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The bully who picks on mental health issues

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After last night’s game at Rugby Park, Sky Sports’ Kris Boyd criticised Leigh Griffiths for not featuring in the majority of Celtic games since Brendan Rodgers arrived at the club in 2016.  Two months into that period, injury to Leigh allowed Moussa Dembele a chance to lead the line.  Moussa is the best striker to play in Scottish football for 15 years.  There is no shame in being unable to dislodge the man currently watched by Chelsea and Manchester United.

Three months after Moussa left, Leigh made a short statement to say he had mental health issues and needed to take a break from the game.  He has been fit to play only a small number of weeks since.

There is no shame in this absence either, in fact, the whole of Scottish football commended Leigh for opening up about the subject and taking the necessary steps, instead of trying to bury the issue, inducing further trauma.  Post-match, Kris Boyd tried to shame Leigh for his appearances stats since Brendan’s arrival.

Boyd lost his brother to suicide in 2016 and setup The Kris Boyd Charity two years later to raise funds for and help those suffering from mental health issues.  It is inconceivable that he did not know why Leigh has missed the majority of games since December 2018, or the struggles he had leading up to that time.

I would not tread on his grief, or question why he started the charity, but he has to make a choice: be the bully, who picks on those with mental health issues, or be the one who helps.  He cannot be both.  Some humility today would be in order.

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  1. Good morning friends and a Big Happy Friday from a mild but wet and gloomy looking East Kilbride. Not long now till the weekend and one that features a Saturday 3pm home game; it’ll never catch on. Our opponents, Ross County then travel back down on Wednesday night to play at Ibrox. So I suppose there’s the chance of comparing our performance with that of our current closest rivals.

     

    I’m anticipating a few changes in our starting 11. But as long as we continue with our recently adopted ‘2 up top’ formation then I really don’t mind which particular personnel fill the 11 jerseys.

     

    One more sleep (though not for quite a while yet) ;-)

  2. It appears that Celtic FC MAY have complained about Boyd to Sky ?…..

     

     

    Celtic rage at Kris Boyd as club contact Sky Sports demanding answers for Leigh Griffiths rant

     

     

    HH

  3. SFTB..

     

    I read your Post about offering your Seat for the Ross County game tomorrow, and I thought about your kind offer as I was on the Celtic website a couple of Days ago and thought about buying a Ticket , but I then had a reality check as I am not well enough to travel anywhere, due to ongoing health issues.

     

    I wouldnt be able to sit thru 90 minutes without causing myself grief.

     

     

    Hopefully I will be much better after my Operation…and be able to attend Celtic Park before this season ends ?

     

     

    HH

  4. ADVICE NEEDED ….

     

     

    I use a Desk Top Computer which runs “Windows 7”.

     

    Ive been advised Online that my Windows 7 is no longer “supported” and is out of date ( A bit like myself ?).

     

     

    Is it possible to upgrade my current PC to Windows 10…and if so “How Much”….I do know of an Excellent English Company who sell Refurbished PC’s…….would it be best if I just bought one. My current Desk Top was purchased from them about 18 months ago, so I know they are a reliable firm.

     

    HH

  5. I wonder IF its only a matter of time before “Experts” like Fat Sally and Alex ” QUARK” Rae come out in support of their Hun pal Boyd ?

     

    Then again, maybe not as I can imagine those Two Hun Chumps talking themselves into trouble if they were asked for their “Expert” views ?

     

    HH

  6. And if you can’t get Windows 10 for free, don’t pay the cost from Microsoft. You can get a licence for around £10 shopping elsewhere.

  7. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on

    TinyTim

     

     

    Thought the same during the game. Probably costing themselves a decent 6 figure sum over a couple of matches against us and Sevco, money which could be used to improve their squad or youth development or some other useful project.

     

     

    Their call.

     

     

    HH

  8. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    BIG JIMMY

     

    It may be possible to run Windows 10 on your current PC, but it may run very slowly and it is likely your current PC will soon be unusable for most modern Programs or Apps. Obsolescence is planned, it’s a con, but in the medium to long term it happens.

     

    What do you use your PC for? If it’s just for browsing the web, emails and watching Celtic (or other tv), then I would suggest a tablet would be of better use for you. I got a brand new Samsung one for Mrs H (to update the Kindle I bought her about eight years ago, and was becoming obsolete) for £150, and I am sure there will be even cheaper new ones available. So far it seems great, HD screen, pictures look great on it, tv great. She is well chuffed with it and I must say, it seems to have everything that my own much more expensive iPad has.

