Thank goodness, the real football is back, and that the International nonsense is over for a while! Yes, yes, I know I am saying that because Scotland don’t have a team (and are getting progressively worse) but there are others in other countries who have similar feelings!
So to New Douglas Park, or whatever it is currently called. A few lessons to be learned from this game, one feels, but the bottom line is that we won and gained three points. The main lesson to be learned, of course, is when you go one up against an apparently poor team, go for another one immediately after, and kill the game. Then we can have loads of showboating and crossfield passing, but we were all too aware that a mistake at the back could have cost us dearly. Give Hamilton credit, they did fight and as we often say, if they played like that against everyone else, things would be a lot different for them.
Hamilton are a club I have respect for. Punching away above their weight in the Premiership, they seem to have an ability to bring on youngsters that is the envy of a lot of clubs with a fraction of their resources.
But, to return to an old hobby horse of mine, why did I see empty seats in the stand which could well have been filled by people like myself who could not get a ticket for the Celtic end or the gazebo, and decided to watch it on TV?
No that TV coverage is a fate worse than death, of course. Of course not, and Stephen McManus is a welcome addition!
So where did things go wrong? Well, of course, they didn’t really go wrong at all – even though the main mood of the supporters was one of disappointment. I would have loved to have seem more shooting from a distance as Jamesie did in the second half.
That was hard luck, and we needed a lot more such efforts. Edouard once more does not shine when the play is tight. He is a wonderful finisher when he runs on to a ball (two weeks ago at Ibrox, and last season’s Scottish Cup final spring to mind) but his strength is not getting in a toe poke through a forest of legs.
One or two slightly disappointing performances but no-one was “a disgrace” “a shocker” or “a joke” as social media hyperbolically often puts it. There are a few mitigating factors – the pitch (we all prefer grass, but we have to cope with artificial sometimes), a return from an International break where bad habits are often learned, and the fact that so many players have not played with each other all that often.
Elyounoussi looks as if he is worth another go, although the longer the game went on, the less one saw of him. Bolingoli was possibly our weakest player, and I look forward to seeing our new recruit from Kilmarnock soon.
Possibly Stephen Craigan in the first half got it right when he said that “Celtic must not allowed themselves to get bored”. This was what happened in the second half. We should have kept it going the way we played the first quarter of an hour. As it was, there was a slow decline which we never really reversed. But we won 1-0, and have 3 points.
So Rennes on Thursday. Are we going to see the much longed for “step up” in Europe? We have waited a long time to see a good Celtic performance in Europe. We need a certain arrogance, I feel, and a certain feeling of entitlement to a good performance. What we don’t need is the “We’re Scottish, so we will have to lose” sort of servility! Rise, Celtic, rise! 6.00 Thursday pm on BT Sport. I believe.