Celtic And The Green Brigade Improvement Bodes Well For The New Year…
Celtic fans benefited on two fronts yesterday – a much improved performance from the team, and a yardstick from the returning Green Brigade.
First, to the footie. Brendan benched both David Turnbull and Mikey Johnston, replacing them with Paulo Bernardo and Daizen Maeda. The former was an energetic upgrade, the latter yet to find his feet after a spell on the sidelines.
All in all, it was a vast improvement from the team in terms of authentic energy and drive. Despite the first half merely yielding merely two shots on target, it has to be noted that a high tempo strategy was nullified by a wall of living stones, a packed defence who threw themselves into tackles and a ‘keeper who got in the way of everything thrown at him.
Despite this, there were occasions where Celtic should have scored with a series of mis-hits and uncertainty in front of goal, most prominently from star men, Kyogo and O’Riley. The wee man and the big man worked tirelessly, but fortune and glory evaded them when it mattered, in front of goal.
This was rectified only one minute after the break though when a sumptuous cross-ball from the energetic Palma found the Japanese lurking with intent at the back post, and Kyogo broke his recent drought with an predatory finish. His celebration appeared to say it all, ‘I’m relieved and delighted!’ The fans loved it.
Finally Celtic broke another duck, a goal from a corner, something which has irked the fans for weeks now and from provider-general and Man of the Match, Luis Palma’s excellent delivery it was the red head of Liam Scales which looped a superb header into the far corner of the net to secure the points for the Hoops.
This addition to Liam’s game will do him no end of good, and hopefully his fellow combatants at the back will take note and emulate.
Despite the vast statistical dominance over a stubborn, but less than ambitious west Lothian outfit, there is still work to be done if Calmac’s squad is to convert possession into goals. There is still a lack of clinical efficiency, and if we are to retain our title we must improve, especially with the final through ball.
But, we won! It’s a vital three points and we are gradually improving in almost all areas of the pitch. With the imminent return of Reo Hatate and Liel Abada, and Kyogo hopefully ‘back’, there is hope. Maeda seems to be a shadow of himself as he attempts to ‘race’ for the crown, but the Osaka flyer can still go past a man, and hopefully he will create more chances and up his skill level as his fitness improves in the oncoming weeks.
Off the park, the Green Brigade made a much-vaunted return to the corner. They were loud and they were clearly happy to be back. Did they improve the team’s performance? I believe they did. Their energy and vibe clearly galvanised the players and the overall performance was more driven than in previous weeks.
There is still a concern over some of the banners they flaunted which will no doubt be noted by the beaks who had an agreement as a condition of their return, but I’ll put that aside for now.
HOWEVER, THE MAIN THRUST OF THEIR IRE REVOLVED AROUND THE MASS SLAUGHTER OF INNOCENTS AND THE INCESSANT BRUTALITY OF THE ISRAELI ARMY TOWARDS A WHOLE NATION, MEN, WOMEN (PREGNANT OR OTHERWISE), CHILDREN AND NEW-BORN BABIES IN THEIR BID TO ERADICATE AN ENEMY WITHIN PALESTINE. THEIR BOMBING AND SHOOTING HAS BECOME INDISCRIMINATE, AND SICKENING TO ANYONE WITH A HEART.
The whole world looks on in horror as a mass genocide takes place in Gaza without a second glance from rogue/corrupt politicians who’s remit appears to be, ‘Who cares, let’s follow the money and serve ourselves!’
The fact the myopic bystanders are mainly from the UK and the USA, so-called Christian countries (!) is intolerable, and The Green Brigade have chosen to stand on the side of righteousness and have taken the moral high ground on this occasion. I, and every other person who abhors this political evil will applaud them.
“Many homes, they are sad tonight,
They whisper someone’s name by the candlelight.”
— Football Fans Against Fascism (@Class1Action) December 23, 2023
From the song “A Prisoner’s Christmas” with an added line at the bottom 🙏 pic.twitter.com/7yPPUKB8TT
— Matt McGlone (@MattMcGlone9) December 23, 2023
Christmas is only one day away and normally at this time of year we look back and analyse our progress, or regression. We have seen both from Celtic Football Club recently, but I’m sure many will take heart from yesterday’s game. Of course, we are not close to being the finished article, but with a win under our belt we go to Dundee on Tuesday before welcoming the challenge of a resurgent Ibrox outfit next weekend.
These results will determine whether we will genuinely have a Happy ‘Sporting’ New Year, but in the meantime I, and all the authors of The Celtic Star wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas. What happens around the world is out of our hands, but what we do in our own homes changes our own little corner of it. I hope it’s a fantastic one for you and your loved ones.