     

    I am sure some peeps on the blog, may have even better or cheaper options.

     

    Cheers

     

    🍀⚽️

  9. Thanks to all for the computer advice. My present computer is slower than a Tax Rebate…..again a bit like myself these days.

     

    I wouldnt know how to buy a Windows Licence, and as HUNDERBIRDS has posted, my present PC may not run Windows 10….again what do I know LOL ?

     

    ……

     

    HUNDERBIRDS….I have tried a Tablet before and it was okay, but I much prefer sitting at a Desk Top PC.

     

    HH

  10. weebobbycollins on

    I’ve always disliked the lambskin apron…however, I don’t have to wear it to become a mason…

     

    The masons are allowing vegans to join…so I don’t have to wear the apron…

     

    a forward thinking organisation…

     

    What about the goats?

  11. Good article by Kieran Devlin in The Athletic today, about Odsonne Edouard –

     

     

    Pierre Reynaud, Paris Saint-Germain’s head scout, was on his way to watch a match involving Lilas FC, intending to cast his eye over a promising prospect starting for the Saint-Denis amateur team. The match was abandoned after heavy snowfall.

     

     

    “I saw there was another game on a neighbouring pitch,” Reynaud tells The Athletic inside PSG’s head offices, a 20-minute walk from the Parc de Princes. “It was (AF) Bobigny, and there was a younger boy playing for them who I noticed straight away. I asked the coach about him, and he replied that his name was Odsonne Edouard. I thought, ‘OK, I think we’ll follow him…’”

     

     

    It took two more years but eventually PSG invited Edouard, who scored his 17th goal of the season against Kilmarnock on Wednesday with quintessential poise, to participate in some tournaments. “Very quickly he seduced everybody at the club,” says Reynaud. “We proposed to him a long-term project, pretty much up to the age of 18, and that’s what we outlined to him.”

     

     

     

    Edouard joined PSG in 2011 at the age of 13. Some of his best attributes as Celtic’s talismanic striker were already evident, according to Reynaud. Technique, inventiveness, the coolest composure.

     

     

    “He was already very different to players of his age,” says Reynaud, a former PSG midfielder. “He was excellent in front of goal. He didn’t tend to blast it; he placed it, side-footed it, and his reading of the game was excellent. He always looked to see where the goalkeeper was before shooting, his quality of finishing was rare for someone of that age and he was very two-footed.

     

     

    “He adapted very quickly, he had a great relationship with his teammates. As he grew in confidence, he felt at ease but always retained humility.”

     

     

    Edouard accelerated through the youth teams. He was absurdly prolific, scoring 25 goals in 22 appearances for PSG’s under-17s in the 2013-14 National Championship, then 22 in 14 the following season. In 2014-15, as well as embarking on his under-17 duties, he represented the under-19s aged 16. He scored seven in ten games playing in the older age group, including in the UEFA Youth League.

     

     

    Despite these impressive numbers — which earned him the nicknames “The Rocket” and “Magic Odsonne” from his team-mates — the club’s biggest criticism of Edouard’s development at this stage was a lack of ego.

     

     

    “Maybe he could have been more selfish in front of goal,” argues Reynaud. “The club expected him to progress, they wanted him to score and make assists, which he increasingly did. He trained excellently here at every level.”

     

     

    In 2015-16, Edouard’s last season in PSG’s youth teams he appeared for the under-19s, their Championnat de France Amateur (CFA) side (effectively PSG’s B team) and won the 2015 Titi d’Or award for PSG’s academy player of the year. Inspired by his three goals and two assists, PSG reached the UEFA Youth League final, losing 2-1 against a Chelsea side featuring the likes of Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori.

     

     

    edouard celtic psg chelsea youth

     

    Edouard battling with Chelsea’s Mukhtar Ali during the 2016 UEFA Youth League final in Nyon, Switzerland. (Photo: Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)

     

    In the spring of 2016, only recently turned 18, Edouard signed a three-year professional contract with PSG. In 2016-17 pre-season he made fleeting appearances for the senior side, scoring against Leicester City in an International Champions Cup game, but didn’t quite look refined enough yet to begin pushing for first-team contention on a regular basis.

