Ibrox, here comes Brendan’s Waterloo

Napoleon was a great general. Had a bit of a record.

At Waterloo he suffered ‘posterior tenderness’. Piles by modern standards. Apparently he couldn’t even get on his horse to address the troops such was his affliction.

Such was his previous success even his inability to appear in front of his troops didn’t wain from his confidence to produce. He directed from a distance. Mind elsewhere. Confident.

The philosopher Nietzsche admired Napoleon for having invented the concept of a scientific ‘total war’

The author Stephen Clarke told the story of how the french won Waterloo (or think they did).

To the French, clearly, Napoleon is so esteemed that his name simply cannot be associated ‘with anything as shameful as defeat’

So with that in mind I Move on today. 12 great battles undefeated can breed arrogance.. it did.

How else do you explain the battle plan..

So we begin (for the sake of artistic licence) at Pittodrie on Wednesday. We pull in the big guns after a good wee run against the also rans of Scottish Premiership.

Mikey J rips it up against Dundee but is benched against historical pretenders the Dandy Dons a real test. Perfect sense.

We play Christie as a floating or false 9 in the absence of a fully fit Eduourd (makes the bench) . Dons go man for man and with Sinclair drifting off the left we create mayhem around their backline. It’s perfect in places. As long as you ignore our left back liabilities on the break with Izzy diving in conceding an idiotic pen or having to resort to Hayes (suddenly thrust into the limelight) or the fact we relied almost entirely for 20 mins on French Eddy turning the game, Or our dizzying ability under pressure to miss passes in our defensive third or often out the park altogether.

We also have the opportunity to realise inviting teams onto us isolates our defensive inadequacies and magnifies them to a TV audience. Mincing around the back believing Gordon is a sweeper or that Brown’s last injury wasn’t a the last one he can return from, Lustig can cope with anything running off or him that Boyata is so rusty he needs a close partner from full backs or a sitting midfielder who can take possession and turn the game.

Phew at least we have 3 days to show Lustig, Gordon, Boyata (whoever plays left back) and centre midfield pick up is exposed to a high press. Thank goodness we had a heads up, we had the opportunity to right our wrongs before we play the ne’erday clash..

We get away with it. But Napoleon will know. He has learned just in time. Just in time to learn from mistakes. Like any good leader. The hand is administering the cream on the piles.

Except…we don’t learn. Not even close…here comes our Waterloo.

We decide to remove the most effective central Scottish midfielder in McGregor and place him at left back despite having Tierney on the bench (so I assume could have played at least some part, else why on the bench?) Even if not we have Izzy or Hayes don’t we? I guess not.

We play our old master Brown for experience I assume alongside Ntcham. At least the 20 minute cameo Aberdeen nails on French Eddy with an automatic start.

Napoleon advises in pre match interviews Edouard can play an hour at the most so he benches him and plays Mikey Johnston up front on his own. Rested against Dons but thrust into Ibrox. No I couldn’t figure either.

For the first 5 minutes we actually get forward Christie fizzes past post. Good start. When we get forward we look OK.

When they do we look awful. No over-powered..

Gordon shows he’s not employed as a sweeper after all but purely as the man to save us from embarrassment with his hands, legs baws, eyebrows. we are battered. He is our saviour.

And so the onslaught comes.

Off the line, hit the bar. Invite trouble with an inability to pass water. Kent (best player on the park) leaves Lustig asking a copper to let him back in (the hat helped) and Ryan Jack nutmegs Brown to score. Been coming.

So I could go into the 2nd half but sadly McGregor remained our best player from left back. We couldn’t bring on Tierney as Lustig got a kick in the back. Therefore Brown continued pretending he shouldn’t have retired.

Ajer had to come on for a terminal looking Benkovic. French Eddy came on pretending it wasn’t the lack of service that make Mikey J look the sacrificial lamb. The evidence suggested otherwise. Other than that a half fit Christie was the best we had to offer. Gordon’s hands rather than feet were the only other positives.

The only point of note is Rangers are poor, Despite the tactical naivety they could have drawn bar a dubious offside against McGregor though had it counted Dick Turpin may have been considered next week for the false 9.

Not saying for a minute the boss was afflicted, more his mind was elsewhere.

Unforgivable for any leader at Waterloo or in a derby. Maybe it’s Castagne, maybe it’s Weah, maybe its a whizz of centre halves, full backs, strikers and replacing Brown swimming around his head. Either way the pain in the arse stopped him getting on his horse today. His mind was off the job.

A leader knows.

Lustig is done. Brown hasn’t got in him to retire himself, McGregor needs to be shown more respect that punted around the park.

He’s our Pirlo with Brown or Ntcham beside him. Not instead.

The best leaders learn from errors or hold there hands up to complacency and correct it.

There is still time and historically enough in the bank.

To return to the original point. To the French, Napoleon was so esteemed that his name simply could not be associated ‘with anything as shameful as defeat’

Get over the piles. Get back on the horse.

A battle is lost. The war is there to be won. It starts with the Emporer.

Niall J

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

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