Hibernian 0—0 Celtic

Celtic have blown Hibs away by half-time in recent games. Rogic had a chance with a minute gone, but it wasn’t to be for the Australian. He was booked and taken off after around 70 minutes.  O’Riley replaced him, but with little change in fortune. Despite a recent win, our track record isn’t great. Another must-win at Easter Road, but we let two points slip in the title race. A good week for Rangers.  

Hibs didn’t offer much in attack. Their best effort, late in the game, cannoning off Hibernian substitute Doidge and over the bar.

Abada had the best chance of the match in the first fifteen minutes. A cross-field Jota pass in behind the Hib’sdefence had the Israeli in a race with the keeper. He got there before Matt Macey, but his shot was the wrong side of the post.

Maeda had a shot on goal, just before half-time. But his touch was generally poor. His best chance of scoring was from a cross he flashed across the box, mishit by Poretous and just past the post.  

Despite a very late Celtic flourish, Hibs played from the back and were comfortably in the game. Kevin Nisbett going off injured, early in the first-half, after Starfelt clattering into him stunted their attack. Juranovic hit two free-kicks from outside the box. Neither troubled the keeper. 29 games and no goals from free-kicks. We also offer little threat at corners. Sure there are near-things, with Celtic winning twenty times the number of corners than other teams, we’d expect that. But very few goals.

We had a Keystone Cop moment at the end, with Celtic supporters holding their breath. Hart looked like playing a long free-kick into the opposition half, but played a short pass to Starfelt who was crowded out and gave away a corner. Any corner that Celtic concedes is a potential goal threat. And after 88 minutes, first goal was the winner.

Only it wasn’t. Hatate slipped late on, the Japanese internationalist also largely anonymous. A few balls flashed across the Hib’s goal-line. In particular, a Jota cross that was just over the head of Abada. O’Riley flung in a few with no takers. Jota stepped up and hit the stanchion roof. That sums up our efforts, Sunshine on Leith, fuck off.

Since beating Rangers and following up with a straight-forward win against Motherwell away, Celtic have been stepping down, when they should be stepping up. Mainly, we’ve got away with it. Not against Norwegian opposition. And not today. It’s a worry.   

Ryszard Kapuscinski (1993) Imperium.

Ryszard Kapuscinski was born in 1932 and grew up in the Polesie region on Poland (today Belorussia). Pinsk was liberated by Soviet troops in 1939. From what wasn’t clear. He learned the Cyrillic Russian alphabet as school from a single copy of Stalin’s Studies in Leninism, watched arbitrary mass deportations to Siberia and starved with his family. He remained liberated for most of his adult life and witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.  The unravelling of the Imperium: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn 1992.

The system that governs us is a combination of the old nomenclatura, the sharks of finance, false democrats, and the KGB. I cannot call this democracy—it is a repugnant historically unprecedented hybrid, and we do not know in which direction it will develop…[but] if the alliance will prevail they will be exploiting us not for seventy, but for one hundred and seventy years.   

We do know the direction Russia took under Vladimir Putin. Kapuscinski marks out the direction of travel. He speaks of the old native Russia. His reading and understand of Bierdayev’s book as a student at university who tried to outline what the Imperium was and the paradox of what does a Russian think when he is somewhere such as the shore of the Yenisry.

He can walk along for days and months and always Russia will surround him. The plains have no end, nor the forests, nor the rivers. To rule over such boundless expanses, says Bierdayev, one had to create a boundless state.

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace showed the hubris of Napoleon and the triumph of Mother Russia. The Great Patriotic War as the Second World War was called was when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic defeated the Nazis (that had an alliance with until 1942). There were two superpowers in the world when the war ended and America was the enemy. They fought proxy-wars, Korea at the beginning of the 1950s. Communist China, a pauper state, under Chairman Mao provided unlimited manpower and around one million troops. Soviet MIG fighters protected ground troops. General McArthur, holed up as proxy-Emperor of Japan wanted to fight on, go all the way to China, all the way to Russia. War weary, General, later President Eisenhower, divided Korea. Both superpowers had nuclear weapons. China acquired them from Russia.

The Cold War and Mutually Assured Destruction. John F. Kennedy at the end of 1962 called the Russian’s bluff over Cuban missiles. I was too young to remember. Now we’re too old to care. Then Putin, 24th February 2022 threatens nuclear war for interference over his invasion plans of Ukraine.