     

     

    “He looked a little out of his depth at the start,” says Adam White, a journalist who covers PSG for Get French Football News. “A little intimidated, and that came across in those very brief outings.

     

     

    “He was one of those players that needed a loan, needed gametime. At PSG there was a bit of a bottleneck there. It was very hard for youth players to break through at all. He’d shown promise in the youth ranks and had some minutes in the friendlies but there wasn’t much room for him as a squad player.

     

     

    “He and a few others like Moussa Diaby and Christopher Nkunku (who have since moved to Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig respectively) were highly rated but there was just no place for them. His talent was obvious, but it seemed unlikely he could come back. As a teenager you can’t be expected to come in and set the world on fire.”

     

     

    Edouard went on a season-long loan to Toulouse in August 2016 — the same transfer window in which Celtic’s Christopher Jullien, a player Reynaud says PSG had scouted previously, joined the French side. The previous season Toulouse had narrowly skirted relegation, avoiding the drop in the final match, but they started 2016-17 well, beating both PSG and Monaco.

     

     

    Edouard was peripheral to these successes however, struggling to enter the starting XI and only managing 666 minutes on the pitch during his entire spell, with a single goal for his efforts.

     

     

    “Again he looked quite intimidated,” says White. “There were flashes. He was obviously talented and a good finisher and those things occasionally showed up but he still looked a little overawed.”

     

     

    Towards the end of the season he dropped out of the side completely and his loan was terminated abruptly in March 2017. Edouard was interrogated by police after a passer-by was injured in the ear after being shot by a BB gun from a car bearing his number plate. He was handed a four-month suspended prison sentence and a €6,000 fine in July 2017.

     

     

    edouard celtic court psg

     

    Edouard speaks to his lawyer Pierre Le Bonjour before a court hearing in June 2017. (Photo: REMY GABALDA/AFP via Getty Images)

     

    “This served me a lesson,” he said in a 2018 interview with French magazine Onze Mondial. “At that time, I was still very young. Today I moved on. But it helped me to mature and grow in life. I was able to become aware of quite a few things. If it hadn’t happened to me, I might not be at Celtic today.”

     

     

    Edouard’s time down south had been unsuccessful but his parent club and Reynaud were unperturbed. They felt a second loan spell might be productive and, on the final day of August in 2017, Edouard joined Celtic. It’s been quite the two and a half years since.

     

     

    He formed a thrilling partnership with his compatriot Moussa Dembele and has scored an array of crucial goals in Glasgow derbies, European games and cup finals, wracking up 48 goals and 26 assists so far. His permanent transfer fee broke Celtic’s record at £9 million and he was named in UEFA’s “Fifty for the Future” list this month. An unimposing squad player has evolved to become Celtic’s best striker since Henrik Larsson.

     

     

    “His entourage preferred another career plan for him rather than staying at (PSG) patiently,” Reynaud says of Edouard’s permanent move to Glasgow in the summer of 2018. “Every weekend I do a European tour of all our old players. I keep an eye out for Celtic. The first thing I look at is the score, and the second thing is if Odsonne scored, which he usually does.”

     

     

    Edouard was born in Kourou, a commune in French Guiana on the north-eastern tip of South America, but he moved to Bobigny, a north-eastern suburb of Paris, with his family shortly afterwards.

     

     

    Bobigny’s population is predominantly working-class with a large proportion of ethnic minorities, and 30 per cent of the town’s population in 2016 were documented as first-generation immigrants. It has a reputation as being impoverished and “tough”, particularly within the government housing tower blocks.

     

     

    edouard bobigny celtic

     

    (Photo: Kieran Devlin)

     

    These lofty towers penetrate Bobigny’s sky, with the curves of the Stade de France visible to the west from the higher floors. Closer to earth is a medley of 1970s architecture; of concrete shopping malls and schools, with the triangular town hall nestled within its centre.

     

     

    On the outskirts, surrounding AF Bobigny’s ground and clubhouse, are densely-packed rows of detached housing. In the streets linking them Edouard fell onto the glass of broken car headlights while playing football as a kid. He gashed open his hand and needed 13 stitches.

