Sandman’s Definitive Euro Ratings – Celtic at Lilley Savage


“Gooooooooool, akam Celteeek! Alibaba-kabbaa , lililekii, baddahakan,
Scott Brown, maddaa bassaa.’ Bein Sports Arabic commentator I had to listen to.

BANE – 8/10 MOTM

Supervillain turns superhero. Superman-ed a couple of early stunners and Karate Kid-ed an ecstatic penalty save; also found time to comically throw their battle giant a free shot at an open goal just for yuks. No chance with either of their two, though he almost blocked the first and the second was just a ridiculous universal-laws-of-physics mutant of a goal. Is he back with a blockbuster? The opening act has a lot of promise.

ALAN LADD – 5.5/10

Calamity just dogs him around the ranch at the moment. You wonder, too, if Mary would fall off him on the way to Bethlehem. When it’s not going your way, the brown stuff happens; like incompetent officials giving penalties for clumsiness outside the box; like failing to do your basic job and lose out on a set-piece header for their first goal. Credit that he kept his head and maintained reasonable positional awareness as the frenzy grew around our goalmouth; but certainly needs the presence of composed, organising defensive partner; how soon until the languid NBA stopper resurfaces? Not soon enough.

AJER – 6.5/10

Stalwart Northern wariror succumbs to… a blade in the ribs, an axe across the back? No, looked like a tug on his nuts. Solid until the irritating pull of whatever he’s pulled – another committed game where he stood tall against testing opponents.

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Great timing in the tackle and interception; a skill often overlooked. he’s fast and keen to engage, and not afraid to bust a lung going forward in support; again his only weakness was the waste of crosses from really good positions. But, hey, he’s game for swinging them in early.

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PINGPONG – 7.5/10

The wee mhan was stifled for the opening quarter, working back furiously as Lille pressed us, but once he got going and space opened up with Corpus shifting left, the right wing was his to burn. Gave their left side a torrid time of it, setting up the second, and delighting with some decent final balls at last; he’s been working on them as hard as he worked on his quality serve in the Bangkok backstreets.

BROON – 7/10

Captain of industry. Where would you be without a Broon to plant in the core of your formation like a berserker on a battlefield? Your defenders would be chasing shadows, that’s what. This was an example of why deploying a Broon may appall the aesthetic nuances of those who see football like an interior designer views crepe cushion covers.

Under pressure form a flamboyant French side, you have Broon in there to vent it off, marshal your critical midfield line and maintain a professional level of focus and organisation, coupled with a formidable mindset that won’t wilt or concede despite the possibility of being outnumbered and outplayed. What he and Calmac did for the first twenty minutes gave us a chance.

SAM JACKSON – 7/10 first half/ 4/10 second. Umm, divide that wi’ yer calculators

Sometimes players are born to muthutuckin’ frustrate. Looked like this Muthutucka had turned up for the big game – the Frenchman finding France after the grim bleakness of Dandy Donland, and he looked at home – pivoting our midfield to front with wit and adventure, opening loads of space for Elshag to profit. Then he went back into a muthutuckin fug after half-time – slippin’ around all lazy and lackadaisical, meaning we lost muthutuckin’ momentum and they got dominance of vital midfield territory. A god-daym shame we
get glimpses of such potential and then see it take an early seat.

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CALMAC – 7/10

Brilliant work – and that’s all he did; work, work, work. No chance to be guileful and cute, despite being our most adept. Tonight he was lashed to Broony deep in the engine room, shovelling coal into the furnaces and trying not to let the ship sink.


Re: Sam Jackson. The Saviour opened well, offering himself body and blood, then came the turn-around and he too mysteriously disappeared, sort of Holy Ghosted right out of it; a major factor in us losing a grip because suddenly they were unoccupied and free to push more bodies forward. Criminally ball-watching and lost his designated man at their corner, who drifted around Corpus and scored to pull a goal back.


Out of hiding and might have given them a hiding – two superb efforts, the first in particular of an orgasmic type seldom seen outside Parisien brothels of the early 20th century. But culpable with others in our creative force as the second-half began to run away from us. Due to some indecision on his part – amazingly clean in on goal from great runs twice early second period, inciting strained throats everywhere screaming for the killer strike. Fluffed the opportunities; Game-changing. Harsh? No, that’s his job; get it right, we’re cruising. So nearly, but…He didn’t. Fine lines.