Ukraine has been at war with Russia for eight years. It used to be the breadbasket of Russia and exported grain to Germany, now it exports its crops to China. Its soil was so fertile it was said that if you left a stick in the ground a tree would bloom. Yet, during Stalin’s purges millions starved. Putin’s military has annexed Crimea. The second day of their full-scale invasion and troops surround the capital Kyiv. But with amphibious landings on Mariupol and Donbas.   

Kapuscinski reminds us of falling into the abyss. The massacre of around 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey in 1915, the greatest mass genocide until Hitler. Regarded as traitors and infiltrators. In Putin’s terms neo-Nazis and drug addicts.    

‘Nationalism is the forbidden fruit.’

The Chechen Wars were good wars for Putin. The use of overwhelming military force, mass murder and torture quelled the North Caucasus. Puppet government.

‘A state that does not have a state seeks salvation in symbols. The protection of the symbol is important to it as protection of borders to other states. The cult of the symbol becomes a form of the cult of the country. Protection of the symbol becomes an act of patriotism.’

Look at the map, Kapuscinski says of Aremenia, but he could also be speaking of Ukraine.  The Russian bear wants to swallow it up. But he offers another lesson.

Look at the history books, ‘A magnificent ascent, and then, a dispiriting fall’.

The West (by which we mean President Joe Biden) offers overwhelming sanctions against Russia, but not if it pushes up the price of petrol for the average American. I wonder when the backbiting will start about the four million refugees not coming into Europe, because they’re already here. Are we sliding down the same road, taking sides, picking allies? Imperium is an insider account of a refugee that’s not a refugee in the old Soviet Socialist Republics Putin thinks still exist. Keeping your mouth shut doesn’t guarantee you’ll be OK. Not taking sides is taken sides. I’m not taking sides. I hope Ukraine wins, whatever that means. But I doubt its people will. Putin will win—for now.  I don’t know what that means either.   

Bodo/Glimt 2—0 Celtic (5—1 aggregate).

War in Europe. And a Russian referee. We can hardly talk about must-win matches. Gone are the days when Norwegian opposition gave a Celtic manager a chance to play his second-string and rack up a few goals, while talking about the weather and plastic pitches. Maybe not? Bodo/Glint can talk about playing diddy Scottish teams. They strolled the first leg and the home leg was even easier. They could have scored in the first minute, with two chances, one from the resultant corner flashing past Joe Hart’s post.

Hart created the first Bodo chance, his wayward pass didn’t reach Ralston at the edge of the box. The full-back deals with it, but Pellagrino gets a shot on gaol. Ralston is limping from the seventh minute, a bit like the Celtic team.

Our captain doesn’t start. Carter-Vickers doesn’t start. Our wingers are in cold storage. I’m looking at Liam Scales who doesn’t seem to get a sniff at the first-team in the league. Game over, tie over after nine minutes. Welsh plays the first of several forward passes to the opposition in the centre of the park. Haggen finds plenty of space to run into. He finds Solbakken wide right. He uses Scales as dummy to bend his right-foot shot around his prone body and into the left-hand corner.

Bitton, who, ironically, has had one of his best seasons plugging the gaps for injured midfielders coming off the bench and taking the captain’s armband. He keeps giving the ball away and running into opponents. He almost created the second goal for Glimt. Pellegrino finding himself in a one-on-one with Hart and taking the wrong option when he should have chipped the Celtic keeper.  Solbakken putting another past the post. Hart saving another one-on-one.

Bodo comfortable in possession and dangerous in attack. Ten chances and Celtic have none until the last five-minutes of the first half. An offside Starfelt putting an in-swinging cross past the post.

 Even James Forrest whose days as a wing-king seem gone was hesitant when the ball finally fell to him in the box, opting to pass, instead of shoot. He switched wings and fared better in the second-half when Abada came on.

O’Riley and Rogic went off. Neither were missed.  McGregor gave Celtic a little extra zip and for twenty minutes of the second half we hit the height of mediocre.

Maedo played more centrally with Giakoumakis. Abada had a shot pushed wide. The young Israeli had other chances. He was possibly Celtic’s man of the match (from a very low bar, but Hart wins it for his first-half saves). Maeda missed a sitter, Abada looping a header into his path. The Japanese striker blazed over.

Only a consolation. Bodo play from their keeper Smit out to Hugo Vetlesen, he plays it wide and ambles into the box, scoring from a cutback. 78 minutes and the game and tie is long gone. Just a matter of seeing it out, for both teams.   

