Hibs Boss says Celtic’s Ball Boys are World Class

“You’re not just playing the XI, you’re playing the ball boys who are world class,” Hibs boss, Lee Johnson…

Hibs boss Lee Johnson has said what every manager in the Scottish Premiership (well, with the exception of one, thinking back to early September and that 4-0 skelping)  has realised, that the ball-boys at Celtic Park play an incredibly important role in maintaining Celtic’s high tempo football that visiting Scottish sides simply can’t live with.

Inredibly the Hibs boss singles out the Parkhead ball-boys as a key threat for his side in tomorrow afternoon’s league match at Celtic Park describing them as ‘world class’.

Celtic v Motherwell – cinch Premiership – Kyogo Furuhashi scores the first goal during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday October 1, 2022. Photo Will Matthews

We recently watch a Motherwell side do all that it could to disrupt Celtic’s momentum at throw ins, goal kicks and set pieces. They were even time-wasting after they got a goal, presented to them through a mix-up between Josip Juranovic and Joe Hart who had rushed off his line to collect the ball to maintain the momentum only for the Croatian international right-back to chest the ball back towards the vacant Celtic goal.

Celtic v Motherwell – cinch Premiership – Reo Hatate celebrates with teammates after scoring Celtic’s second goal during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday October 1, Photo Will Matthews

At just about every throw in, for either side, Motherwell attempted to hold onto the ball, or make sure there were two on the pitch and as an aside zero time was added at the end of that first half by referee John Beaton.

St Mirren, on their own patch had control of their boy balls and the instructions in Paisley were clear, be in no hurry to give them the ball, and this certainly caused frustration among the Celtic players.

The truth is that Celtic in full flow is a fearsome prospect for any Scottish Premiership side and the widespead plan will be to take as much pace out of the game as possible and that’s where the ball boys come in. At Celtic Park they are well versed on the needs of the Ange-ball style of relentless, we never stop football, and when opposing manager’s list them as a thread then you know that it is working.

“The big challenge for us is obviously if we can implement that on such a big stage and against such a good side. You are not just playing Celtic sometimes, we’re just playing the eleven, we’re playing the ball boys as well which are world class, let me tell you,” Johnson said at yesterday’s media conference.

Hibernian Manager Lee Johnson during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Hibernian and Aberdeen at Easter Road,  on 17 September 2022. Photo Stephen Dobson PSI

“So the tempo that they create, and it’s all admiration for the club and the set-up, at the same time it’s a big test and I’ve promised that we’ll go into every game with the intention of winning it and this won’t be any different. It’s a big task for us.

“It is a big challange, I want to see whether we can cope with that challenge. We’re at the very early stages of where I see us and how we can develop  and where we can be and there are a lot of signs that we are playing the game the way we want to play, but obviously it is fine-tuning,” the Hibs manager said.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

Comments are closed.