Whatever Happened to Paddy Roberts?

patrick roberts.jpg

A wee cameo, Hampden in the sun, this time last year. Celtic win the treble. Unbeatable. Kieran Tierney comes back from the hospital in crutches to pick up his medal. Paddy Roberts is waiting for him. The Likely Lads. It was a glorious sight to see wee Paddy in full flow and we were sad to see him go. Many of us thought he might even be good enough to play for his parent club Manchester City.

Not that I cared the only team that interests me is Celtic. Rodgers brought in Aberdeen’s best player that day and most other days, Johnny Hayes. Shame about his injury, but he doesn’t look good enough for Celtic.

Paddy does. He doesn’t. Simple. So when we hear the Paddy and Kieran bromance is back on over the summer. And it turns out to be true. Well, overjoyed, whoopee.

I just hope Paddy makes it back from injury. It’ll not be at Celtic. His season-long loan almost done.  He got the last 20 minutes in the 3—0 victory at Parkhead over Ross County. Midweek, when most commentators were salivating over the Manchester City-Liverpool European clash, us Bhoys were watching real fitba. Celtic v Dundee.

Gordon was back in goals for his 200th appearance. Great to see him. Tierney is injured. Calum McGregor playing left back. McGregor quite simply has proved he can play anywhere. Rodgers says he doesn’t give the ball away.

Let’s talk Boyata. He does give the ball away. Remember that game against Bayern, ball straight down the middle. Same again against Dundee. Boyata and ex-Dundee player Jack Hendry get into a kerfuffle. Just before half-time a Boyata tackle hits the inside of the Celtic goalpost, but doesn’t go in. It rolls along the line. Boyata makes more mistakes the Effe Ambrose and it’s nothing to do with skin colour, just ability. Neither is good enough. It needs to be asked, where is Marvin Compper?

We know where Paddy is, on the bench. A lightweight like Charly Musonda. Their place in the Celtic pecking order was shown after sixty turgid minutes against Dundee. Off goes Dembele, off goes Sinclair and off goes Armstrong. Rodgers makes three substitutions, throws the dice, but doesn’t call Paddy’s number.

That’s where Paddy is. The Celtic team regressing from the highs of last year. The league is won. The league cup is won. Only the Scottish Cup remains for back to back trebles. But for the first time in two years I think Rangers have a chance at Hampden on Sunday. Our big player, our best players, just haven’t turned up this season and the ones brought in to replace them are sub-Celtic standard. Paddy, Paddy, prove me wrong.

Virgil van shite, not quite.

virgil

I’ve missed the football since Scotland have been playing. It’s back to business next week with a must win at Motherwell. I see Virgil van Dijk played for Holland in another must win in Kazakhstan. He must have stepped up his game for Southampton who play as we know in the best league in the world, but they are not expected to win every week, but it would be kinda nice if they do, but he’s learned so much in five games that he’s picked for Holland. What he hasn’t learned is, for example, the humility of Victor Wanyama who was linked to a bigger club, where it also doesn’t really matter, but it would be nice if we won, in a proposed £30 million deal. Sure van Dilk was far and away the best Celtic half since Paul Elliott went to Chelsea. What he’s left behind is Celtic’s soft centre, roll up, pick any two from three, and wait and see who makes the biggest ball’s up. I’m hoping we’ve bought good in Jozo Simunovic. He got beaten in the air a lot in his only game against Ajax, in a way the van Dijk wouldn’t have, and Bobo, well, it just wouldn’t have been countenanced, but Jozo may come good. With a ball at his feet I’m hoping he plays like van Dijk and not the flipper feet of Bobo, or worse the square passes and lapses in concentration that take us backwards to Boyata (also in the Belguim squad, listen, he wouldn’t even get in the Scotland squad) or dare I say it, and I’m sure he’s a really nice guy and says his prayers every day – no I’m not going to tell you who. But we do pray for him too. That leaves to me and you and Charlie Mulgrew. He’s a Scottish international where he plays centre half and as a holding midfielder. I’m not sure that’s a recommendation or a curse. It seems to work for Scott Brown, but at least he’d one or two goodish games recently. We were good for Virgil (and Wanyama) and they were good for us. Van Dijk breezed Scottish football. We all know that. Often you’d see him so far up the park he was playing centre forwards. Izzy, as usual, was the only one further forward. Scottish teams sit in against Celtic and you need to be able to attack more than you need to defend, as Izzy shows, week in week out. But in the European arena van Dilk often got found out. Malmo and Inter Milan were the most obvious examples. Virgil van Dijk didn’t come here to play in Scottish football indefinitely. He’d have been told, do well and you’ll go to the best league in the world. You’ll become a millionaire. That’s not a dream, but a business plan. The problem now is we’ve no longer got any players worth the tens of millions Southampton keep giving us for our players. Playing against Hamilton in the last meaningful, must win, game, Boyata got turned and we lost a dreadful goal. Watching the game was ex-Hamilton manager and lifelong Hun supporter Alex Neil. He may have had a chuckle at the defending. But with the diddy teams, such as Norwich, in the best  league in the world, guaranteed £120 million from TV rights, Alex could have been looking to buy a few of the minnows from the Celtic team. None of them is worth ten million. Few of them would be worth two million. And there are some we would pay for them to go. Must win at Motherwell.