Postecoglou: ‘Be aggressive, dominate the game, create chances and score goals.’ Bodo were listening. They won both ties very comfortably. I feel sorry for the poor souls travelling home from near the Arctic Circle, and I don’t mean the Celtic players.  

Colson Whitehead (2019) The Nickel Boys.

Simone Weil: ‘The Present is something that binds us. We create the future in our imagination. Only the past is pure reality.’

Colson Whitehead won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Underground Railway, a blend of fiction and fact.  The Nickel Boys doesn’t need to stray far from the truth. American law-and-order policies jails more people than every other nation combined, blacks for once have a majority. The new Jim Crow is the old Jim Crow. Whitehead, in dipping into the historical past, shows us the future in which prison labour generates private profit. The incentive isn’t for more crime but more time flips the system. Work doesn’t make you free in the land of the free. The author claims his book was inspired by the Arthur G Dozier School for Boys in Marianna Florida. But he acknowledges it as one among many. The school was corrupt, but so was the system that made such schools.

In acknowledgments he quotes the words of former inmate Danny Johnson:

‘The worst thing that happened to me in solitary confinement happens every day. It’s when I wake up.’

The problem Whitehead has isn’t that he hasn’t enough material, but too much. He keeps the story simple. Beginning, middle and end. The reader follows the story of Elwood Curtis. He’s the everyman that listens to the preaching of his hero Dr Martin Luther King, until he can almost recite the words verbatim. Resistance isn’t about cracking heads, but in the spirit of Gandhi moral resistance and turning the other bloodied cheek. Loving their oppressors to death.


Even in death the boys were trouble.

ACT 1: Who is Elwood? Elwood is good boy, a diligent boy who plans to go to college and make something of himself. He lives with his granny. She knows all about Dr King, but she knows the South better. She tells him to keep his head down. He gets a job with Mr Marconi, who treats him fair and treats him good, just as a white man should.

ACT 2: What is Elwood? Elwood tries to help a boy that is being beaten by bigger stronger pupils. He doesn’t understand how the Nickel School works. Fear is the lubricant that oils the chain that keeps the system running. Elwood finds out about fear. He finds out about ‘Niggers and jail’. He finds out about work. He finds he’s not the boy he thought he was or could be.

ACT 3 Who is Elwood? Elwood is everyman. His epiphany is that he has become something else, someone else that keeps his head down. He has become what Dr Martin Luther King described as an Uncle Tom figure. In hoping to graduate from the Nickel Boys’ School has sold his soul. He needs to act. He will act. But fear is contagious.

The secret graveyard lay out in the north of wild grass between the old work barn and the school dump. The field had been a grazing pasture when the school operated as a dairy selling milk to local customers—one of state of Florida’s schemes to relieve the taxpayer burden of the boys’ upkeep.     

Storyville, Try Harder, BBC 4, BBC iPlayer, directed by Debbie Lum.


I’m unfamiliar with the American college application process. It’s a big country, but modelled, in theory, so school-test scores determine which colleges will accept students. The American dream is a quite simple belief that if you work hard you’ll get your just rewards. Student, Tina Zheng, for example, plans to be a brain surgeon.

The adolescents featured in this documentary stay mostly tight-lipped. Their collective goal is to get into an Ivy League College. Harvard is mentioned. Stanford College features as a possibility, but with less than five percent chance of gaining entry. And UCLA. They are all A+ students. Rachel Schmidt’s test-scores, for example, put her in the top 1% in America. Alvan Cai’s mum and dad come from Taiwan. They do everything for their son. Test scores in Taiwan determine a boy’s future. They have left nothing to chance. But Alvan worries that his parents are out of step. Offering vouchers for food or the pictures or even a red envelope with God knows in it might be regarded as bribery by college administrators. UCLA, for example, receive over 102 000 applicants to study at their college every year. That number is growing and increasingly most applicants will have A+ grade to have a realistic chance to be considered.

Granada’s documentary series 7UP, a World in Action special in 1964 had much the same premise. The Jesuit dictum:  ‘Give me the boy and I’ll give you the man’. Director Michael Apted is dead now, but I think we are up to 64UP.  It was classified a snapshot of social class. Looking at it a life-time later, it went pretty much as expected. Those Eton-educated kids with marbles in their mouths did prosper and did go to Oxbridge Universities.  

Debbie Lum has her viewfinder not so much on class but race and ethnicity. San Francisco’s Lowell High School is a hothouse of the super-smart. The majority of whom are one of the fastest growing proportion of the American immigrant population—Asian Americans. Ivy League colleges their teachers warn them view high-test scores from Lowell students as a given, but question whether such students can think for themselves. Viewing them as robotic. In other words, such institutions are inherently racist, but without acknowledging, for example, college quota’s for Jewish students that were in place until the 1950s. Black students, of course, had their own colleges.

