Rangers 1— 5 Celtic

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The Celtic players went to the away end of a largely empty fortress Ibrox and celebrated as if they’d won the league. Leigh Griffiths who scored the second of Celtic’s goals, with a typical thunderbolt strike into the top corner, and was very unlucky not to have scored a third with a wonderful strike against the bar after a robust Jozo Simunovitch tackle on veteran Kenny Miller and a typical breakaway from one box to another. Griffith’s claimed that Celtic could have scored seven or eight. Nobody at Ibrox was arguing with him. Rookie Myles Beerman was again given the run around by Patrick Roberts, but the Celtic winger (sadly departing soon back to his parent club, Manchester City) was running out of the Ranger’s penalty box in six minutes when the full back hammered him. It was a stupid tackle, punished by a coolly taken Scot Sinclair penalty, who himself should have had a hat trick. As a general rule for the diddy team to have any hope they must score first and their goalkeeper must be man of the match. The only Glasgow team, in this regard, which can be widened to Scotland, to cause Celtic any problems so far this season have been Partick Thistle. Wes Fortheringham, the Ranger’s keeper has in the two games against Celtic, in a week, acquitted himself well. He might have been at fault from an in- swinging free-kick in which Dedryck Boyata stepped in and headed home, but there was a long list of culpable candidates masquerading in blue which included Josh Windass who was supposedly marking him. After the first goal a pudding-faced Ranger’s fan ran onto the pitch and tried to attack Scott Brown. The police had to check that this wasn’t a Ranger’s substitute coming on before huckling him away, but at half time we had the real thing with the doo, Joe Dodoo being left inside and the kung-fu kicking Andy Halliday brought on. Celtic were two goals up. We’ve all been at those games where that’s been  turned around. This wasn’t one of them. A third goal from Callum McGregor, who was again composed and quick on the ball, and his second goal against Rangers in a week, has kept other talented Celtic players out of the team. I’ve not been convinced by Simunovic but he strolled it here and Boyata still has that hint of a hangover when he was bullied in that semi-final clash Celtic lost last year to Rangers. But both were outstanding, winning all their headers and making neat passes. Mikael Lustig even popped up as a poacher at the other end and scored the fifth, with a neat inswinging shot to the post. Kieran Tierney, the future of Celtic, did what he does and won man of the match. It’s getting to be a habit bombing up and down the pitch and when he gets to the last third he makes chances for forwards. Kenny Miller did score one for Rangers, which was disappointing for a Celtic defence hoping to keep a clean sheet.

David Murray famously sold the Ibrox club, lock stock and falling down stands for a quid to the shyster Craig Whyte to avoid paying any cash out of his own pocket for sins of the past. You need to ask yourself which Celtic players would get in this current Ranger’s team. Obviously the first Celtic eleven, then the four on the bench that include Forrest, Kossaki, Bitton, Gamboa and the best player in two draws against Manchester City, Rogic. Those that can’t even get on the bench like Izzy and Henderson and the multi-talented Commons. Then if we take a step down the leagues were in every Celtic v Ranger’s games in reserve or under-20 football there is only one victor and they never wear blue. Who’s better than us? Ask Ranger’s veteran and player of the year, Kenny Miller.

The Effing trouble with Efe. (Celtic 2—Fenerbahce 2)

