IT was a straightforward and classy demolition of the Comedy Club from Ibrox. A 1-0 thrashing that could easily have been 5 or more but for the superb display by Gilks and some solid defending by Clint Hill and Rob Kiernan! Isn’t it ironic that the 2 stooges many thought would lead to Sevco’s downfall at Hampden in actual fact managed to keep them in the game!
So what of the game itself?
It was a dominating performance from start to finish with Celtic having the lion’s share of the possession and this was reflected in the shot count – 24 shots at goal with 8 on target. Interestingly, we had more shots on goal than we did when we mauled Sevco Rangers 5-1 on September 10 at Celtic Park. We also had more possession!
So, as a team, how did we perform?
Overall, I don’t think we had any failures, but some played far better than others. The goalkeeper had very little to do and had 3 tame shots to deal with and never looked in any trouble. The main criticism of Craig Gordon this season has been his distribution; it has shown a marked improvement in the last couple of games and that continued yesterday; a solid performance with no errors.
Both full-backs were effective in choking off any danger in the wide areas with Sevco Rangers only getting the ball in from wide areas on a couple of occasions. Mikael Lustig has been consistently good over the last 5 or 6 games and seems to be back to his best. His link-up play with the midfield and wide players going forward makes him a real threat to the opposition.
Kieran Tierney is looking as if he will develop into a truly great player. Solid defensively, great going forward and is developing a fantastic rapport with Scott Sinclair. He was as reliable as ever yesterday and belies his very young age. He still needs to improve, particularly his passing accuracy, but is a delight to watch.
Simunovic and Sviatechenko look as if they could be a long-term partnership for Celtic. Big Jozo looks unflappable and as solid as a rock; he is quick, brave and skilful. His long pass to Leigh Griffiths that led to the goal was exceptional. He is also a “talker”; he isn’t afraid to tell those around him what he thinks and looks capable of commanding and organising his defence. If Erik was 3 or 4 inches taller he would be the complete defensive player. He lacks just a little height but otherwise is a great defender; he reads the game well and can play with the ball at his feet. He was cheated out of a perfectly good goal yesterday by a combination of Clint Hill and Craig Thomson (CQN called him the Keep the Score Down Specialist during the week).
The central midfield was dominated by a masterful performance from Scott Brown.
Brown bullied and harried the central 3 midfielders from Govan and the lifelong Rangers fan in their team was always second best; his onset of cramp with only 70 minutes on the clock was amusing and was a demonstration of how much of a run-around he’d bee given.
Nir Bitton had a quiet day and his energy seemed to sap after half-time; a ball full in the face early in the second half didn’t help and he was substituted shortly afterwards. Competent but has had better games.
His replacement, Stuart Armstrong, brought drive and momentum to the midfield to help Brown drive the team forward and the opposition couldn’t cope with the extra energy.
Tom Rogic was another who was good without being brilliant; he missed a glorious chance when Gilks played him in early in the game and he fluffed it! You should always expect the ball Tom! I wonder if the Celtic support would have been as forgiving if Forrest or Bitton had missed that chance? Rogic’s Achilles heel is his lack of athleticism. He just doesn’t seem able to give us a consistent 90 minutes and that’s a worry! Something for the fitness coaches to work on. He gets away with it because of his wonderful half-turn and dazzling footwork. What a player he would be if he could run and last for 90 minutes!
Both wide players, Sinclair and Forrest, were effective with Sinclair being the better of the 2. Forrest had a quieter first half but was more energetic and direct in the second half, causing The Grass more than a few problems. Sinclair had a few chances and was very unlucky with the free-kick hitting the bar. Both players had 2 or 3 opponents around them every time they got the ball.
The Magic Twat had changed his Plan A tactics to double up in wide areas to try and stop the link up play between our full-backs and wide men. It didnae work!
So if Plan B is to do Plan A better, Plan D must now be to do Plan C better? Plan E could be to get better players and a better manager; that might work!
Moussa Dembele had another good game. He kept the 2 opposition centre-backs busy throughout the game and they will be aware this morning that they were in a bruising battle. He seems very cool and is willing to try a shot on goal from any area! He is still learning and has a number of rough edges but (like Tierney) is a prospect who looks as if he will be absolutely top class.
When Griffiths came on, they worked very well together and the combination for the goal was superb. Griffiths used his body well to turn the badly toiling Wallace and played Dembele in with a great touch from the outside of his left boot. Griffiths completed the first of 3 nutmegs with the pass to Dembele.
Dembele had all the work to do and with a deft flick nutmegged Kiernan and Gilks for a great finish! The pairing of Dembele and Griffiths looks like one that will work in the right circumstances and I suspect we may even see this as a starting option in Dingwall on Wednesday; this would allow the manager to give Rogic a full week to rest before next weekend’s visit our ovine friends at Pitoddrie!
So although our line-up, shape and were as expected, there was nothing The Bread Man or his team could do prevent another footballing lesson.
The usual mibbery was in evidence, but in my view that’s just something we expect and have to overcome. I have witnessed it for over 50 years and remain unsurprised by any of it. At the end of the day it was, in my opinion, a more dominant performance than the 5-1 in September and it’s amusing that the Russ Abbot lookalike, their keeper and Hill all seem to think they matched up in any way at all! Do they actually think the same flies are dumb enough to swallow that? (That’s not a rhetorical question).
As a footnote, I am still awaiting any comment from anyone about the usual airing of their despicable and vitriolic songbook but I’m not holding my breath. As someone pointed out on CQN, it was fitting that big Moussa finally shut them up as they were giving us another rendition of their Jimmy Saville ditty!
Over 20,000 grown men signing about child abuse with a global audience watching is more offensive than anything else that has happened in Scottish football this season, yet is completely ignored.
Written by VFR800 for CQN.