     

     

    Visiting Mamadou Niakate, Academie Football Bobigny’s club president, in his offices within the town hall, it’s apparent just how entrenched the sense of community is here. Everyone who passes through the town hall lobby seems to know everyone sat on a sofa waiting for a meeting, and schoolchildren behind the front desk wind up police officers passing through. A cafe five minute’s walk from the town hall is a din of workday lunch break animation, as customers cordially share tables and conversation (and wine) with strangers.

     

     

    Niakate vows Edouard has “the humility of Bobigny”; that his empathy and closeness to his family and childhood friends are characteristic of the place he grew up. The player may be thriving in Glasgow but he still a child of Bobigny, a Balbyniens.

     

     

    Niakate has known Edouard since he was 10 when he assumed the role of club director, four years after the player had joined his local team aged six. They still keep in touch over WhatsApp and “speak often”. Edouard always arrived at training with his mother and sister and also remains “very close” to his family, Niakate says.

     

     

    “It was very obvious how talented he was, he was the best player at the club from the start,” Niakate adds. Asked about his best assets, Niakate immediately echoes Reynaud: “His movement and calmness in front goal.”

     

     

    Niakate remembers a time when the club lost Edouard at “a big tournament”. “When we tried looking for Odsonne at the pitch for the important game we couldn’t find him,” he says. “People were getting very worried he was lost (in an unfamiliar part of the city), but he was busy eating back at the clubhouse.”

     

     

    He knew PSG were monitoring Edouard before they asked him in for a trial and, while he was initially forlorn at losing such a talented player, he was ultimately very proud. “It felt special that it was Odsonne who went because we are close,” he says.

     

     

    Niakate enthuses that Edouard is enjoying his career at Celtic. “He is very happy, it’s easy for him to be in a new environment,” he says. “He stays very human, very close to his family and old friends. Lots of younger boys from Bobigny go to Glasgow to watch him play, and he comes back here very often to see everyone.

     

     

    edouard celtic bobigny

     

    (Photo: Kieran Devlin)

     

    “He’s a beautiful person. He comes back to the football club, not just his family, to say hello. He’s a shy person so he doesn’t show off when he comes, but he’s good with the kids.”

     

     

    Niakate calls him “shy” and Reynaud describes him as “introverted”. Both also talk about another side to his character, with Niakate saying he is “very smart” and Reynaud recalling how “respectful” his was with adults and team-mates as a youngster at PSG. “He listened a lot, just communicated less,” says the former scout.

     

     

    He is evidently a private person, often trying to sneak behind his chatting teammates while a journalist calls his name in vain for comment after a Celtic match. When he does open up, the public impression of him as unflappably cool aligns with his laidback demeanour. In a rare interview with Onze Mondial, Edouard revealed that his favourite TV show is Prison Break because he admired protagonist Michael Scofield’s “ability to remain calm in any situation,” before adding he “gets like that too… gets angry and then controls himself.” That rings a bell for anyone who’s watched him play.

     

     

    Reynaud and Edouard talk frequently and his former scout argues the player has matured greatly since the incident with the BB gun. “We speak on the phone and text each other,” says Reynaud. “We’ve met a few times since, he’s still a very humble man but he’s become more mature and confident. He makes jokes now! He’s more at ease with everyone and comfortable with himself.”

     

     

    Being an introvert, Reynaud says, could make the difference between being a good player and a great one. “He’s a very rare player,” says the 52-year-old. “He’s a scorer, he has all the qualities, and also the mentality. I have no doubt about it, he will get to the very top.

     

     

    “Very recently, for the France Under-21s, I went to Amiens to see him play. He came off the bench and scored two goals, and then at the end of the game he saw me in the stands and came over to see me. That was a really nice moment for him and for me.”

     

     

    Edouard’s performances for France’s under-21s — a remarkable 11 goals in six appearances in 2019 — might be stark but they’re unsurprising. He has always performed sublimely on the international stage.

     

     

    In 2015 he was part of the France side that won the under-17 European Championships, racking up eight of his country’s 15 competition goals in just five games. He scored a hat-trick against Germany in the final and was named the tournament’s Golden Boy.

     

     

    edouard celtic france

     

    Edouard celebrates after scoring in the European Under-17 Championship final against Germany U17 in May 2015. (Photo: Nikolay Doychinov/Getty Images)

     

    After scoring a decent five in 13 for France’s under-19s during his time at Toulouse, the ignominy with which he departed the club followed his personal brand like a bad smell and he vanished from the international set-up. His exile in the far north of rainy Glasgow away from the close scrutiny and curiosity of the French media during his first 18 months was productive, allowing him time and space to refocus on his football.