Class bias is often race in disguise. In 21UP, for example, the Yorkshire son of a farmer told how his cohort in university assumed he’d be stupid because of the way he spoke and the accent he used. Similarly, Rachel Schmidt who has a black mother may be smarter than most, even at Lowell, but her successful application to Stanford College was due to her being black. Asian Americans adopting the arguments of the far-right white groups that would send them back to wherever, because it didn’t really matter. The only thing that did matter for Neo-Nazis was they weren’t white and therefore couldn’t be right. In fact, were stupid. In the land of the free, Richard Powers,  Overstory, characterisation: ‘The immigrant’s son yields to the disease of improvement before there is an effective cure’.     

Celtic 3—2 Dundee

Celtic welcome back ex-Celt and new Dundee manager, Mark McGhee, in the stands. Top against bottom. Thursday’s defeat was a sore one, but we’re building for the future, not the past. The other Dundee team present a United front and draw with Rangers (I watched the last thirty seconds and it was nerve wracking). Giorgos Giakoumakis comes back to lead the attack. He scores a double in the first-half to dig us out of a defensive hole. Late on, with five minutes of the ninety remaining, he scores the winner and gets booked for celebrating. The referee could have booked every fan in the stadium, and millions outside. Left foot, right foot header. The Greek striker wins man of the match and keeps the match ball. More importantly he keeps us in front in the title race. This is one that looked like slipping away.   

When Celtic score first in Scotland, we win. Dundee scored first from a solitary corner. We could blame the swirling winds. We could blame that most of our goals in Scottish football are lost from free-kicks and corners. We could blame O’Riley getting blocked. Paul McMullan’s corner. Danny Mullen found himself alone in the six-yard box. The ball at his feet and he poked it home. What we can’t claim is this isn’t a pattern going back to Neil Lennon’s era. Twenty-six minutes and I was hoping we could get a goal before half-time.

We want to see our strikers ready to react to balls dropping in the box. Starfelt goes for a ball and it comes off him.  Giakoumakis gets first to it, swivels, and in thirty-four minutes gets our equaliser.

Maeda pushes wide and Abada is on the bench. Jota switches to the right. But it’s the Japanese internationalist that creates the second goal, three minutes later. He flies past the full back and smashes in a cross. Lawlor in the Dundee goal catches it and drops it in front of Giakoumakis. Goal.

Two decent penalty claims were turned down the referee. The second with the ball following to Maeda who hit the keeper with a header from six-yards.

  No changes for the start of the second-half. Ralston takes the right-back spot. Juranovic does what he’s done before and plays on the left. Taylor on the bench.  Rogic comes on for the last half hour. Hatate comes back into the team, but is replace by Abada. Competition all over the park. But the most important thing is too win.

Dundee are camped on their eighteen-yard line for most of the game. Celtic keep the ball for around five minutes without a Dundee player having a touch. Seventeen minutes into the second half and Jota scores a brilliant volley from a Ralston cross. But he’s called offside. The goal that would have put us out of reach eludes us.

Worse, Dundee got up the park, a minute later, and score. A foul be Starfelt inside the Celtic half. Our defence lines up on the edge of the eighteen-yard box. Substitute Neil McGinn (ex-Celt) puts a ball into the box. Ryan Sweeney outjumps Carter-Vickers and scores with a header. Ironically, in a game in which Joe Hart had nothing much to do, we lose two goals.

The clock is ticking. Despite Rangers drawing, we looked like finishing the day where we started it. Juranovic nicked a ball and played it quickly to Ralston. Cross balls have flashed across the six-yard box countless times. The difference here was Giakoumakis’s bravery. He put his head in where it hurts. With three minutes remaining he got us the winner. The Greek striker with four goals before this match, now he has seven. None more important that his winner.

Dundee created a final chance in added time.  If this was a training exercise it would be attack against defence. Jordan McGhee and Luke McCowan against Carter-Vickers. Carter-Vickers wins the foot race and puts it out for a shy. It comes into the box. Dundee players shout for a hand ball against Jota.

Final whistle. We snatched a victory from a draw. Giakoumakis the hero, he moves up the pecking order and sits behind Kyogo. Let’s hope he overtakes him. We got to Norway and play on Thursday. I’m more worried about Hibs at Easter Road. But one game at a time. Nearly, very nearly, another unseen blip here mars the road to the title.  

