall, and indeed Mr Davitt would go on to be our Patron and obviously met all the founders and Walfrid himself.



  16. We are a high intensity team that demands a lot of running and passing. We cannot complete a season depending on 15 or 16 players- those days are long gone.



    We have to see fringe and reserve players step up during this period. We are not unique – every other club is not playing their prefered 11 every week and we cannot afford to do this either.

  17. How can you say Madden is corrupt,fuck sake get a grip ,he in my opinion had a decent game ,there is worse ,our own kind ,do more damage to us ,as for the yellow card it was the right decision,As for that useless bunch of ignorant Green Brigade they need to be fenced in ,

  18. Tom McLaughlin on




    I knew your mocking of the Thatcher woman would incur the wrath of Ernie the Red Tory and prompt a response to a slur on one of his heros.

  19. Great to see Ange put the BBC hun in her place.


    As far as the Betis game goes, it’s a friendly, a dead rubber, call it what


    you like. NO regular first teamers should play. Get the Greek guy in the goal,


    get Ajeti on and guys like Scales and Boli playing.


    Getting an injury in that game would be unforgivable.

  20. Superbru Update



    I was premature in updating before the Celtic game which I had to watch on TV so had forgotten about it.



    It turns out that because Celtic won, it made little difference to the outcome for this week or overall ( though the one person, Jmccprmick, that got the 1:0 exact score moved up a few places-.



    So, ACGR was stilll this week’s winner, but with a healthy 11 points now, from Mick The Tim (9.5) and Celticrollercoaster (8.5). The picture at the bottom changes as nobody got 0 points, leaving last week’s winner, Auldheid, clear at the bottom with 1.5 points and getting the wooden spoon.



    In the overall competition, Call Me gerry has 94 points with Bhoy from the Village (not Villa, as I had him before) on 86.5 with Bateen Bhoy narrowly behind in 3rd.



    Botom overall is still wee BGFC but The Lurkin Tim and Chalmersbhoy are also vying for the overall wooden spoon.



    We have another deadline of tomorrow before 3 pm for the next round of picks. Some prizes will be dished out at the end of December. Good Luck and thanks for supporting.

  21. Old Ireland in Colour






    Nov 19


    Text is an excerpt from an account written by Frank O’Halloran, brother of the sisters Annie, Honoria and Sarah (pictured) with a fourth unidentified girl


    Frank’s grandson Jim has shared a photo of the medal presented by Michael Davitt to Honoria, and their grave in Hawthorne, NY



  22. from last blog



    Time for the standing section to be removed?



    all seated stadiums have been a waste on money , nobody apart from main stand, sits.

  23. Did I read that right: no Hearts player was booked? That Devlin should be done retrospectively, especially as he was caught smirking after trying to cut Kyogo in 2. As for McKay, while I have no time for any of those who threw stuff at him, he should have been carded in about the 2nd minute after he had a go at Ralston. The CH seemed to enjoy throwing his arms around Rogic in particular.

  24. St Stivs,


    I saw that great picture and an incredible story. I hope the following link works as it is an old man talking about an eviction he remembers when he was a young man. Hard to believe. He was interviewed in 1965 and he was born in 1858, 107 years old! His name was Michael Fitzpatrick




  25. SFTB @ 12:59


    “We are a high intensity team that demands a lot of running and passing”


    Really interesting point.


    I would suggest we should be (a slight variation from ‘we are’) whatever type of team our players are capable of being.


    I would hope our management team (ahem) are pragmatic enough to play to our collective strengths and are not idealists. This season, like last, is one for winners not dreamers.


    Hopefully, Ange can excel as chief scout and strengthen further in Jan.

  26. TIMBHOY @ 1:01



    I agree with all you say… except for this: “As for that useless bunch of ignorant Green Brigade they need to be fenced in” – I would gladly see them FENCED-OUT!!!

  27. Saint Stivs


    I meant to say he witnessed one of the Bodyke evictions, not that other evictions weren’t worthy of reporting and remembering!

  28. Tom McLaughlin on

    On Wednesday at Easter Road two live flares were thrown onto the pitch by Rangers fans. One flare landed only a few feet from the Hibs goalkeeper. Play was stopped to wait until the flares burned out and were safe to remove.



    All the while the commentator and co-commentator Andy Walker laughed and joked about it, obviously finding the whole thing highly hilarious.



    Contrast that to Walker’s “absolute disgrace” reaction to a couple of empty plastic bottles thrown from the GB section last night. Obviously no missiles of any kind should be thrown but the sheer hypocrisy of Walker’s reaction says it all.

  29. I think the Green Brigade are a brilliant addition to our support.



    They need to be engaged by our club, encouraged and nurtured.



    Now our Tory loving, Hun loving criminal board they should be chased, never to return.



    D :)

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