I’m delighted with European football after Christmas and I love Celtic playing in the Champions League. It doesn’t bother me that much that Celtic get whopped 7-1 by PSG, obviously I don’t like it, but funnily enough there were encouraging signs and on another day Celtic might have sneaked a draw, or even won, as the newly-promoted French team recently did. Hyperbole? Here we’re back to reality and I said before the game that it wouldn’t surprise me if Anderlecht won. The manner in which they won was the most disappointing aspect. The bones of Ronnie Deila’s team shone through here. This was probably Celtic’s worst performance in Brendan Rodger’s reign and that includes the Barcelona and PSG gubbing. Three players got pass-marks, our much maligned goalie, Craig Gordon, whose safe after two minutes from the Anderlecht midfielder, Sven Kums, who really should have scored, unfunnily enough, kept up in the match. Scot Brown, who does what Scot Brown does. And James Forest, Neil Lennon’s love child, was Celtic’s man of the match. It’s a difficult one here. I think Paddy Roberts was the better player, but he’s injured and gone for the season, gone forever. Forest has stepped up to wear the green-and-white jersey.
The biggest loser last night was Leigh Griffiths and he didn’t even get to kick a ball. Moussa Dembele, yeh, I have these arguments with my mates. He’s bigger, stronger and better that Griff, but Griff is great. We have the best two striker in Scottish football. But Moussa was shit last night and missed two reasonable chances. He only stayed on the park because Stuart Armstrong couldn’t manage to keep the ball and his first few passes went to Anderlecht players. Hooked at half time. Sinclair was also hooked at half time. This was the Scottish player of the year. A goal a game man. That was last year. The man Rodgers never took off was Dedryck Boyata. Remember the guy that bottled it in the Scottish Cup semi-final with Rangers. Here he was and is. When Boyata worked his way back into the heart of the Celtic defence he was there on merit. He won his headers and kept it simple. Now he’s an Effe surrogate. I certainly wouldn’t be sad to see Boyata go. Joso Sumunovich scored an own-goal for the visitors, but he does keep it simple and is worth keeping. But when Rodgers brought on Odsonne Edouard for Dembele, Griffiths must be thinking not of his Celtic future, but his footballing future. Celtic have the best three strikers in Scottish football, but second choice is sitting on the bench and third choice is nowhere good.
Domestically, Celtic continues with their unbeaten sixty-seven match run. But with so many players out of sorts and out of form it seems time to freshen things up. I’m a big fan of Tom Rodgic, who came on for Sinclair. The debate goes on about whether Armstrong should play in front of Olivier Nitcham. No contest, last night Nitcham came on and did well. This is the first time Rodgers has come under any flak. It’s a good position to be. I remember Ajax coming to Parkhead and playing Celtic off the park and winning 1-0. But in the Martin O’Neil era with Henrik and Sutton and the like that was good enough. This game will be forgotten about, but there are some lessons for Brendan Rodgers to ponder. I love it we’ll have Europa League after Christmas and look forward to the draw. Bring on an English team.