Jane Friedman on publishing.

Educator and reporter on publishing. Online education. Authors have information to make the right decisions. The business, understanding how it works.

Publishing 101. What you can and should do. I a world filled with craft books and telling you what to do.

2021. Best sales for publisher in decades. Pandemic brought rejuvenation to print and opened up digital. Driven sales across the board. No sector left behind. Facing supply-chain issues.

Access to print.

Shift to more online publishing. More power to Amazon. But online bookshops also grown (independent bookshops).

Given hope and optimism. Given more thought about businesses and decisions we make.

Impact and opportunities of pandemic from a writer’s perspective?

Depends where you earn money, but small percentage influenced by this A listers. Not people that teach and do side-gigs. More acquisitions. Deal volumes up. Selling more. Certain categories, you may feel challenges (eg travel books). Trends come and go. Dystopian novels for example.

Social media? Time consuming? A distraction from actual writing? Connection with fans?

Importance? Non-fiction, included?

It’s not all about your following. Super-helpful tool. So to say you’re not going to use that tool. No hammers, only screwdrivers…. Sometimes people feel it is a must. Creates stress. You feel bad all the time. But younger audiences discover books online. Helps spread word of mouth. Opening yourself up to communities. Hoping someone will discover you. Try and focus on social relationship. You don’t have to be on all the platforms. Tik-Tok, for example. Most prominent. But as an author, older titles. Authors had nothing to do with those titles resurgence. Focusing on one platform sufficient. That you enjoy.

Anxiety? Older people. Not terribly comfortable. Tik-Tok, I’ve never been on it. It scares people. But a great way to find communities? Helping guide them towards community.

People looking for nuts and bolt tactics. It’s like telling people how to find friends. Not so different from moving to a new town. Finding like-minded people. Two pieces of advice. Put out positive or neutral MO. If you get grumpy you can ignore them.

Podcasts, broadcasts, newsletters? For writers. Worth the time?

YouTube etc, it’s something you’ve been doing for free, over the long time. I support authors doing something that creates content in the longer term. Requires consistency. Authors launch and they give up. It takes time. There has to be a part of you that really enjoys doing it. Other people need to stay in it long enough for payoff.

Email newsletter. I find that essential. They want to hear what’s new. A direct conduit, not dependent on a third party.

A listers still dependent on marketing budget. Best advice for marketing (normal people) what do I do about marketing this book?

Knowing your readership. Lots of writers, pretty weak on that point. Subgenres and definitions about what your marketing strategy should be. You have a way of finding this out. You can go the places where there is visible evidence. Analytics. Comparable authors. Best first step, comparable titles. Study them. What can you steal from their tool box?

When you’ve been around for a while, but when you’re starting on this first book…? It starts to start. Credited with author’s store?

No. there’s another Jim Friedman.

Self-publishing? Not being an acceptable industry. Hybrid, doing books. What is the number-one advice?

I would look and see if your genre is established in market. You can do a stellar job, but your book can be dead on arrival. Literary fiction. Memoirs. Children’s fiction. Hard to sell.

People who do well, do a series, five or ten books. On a schedule. Looking at the market. With a business eye. You’re very strategic. How can I launch and sell so I can have the next pay cheque. They need to be very entrepreneurial.

Self-publishing. Maybe they don’t understand how much of a business it is?


Editors. This is something you do. How important is it, to put their books through an editor? A critical thing?

I’m neutral. Considering my background. Being able to self-edit. Or wanting to have that feeling of a creative partner. But there are some editors that swear up and down. That trust. You’re excited by that feedback. Others leave you cold.

Part of all of this to me. The need for a writer to have that inner-drive? You’re going to get rejected. Half the time people are going to ask, why did you even bother?

I hear from main writers who are looking for permission that they are not wasting their time. We’re not fooling or making a fool of ourselves. Small signs. It’s really gratifying. These affirmations don’t last. You continue asking for that extra. You have to continue without the externals. There’s always another turn. That will feel…that psychological pattern so you don’t put that burden on someone else.

Industry currently better than the past?

More opportunities and technological tools. Barriers come down. Makes things better. But sows confusion. Pressure and anxiety goes up. All these things you now have to deal with. A net positive. You have more control.

Roy Shaw (2003) Prettyboy.

