I’m not a real supporter. One of those that goes to the games week in week out. Win, lose or draw. Wind, rain, or more rain. Yesterday it was the latter. It was dreich with a capital D – as in diehard weather, in which even Bruce Willis would have been wearing a Celtic cagoule and cardigan. I opted for the pub. I love Celtic, but not that much. I’ve got a mate that’s got a season book and he’s not been to one game this season. I wouldn’t thank him for it and the reason is there on the big screen.
Inverness Caly Thistle came with a game plan. I’ll tell you what it is –it’s no big secret. Every Scottish team that comes to Parkhead uses it. Mohammed Ali used it against George Foremen in The Thriller in Manila or Rumble in the Jungle (geography isn’t my strong point)and it’s called rope-a-dope. Sit in, block and ride the early punches. Ross County tried it last week at Paradise. They just weren’t very good at it. Here the Inverness played it to perfection. Fall back and let Boyata have the ball. His first three passes went straight to Inverness Caly players and Inverness began to take control of the game. I’m old enough to remember Van Vossen. Let me tell you about the Gary Warren. Boyata gives away a needless foul. The ball is whipped into the box. Craig Gordon comes out, and not for the first time the ball sails straight over him. Let me put it this way. I would have scored it from the barstool I was sitting on with big Chuck sitting beside me strapped to my back. Miss of the season. Inverness were still the better team. This was epitomised by a three against one counterattack in which if it was a training session the Caly players would have scored.
After half time Svlatchenko did what most Celtic defenders (thank god for the exception to the rule, Tierney) got on the wrong side of the opposition forward. Svalatchenko made the right decision not to pull Jordan Roberts down. Roberts made the wrong decision. He should have just crossed the ball in and it would have sailed over Gordon’s head, but he chose to place it into his midriff, which isn’t even a proper word. I’d a word for Celtic and I’ll let you imagine it.
If Caly had scored, they’d have done what they’d been doing up to that point. Their rope-a-dope tactics were working. We won 3-0 so it can’t be all bad. I’m not looking too closely at our defenders. I’m looking more at Armstrong. Invisible. Scott Brown. Invisible. Biton. Invisble. Johansen (who played quite well last week) worse than invisible. All of these are defensive players. I know it’s easier to play when a few goals up, but Scott Allan, Ryan Christie and Patrick Roberts (any boy called Patrick is one of us) came on Celtic were sweet, were before even I was booing the telly. We’ve got the Quality Street Kids to hurt teams – simple, we need to play them. It’s not about winning the league. That’s a given. It’s preparing for the Champions League preliminaries. Gerry Keenan for the Celtic job. We need the kind of guy that tell’s kids, how it is, ‘if you cannae tie your own shoelaces your no use to us’.