I’ve a lot of sympathy for Efe Ambrose. After all somebody’s got to be Efe. We had the same trouble. When I used to play for Dalmuir there always came that time when you realised you were a man down and would need to drag somebody, anybody, off the street. Once it was a three-legged dog that we put the Dalmuir hoops on and tied it to the goalpost. The referee said we couldn’t do that kind of thing, but we slipped him a can of beer and even though Down Shep was a dog and not Billy the Fish, he won man of the match. If we were really stuck we used to go up and ask Wilma Biggins to play for us. But there came a time when she got too grown up for that kind of thing and we ended up with Brian Biggins. So I know exactly how it feels to play beside an Efe. In fact there were a number of Efes in the Dalmuir teams over the years. Wee Johnny was a great wee player, but some of the guys he brought along were more Efe than Efe.  The test was whether they had their own shin guards. Guys with their own shin guards usually knew how to tie their laces. One of the guys Johnny brought completely turned a cup tie. We were not like Celtic 2-0 up and cruising, but 3-0 and this guy scored a quick one-two, for you know who. Sometimes a team can be stronger that is a man short. Sometimes Efe is not required. Like Gary McClaren with the great Dalmuir teams of yester-yore , I’m not blaming our Ronny Deila. Obviously with so many injuries and call offs he was out scouting the streets before kick-off. He must have picked up Kieran Tierney from a local primary school, but like Down Shep before him, he showed a lot of bite and was outstanding. When he begins to shave he’ll be a great prospect. Dedryck Boyata for once didn’t put a foot wrong and even had a great sliding challenge on van Persie that reminded me of gravel rash and ouch, ouch. Scott Brown for once did more than run about and growl. James Forest ran past players. Leigh Griffiths scored a great poacher’s goal.  Kris Commons now there’s a fitba player. As commentator Chris Sutton said after a blistering shot near the end, ‘that’s why he needs to be in the team every week.’ He also told us why Efe shouldn’t be in the team every week or any week. The bigger the game the more likely he is to make an error. Stefan Johnsen and Nir Bitton were missing in action, but at least they brought their own shin guards. Efe obviously didn’t. It would be funny. It should be funny, but you know what…?

Why can’t the best player in Scottish football get a game?

commons

Kris Commons, Scottish footballer of the year with 32 goals last season, described by Chris Sutton as the nearest Celtic have got to a Lubo Moravcik and voted as the best player in Scottish football by his fellow professionals is leaving Celtic –why?

He’s 31. Lubo Moravcik was 49 (well 33) when he came to Celtic, or so it seemed as the time. He scores on his debut against Dundee and a fortnight later against Rangers and let’s face it, there’s no better way to start, and we couldn’t care less if he’s father time. Commons scores a double in his debut against Aberdeen. He’s not stopped scoring since then. It’s the nearest Celtic get to a player that says play me and I’ll score.

Looking  over the border at, arguably, the next English Champions  Chelsea and John Terry gets a deal (and they’re a wee bit better than us) and he’s 34. Frank Lampard, who left Chelsea because he was too old at 36, but via a stint in the States, ends up at the other billionaires club of Manchester City and he’s hardly looked clapped out. But let’s face it Chelsea can allow Mata to go and bring in Cesc Fabergas. Who exactly are Celtic going to bring in to score those missing goals?

In our last game against Ross County, which ended 0-0 Commons came on as a sub for a sub. That shows he’s not even a first pick in the subs’ stakes. How dispiriting is that going to be for Celtic’s best player?

Chris Commons doesn’t run about enough, he doesn’t track back and make those tackles that modern players need to make. Neither does Craig Gordon. Nobody can dispute his value. Effe Ambrose runs about like a train on the wrong set of tracks. Virgil van Dilk (he’s off as well, and personally I’d rather keep Commons) is often found patrolling outside the oppositions’ penalty box and Emilio Izzaguire is more frequently, than our so-called wingers, caught offside.  I’ll give you a clue. These guys are meant to be defenders, but usually not in the same way as Ambrose is meant to be a defender.

And anyway, how many defensive midfielders do Celtic need? Stefan Johansen, who has come onto a run of form, can play a defensive midfielder. Scott Brown can also play defensively, as can Biton and most other Celtic players. None of them can score goals with the consistency of Kris Commons. In fact if you add up all the goals scored between them last year, or in fact any year, and you’ll find, as an aggregate total, as a combined group, they cannot score as many as Kris Commons. The only commonality is they don’t score many goals.

So who do we replace out best goal scorer and best player with? Well, there’s always that unknown and untouched talent somewhere in the world and if we can get to him first- on Planet X- and the price-tag is under 50p, then we’ve got a chance of a loan deal.

The simple solution is to give Kris Commons a new deal. But there is little or no point in doing that if he’s not going to get a run of games. That seems unlikely. I’ll miss Kris Commons. He’s been one of our best buys. Cost next to nothing. Came in, done his job and left, all without fuss. That’s the problem. Not enough fuss is being made about his value to Celtic. You’re only as good as your last game. Our last game was a stinker. We need class. Kris Commons is class.

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