In the inside cover, Roy Shaw, in Acknowledgements, writes BUY MY BOOK…OR ELSE! There were a lot of or elses for Roy Shaw. The Prettyboy—a media tag before a bareknuckle bout. He saw it as a marketing tool, in the same way as Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns or other professional boxers. He was born in Stepney, London 1936. Bullied at school. He found when he hit back at his attackers he’d talent for inflicting hurt. And the adrenalin high was addictive. It also meant he didn’t feel pain. He’d found his vocation. He trained as a boxer with the local lads. A hint of regret, think of Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) ‘I coulda been a contenda’ speech in in Elia Kazan’s On the Water Front. Roy Shaw is proud of his boxing credentials. There’s a picture of him haven just beaten Ron Snyder. He was a contender for the Heavyweight World Championship and had boxed against Smokin’ Joe Frasier and narrowly lost on points. But, in a moment of insight, Shaw states Snyder might have let him win. He couldn’t hurt Snyder. His rant was for the little men that wouldn’t let him box and give him a license after his dishonourable discharge from the army. He’d never box with the big boys and was reduced to bareknuckle scraps for a purse—which was still good money. But he’d already served 18 years for armed robbery. Even the quicksilver hands of Muhammed Ali had slowed after his incarceration. Roy Shaw was fighting for money and his new life. He wasn’t going to lose, but neither was he going to win a title bout that offered prestige.  Violence was just another job.

A familiar world in which heroes are villains. The ones getting grief are those that deserve it. For example, George Cornell. Roy Shaw had helped him out in a fight in Wandsworth Prison, where they were both serving time.

Shaw describes him as ‘a small vicious little man’. And as ‘one of the chief torturers for the Richardson brothers’.  

Anyone that has been watching The Rise and Fall of the Krays will know, as Shaw reminds us, 9th March 1966, Ronnie Kray had been tipped off that George Cornell was drinking in the Blind Beggars pub. He walked in and shot him in the head.

While serving 21 months in Wandsworth, Shaw served time with Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie, Frank ‘The Mad Axeman’ Mitchell and George Cornell. All three were killed, he notes, by the Krays.

Feuds are fought to the death. Debts are settled among honourable men. And when straight folk or ‘slags’ piss them off, they too pay the price. ‘Nick-nack-paddy-whack’, for example, a black man asks to dance with his wife in the Limbo Club with predictable results. He was taking a liberty. But he couldn’t understand why an Irishman jumped on his back and was stopping him ‘bashing this geezer’. So he bashed him too. But the Irishman, instead of falling the way he should, fell against his overcoat and got it all bloody. He took that as a personal insult too. He took a taxi to Charing Cross Hospital and asked where the ward was for new admissions. He took a cosh to his head. On the way out, an orderly tried to grab him. He got knocked out.

Saturday night, he explained—running parallel with the normal world filled with slags—was ladies’ night in the underworld.  He took his wife, Carolina, out into the West End to meet a few friends at the Astor Club. But there was a ‘bad vibe’. ‘You could cut the atmosphere with a knife’.

Descriptive terms such as this are clichéd. Going head to head with the writer of Lenny McLean’s autobiography, Roy Shaw’s wins by a knockout. Both wave the banner of being No.1 bestsellers. Neither former Guv’nors write their own book. They get someone else to do it. Peter Gerrard, ghost-writer of McLean’s book, claims to have worked with Reggie Kray and Ronnie Knight. He lived a colourful life, but the writing is grey. A familiar tale of I smashed this guy and this one too. Although similar, there is more vibrancy and colour in Roy Shaw’s account. The clichéd storyline apart of bad boy making bad, there are few descriptive dead ends. Shadow writer, Kate Kray packs a few literary punches. Her name sounds familiar. She goes one better than Peter Gerrard. She was married to Ronnie Kray. The Kray industry has a new generation of fans.

Shaw tells how Ronnie Kray came to see him when he was being held in Broadmoor. He’d punched his way out of every prison. Governors were glad to be rid of him and send him on to the locked wards and liquid coshes of another kind of underworld. Shaw admits prison was full of losers and lost time, and he raged against the system. But he’d never come across a friend that asked him to kill him in the prison system like Billy Doyle. When he refused, another patient obliged and hanged him in the toilets. Roy Shaw was classified as a psychopath. Clinically insane, he entered the underworld of the underworld.

Readers fall into the written word. That’s what I do. I’m not a fighter, but a reader. McLean’s book is filled with sentences like flapping geese that make a lot of noise about honour and old time values of a man’s world.

