I was the Effie Ambrose of Welfare League Football and could be relied on to give a goal away at a vital point in the match. Dribbling from the back. A misplaced header. Sure as dog shit on a public park, Ambrose did the same consistently for Celtic. Big European matches under the lights. Juventus, for example. It was always Effe wasn’t it?
This was a chance for Postecoglou to give David Turnbull a game from the start. We lost Juranovich. The money wasn’t spectacular, but we’re a selling club. Giakoumakis is next to go. But we’ve brought in replacements. Oh Hyeon-gyu is meant to have signed. Don’t know anything about him. But he’ll be second-fiddle to Kyogo, who is king.
Back to Effe. He was involved in the first two goals and another penalty shout. VAR took the usual five minutes to look at it and conclude it was a penalty. If it was against Rangers I’d have been jumping up and down. But I felt sorry for Effe. Morton like St Mirren had started well. Teams playing against the champions know that free kicks and corner are route one to goal. Strapp’s throw ins were causing some problems in the box. And Quitongo was getting the better of Bernabei. But it was Strapp who missed Morton’s best chance at the back post, from a cross from Quitongo, with an Effe like touch. The Argentinian full back has been targeted by the opposition in recent weeks. He’s terrific on the ball, but not a great defender. But then again I used to think Taylor was a diddy.
Then Effe’s penalty gave the game to Celtic. It wasn’t his fault. It often wasn’t his fault. He can’t help being Effe. Abada struck a shot which was blocked and came up and hit his arm. Clancy listened and looked and then gave it (wrongly). Mooy, scored from the penalty spot. And got his double late in the match, from a pass from Haksabanovic. Mooy is real cog in this champion team, also hitting the post with a shot. He’s always there to take the ball and was heading early throw ins away. No one doubts substitute Matt O’Riley’s ability. He’s great, but no goals isn’t. But he’s also ahead of Turnbull in the pecking order. McGregor, looks assured, pretty easy in a game such as today’s, when hit the bar with an early effort and drilled a shot past the post, but he does it against better opposition and consistently. Tomoki Iwata came on for him for the second half and looked assured. He’s here to make his mark.
Kyogo made it four nil before that with Gillespie making a hash of Abada’s cross and the Japanese forward finishing.
Funnily enough, Kyogo has been doing the same at the front post. Heading away free kicks, corners and throw ins. Effe gifted him the second. A heavy Ambrose touch inside his own box. Kyogo is too quick for him. He puts it away. Game well and truly over.
David Turnbull got the third with a shot from outside the box. The former Motherwell man is a class player. He gives you goals. But Hattate is arguably the best midfielder in Scotland. McGregor is top class. Mooy is getting better and better.
Half-time 4—0. Full-time 5—0. Easy enough. As Brendan Rodgers used to say, we’ve loads of wingers. But this time we’ve loads of terrific wingers, all of them in their own ways, game changers. Abada has the most goals. Jota the most trickery. I thought Maeda was the dud, but he’s proved me wrong. After the World Cup, he’s flying. He hit the bar today, and was unlucky with a turn and shot. We bought him and the other players from the Asian market for relative pennies.
We’ve also got stacks of class midfielders. The inclusion of young Scottish player of the year, Turnbull here wasn’t a shock, but it was a surprise. Iwata will push for a place.
Defensively is perhaps were we are weakest. I know we can use stats to say we aren’t. Starfelt is a diddy. He’s good enough for back-up and not an Ambrose, but we want better. Carter-Vickers is a certain starter. His partner might be Kobayashi. He did get bullied by Curtis Main, but there’s nothing new there. Kobayashi is quite simply a better passer than Starfelt and possibly Carter-Vickers. His passes on the left hand side zip to wingers and middle of the park. Our play speeds up with him in the team. That gives him a good chance of starting.
Beranabei, for now, stands in for Taylor. Johnston is the replacement for Juranovich. The Canadian is taller and more physical. He doesn’t seem to have the Croatian’s burst of pace. But we’ll wait and see if he’s better. He holds the jersey. All change at Celtic. Transfer policy remains the same, bring in the best and let them play. We look great when we’re winning. I forget what losing feels like. Long may it last. Thank God we no longer rely on the Effe’s on this world. I know how that feels.