     

     

    Eventually his showings for Celtic, especially with the precedent of France under-21 international Dembele, became too impressive to ignore. Edouard was reintegrated into the national team structure.

     

     

    “I’m very happy with his performances (for the France under-21s) but I’m not surprised,” says Reynaud. “He’s a young player but he’s very sure of himself, sure of his qualities. Like major attacking players, when you fail you keep trying, which is what he does.”

     

     

    White says that Edouard transformed from faded pariah to redeemed prospect almost overnight. “L’Equipe report on him quite regularly, which is quite a feat when you think about it,” he says. “There are three French players (at Celtic, Jullien and midfielder Olivier Ntcham), but there’s also more senior French players spread across the continent at maybe some bigger clubs that don’t get the same coverage.

     

     

    “That raised his profile in France a lot, because that goal record is eye-catching. The thing to remember is that the under-21 team is also a really good team. On paper their squad is ridiculous, with Alban Lafont (Nantes, on loan from Fiorentina), Jeff Reine-Adelaide (Lyon), Dan Axel-Zagadou (Borussia Dortmund). So to be the main scorer and talisman for that team is really quite something. I would say his national profile is the realisation that he is a genuine prospect.”

     

     

    This all feeds the dream of playing for the France senior team one day. Despite his connection to Edouard, Reynaud tries to remain objective. “If you look at the age group he’s among the top for his age,” he argues. “Logically, if he continues to play like this, after Euro 2020, we might have a new cycle for the France team, and it’d be great for him to play with (PSG’s) Kylian Mbappe and (Lille’s) Jonathan Ikone.

     

     

    “They were also born in 1998, and both these guys are from (the Parisian suburb) Bondy, while Odsonne is from the next-door suburb of Bobigny. These guys have been friends with each other since they were 11 years old, they’ve played with and against each other many times, and it’d be amazing if they played with their friends for the French national team.”

     

     

     

    Edouard’s performances for the under-21s will have been keenly observed by Didier Deschamps, France’s head coach. “Deschamps definitely takes an interest in the 21s,” White says, “arguably more than most. Before the 2019 Under-21 Euro Championships he travelled to the camp. While they were having lunch he gave a rallying speech saying he was watching them, implying if they did well they’d be in line for the senior team.”

     

     

    For two of those who know him best, it’s a matter of when Edouard is capped by France — not if. “Of course Odsonne still has some areas he needs to improve,” Reynaud says, “but that will come with time and age. I think he has everything to get to the senior team, he’s already performing at a very high level.”

     

     

    “It would mean a lot,” Niakate asserts. “Having been the club president and knowing Odsonne for so long. He’s already had such a great career. I have no doubt that Odsonne will play for France. It will be special.”

     

     

    If Edouard is capped by France, he’ll be the first boy from Bobigny to achieve it, the first Balbyniens Bleus. Thank goodness for that snowstorm.

     

     

    (Top photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

  12. John Paul Taylor this morning replied to my e-mail asking that Kris Boyd be persona non grata at Celtic Park in future thus:

     

     

    “I can confirm the Club has written to Sky TV regarding the comments made on Wednesday evening.”

     

     

    We “the Celtic support” now await Sky and Kris Boyd’s statements…………

  13. JINKYREDSTAR………..

     

     

    Could be! Just seems to be taking a while.

     

     

    No patience at my age!

  14. As predicted, the Daily Record are running with the story that Tyrese Campbell has “turned Celtic down” for Rangers.Even though Neil Lennon has already said Celtic have not been chasing Campbell at all.

     

     

    Steven Gerrard has said Sevco will make no new signings in this window.Local press in Stoke have said he will sign a new deal and has turned down both Glasgow clubs.

     

     

    Can it be any more obvious what’s going on here? The orc natives are being fed non-stories to keep them happy about the lack of signings arriving in Mordor.

  15. TIMBHOY2 on 24TH JANUARY 2020 11:21 AM

     

    Watched Ray Donovan last night Terry his brother drinking in a Bar in Boston,CELTIC F C Pennant hangingin the Gantry.

     

     

    I read it was Tony Curran, who plays a dirty cop in that series, put the pennant in the bar,he’s a proper Tim.

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