Ronnie Kray, who was diagnosed as schizophrenic, came to see Shaw when he was in Broodmoor. He was a visitor. And hadn’t yet been sent to prison for thirty years and shipped off to Broadmoor himself. In The Rise and Fall of the Krays, his associates describe him as evil. He’d goaded Reggie until he too had murdered Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie. Reggie had shot him. And when the gun jammed, stabbed him to death.

Ronnie was homosexual. The arresting officer told how he was found in bed with a sixteen-year-old boy when they arrested him. Reggie was in bed with a woman, but had gay sex too. Ronnie’s Queen’s Council also told that when he was arrested,  he declined a meeting with her because he had another meeting planned with a sixteen-year-old boy. Incarcerated for life in Broodmoor, Ronnie dresses the part and had a patient act as butler. As a reader and viewer that’s a crazy world. The bit I don’t get is why a sane woman would enter an institution and marry a homosexual prisoner that is never going to be realised.

Dr Sarah Trevelyan in Freedom Found told how she’d come to fall in love with convicted killer Jimmy Boyle. I kinda get that, but Boyle was getting realised.  

In the straight world of the underworld, women are property. Shaw admits he was dreading getting the ‘Dear John’ letter from his wife Caroline. He’d married her when she was a teenager and they’d two kids. When the letter did come, he asked Ronnie to do a favour for him and deal with the slag that was living with Caroline. He was stabbed. And when Shaw was released after an 18 (sentences are pronounced without the years added, for example, the Krays got a 30) freedom disorientated him. The outside world moved so fast. Shaw holed up in a phone box and asked a friend to come pick him up. He couldn’t cope. But his mate gave him a car. Driving was too much for him. But he kept going because he’d a job to do. His daughter recognised him and gave him a cuddle. Nothing like your own flesh and blood. His daughter’s stepfather was holding hands with his wife, and telling her he loved her. Shaw sorted that. He flung him over the balcony. The slag had it coming to him.

In Kate Kray’s written world, cartoon violence has no repercussions. In a world full of corrupt politicians, corrupt cops, corrupt wardens and slags everybody gets what they deserve. It becomes repetitive and deadening.

Shaw’s in the Astor Club. Remember the ‘bad vibes’. A minder asks them to leave. He gets a slap, of course, because that’s what you do. But he doesn’t argue (giving a slap isn’t arguing). He wasn’t willing to cause trouble. Especially, with his wife with him. He slams the doors shut and pulls the shutters. He asks his mate Albert to get a petrol canister from his car.

I’ll let you decide whether he is a psychopath. Shaw poured the petrol down the wooden steps and around the entrance. He set it alight. The place ‘exploded into a ball of flame’. That’s another cliché, but as a reader, I’ll leave it there. Just another night out in 1963, London. There’s nothing Pretty about it. Shaw was rehabilitated and became a successful businessman. He’d have been more dangerous as a politician.            

Celtic 1—3 Bodo/Glimt.

Ange Postecoglou flings up a few surprises. Hattate begins on the bench. The rangy Matt O’Riley comes into the team, and looks the part before being taken off. More predictably, Maeda replaces Giakoumakis. Then the Greek forward comes on late in the game, and achieves nothing worth noting. Neither have done enough to be certain starters. But the Japanese internationalist couldn’t find a way around Khaikin, but he pulls a goal back in the second half, only for Vetlessen’s deflected shot off McGregor to make it 3—1, thirty second later after the ball was centred. Celtic fans leaving the stadium with seven  or eight minutes to go of the ninety.  

The third tier of European football. Bodo/Glimt a comfortable win and Celtic third-class. The tie may be already over. But I’m a big fan of the dog’s chance. The Norwegian champions were comfortable on the ball and playing from the back. They edged clear-cut chances and more importantly got the first goal after six minutes. They knocked the ball around the edge of the Celtic box until they found an extra man inside the box. Espejord took a touch and then coolly finished past Hart. A minute later they had another chance. Late in the half a simple throw in and they could have had a second.

Celtic have dominated games, but here it was a midfield struggle. Celtic had eight corners and a few free kicks. But the Bodo keeper didn’t have to make a save. Maeda did more closing down than he had shots on goal. A fresh-air volley was not one he’d want to remember.  His efforts weak and off target. Jota and Abada similarly had similar efforts from outside the box. Abada was taken off, but it could just as easily have been Jota. Near the end of the first-half Carter-Vickers went down from a challenge from the keeper, but the American internationalist was clearly offside. Celtic finished the half with a little bit more of the ball, but still with no shots on goal.

The second and killer goal was just too easy. Taylor, like Starfelt, has been a whipping boy for Celtic fans (by that I mean me). He was beat far too easily by Solbakken, who did little more than run away from him. His ball into the box was standard fare and should have been easily dealt with. But goal scorer Espejord flicked the ball with the outside of his boot. That took out our centre-halfs and Josip. Pellegrino, just outside the six-yard box, finished.

With half an hour to play Celtic were sure to fashion chances. Juranovic swung a cross into the box. Maeda got his bald head on it and it flew into the corner. Then we lost a goal immediately.

Haikin, the Bodo/Glimt keeper who was excellent all night, without being tested much, and was booked for timewasting. He’s out of the next leg. Perhaps it was intentional. He’ll be available for the next round. Celtic won’t be in it.

We’ve won 16, drew 1, and now lost 1. This is the one I’d have chosen to lose. The league is first, second and third. The Scottish Cup fourth or fifth. The third tier of Europe…well, you know, it’s a grand old team to play for. Our strongest team will be out on Sunday against Dundee at Paradise. It’s hard to say who will start. Next week I’d put out the boys. I know that won’t happen. Just a thought.

Celtic 4—0 Raith Rovers

The Jota effect carried on from the midweek victory at Pittodrie. Two minutes were added on the end of the first-half here at Parkhead. The referee shouldn’t have bothered. Liam Scales added to his earlier strike in the season against Dundee United, with a well struck shot from the edge of the box in off the post in the twenty-third minute. Tom Rogic picked him out and the Irishmen bent it in off the post. Celtic’s usual first half blitz started as we’d expect, but fizzled out, not at half time, but half time of half time.

Mikey Johnston, in two minutes, got in behind the defence and looked to whip in a cross or shot, and did neither. Later he had a shot on goal. He’s third or fourth choice now with the arrival of sixteen-year-old Doak, and in the second-half pulled up with yet another injury.

Scales is behind Taylor, but there’s not a lot in it. Taylor has more pace, and perhaps a better positional sense, but he doesn’t score goals.

Christopher Jullien, out injured since December 2020,  looked on as Welsh came into the team for the whipping boy, Starfelt (who is a diddy). The Frenchmen doesn’t seem to be in Postecoglou’s immediate plans, but did come on for Carter-Vickers with twenty minutes remaining, and the game already out of sight for the Fife team. And he’s already been told, like Johnson, when he gets his chance he’ll need to take it as Tony Ralston has done. But we expect to see Josip back from Thursday night’s tie.

Raith’s best chance in the first half came from penalty shout. Twenty-eight minutes in and Bitton lost the ball at the edge of the box. It was whipped into the box and headed down by a Raith attacker. Cameron Carter-Vickers moved his arm towards the ball. Stone-wall penalty if VAR had been available.

Celtic had a penalty of their own in eighty-eight minutes. Captain Bitton opting to hit it, and making a hash of it as referee Steven McLean did. The referee had minutes before booked Raith substitute Mackie for wiping out Celtic substitute and goal scorer Maeda. Jota’s shot had been blocked by Mackie, but the referee didn’t book him, in a case of mistaken identity, which would have been a sending off. But Bitton’s penalty was saved by the keeper. But the Israeli was first to the ball and hit it into the ground, but it bounced up over the flailing arms of Jamie McDonald.  

  Girogis Glakoumakis showed good strength in the middle of the park, and got Celtic’s second goal with his last kick of the ball, before he was taken off for Maeda. He’d hit the bar from a Mickey Johnston ball in the first half, but when Jota whipped a ball across the box, after an equally wonderful pass from Hatte. The Greek striker was all alone and it was he couldn’t miss- and tapped it in.

The, as yet, unconvincing Japanese striker work rate is almost Kyogo-lite and—let us face it—he’s scored more goals than the Greek striker in head to head.

Daizen Maede scored our third goal from a double header of a double header, which paradoxically was his first touch of the ball. Flicking on a Stephen Welsh’s header. The Raith keeper parrying his initial shot, only for it to hit him in the head and go over for yet another goal.

With Johnson off injured early in the second half, Jota came on. The effect was instantaneous. Postecoglou made a triple change minutes later, with the ineffectual James Forrest coming off. But none of the five Celtic substitutes’ combined efforts were near as effective as the Portuguese wingers. If, for example, Johnson was on loan, we’d be putting him back in the box, with a ‘no thanks’ note at any price. Battles are being fought all over the squad for a first team jersey. I just hope Jota stays fit until the end of the season. He’s a must have in our first team shirt.