THE YETI – 6/10

Batters about gamely, so no questioning his appetite; it’s just the quality of the end-product the jury’s still out on, particularly after Sunday. So what better tonight than for him to smash in the opener? Aaand…he skied it. Set faces terse everywhere as a vital chance was thrown away, but then redeemed himself with a nifty pickpocket of a defender to lay on Elshag’s opener. Any further optimism we had for a Yeti sensation evaporated beyond
half-time by our malfunctioning midfield-to-front and his service dried up, leaving him isolated and knackered.


BITTON – 6.5/10

Big Long Covid got the gig he might not have wanted – an early vital role to play when Ironside left the conflict. Unperturbed, he excelled with perfect interventions and, as we lived on a knife-edge, denied them in the box with more timely prods than a punctual ludge meeting.

ROGIC – 6/10

More sunshine promise from down under as he got stuck in for his cameo – would have been nice to cast the wizard in earlier and see if it upset their rhythm.

FRENCH EDDY – 6.5/10

Arrived back with silken promise, reprising some mini-slaloms that had the imaginary Celtic away support out of their imaginary seats. If only he’d had a kinder break of the ball a couple of times; Imagine.

WELSH – 6/10

Thrown in with no concession to his scarcity of years and his drill was to keep them at bay. Stood up to task well as Lille sought dramatic late victory.

MAN OF – 6/10

So did we get the shape of things to come as the skipper made way for the man who is touted as his replacement? We already have a hapless ‘White Efe Ambrose’ tanking the defence; contrarily, will we see the ‘Black Broon’ inherit the midfield general mantle? Took one for the team, Broon-style, that’s for sure and looked generally mean and ready enough; this will be interesting.

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LENNONY – 7/10

Twitter erupted in fury at his team selection for a game in a town none of the complainants could get within a hundred miles of pinning on a map. ‘Flamin’ France, right?’. But such is the age of entitlement we live in that even some among a Celtic support can over-react like bleating fannies missing a safe-space every time minutiae isn’t to their satisfaction. So tonight Lennony stuck to his guns and his men of faith faced down France’s big guns. He got the result his selection deserved – becasue many gave him the performance his belief warranted.

Maybe there’s still too much belief on his part as we tripped up second-half and he was reluctant to tinker, but he’ll travel home to Sunday’s quadruple treble showdown knowing that his chosen system worked when we were all in tune and that he matched Ligue A’s form team, taking them all the way. Whine about that, biatches.

OVERALL – 7.5/10

Well, on a night of twos, you can view it two ways – in the context of the result, or performance. Result, angst-ridden what-might-have-beens that most would have glady taken prior to kick-off. The performance? Terrific. France’s best side at home, who weren’t messing around, and after stabilising from a torrid start, Celtic
forced their way into a position of great strength. That we failed to hold on is one for the emotionally-sensitive to pine over and find their escaping goats; right to the death, the game may have gone either way.

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Our side was compartmentalised from the backline forward, Calmac and Broon labouring their socks off to deny space and time to the fleet-footed Lille midfield, Elshag and Sam Jackson tasked with creating something with whatever possession we had, The Yeti rustling giant defenders (‘Buttman’, lol) and Corpus floating about in and out their lines.

When that worked with all departments fulfilling their remit – latter part of first 45 especially – it was tremendous and allowed Pingpong to overlap against a retreating defence; we got just desserts and a handsome lead; the kind of lead the Bears will never know.

Second-half the creative function of the Celtic algorithm stuttered and faltered, lost rhythm and possession and control, and due to that we were pinned back and overrun. A defence with Calamity Shane was slim odds to keep Ligue A’s finest at bay, and so it fell into the ‘I flaming knew it/that was flaming coming…’ prophets’ domain to tarnish the, until then, surprisingly enjoyable evening for Bhoys everywhere. (You do know that The Celtic Star has to clear this up before publishing right?)

Still, you hope that the finest elements of this performance are a catalyst for the future; a Celtic side as a dynamic unit with real belief. Starting Sunday, it’s about time we dished out some of the harsh reality that we’ve been absorbing like domesticated pussies; let’s see a feral Celtic for the rest of the season, reborn in Europe, fittingly playing like Lions.

‘Mon the Hoops.

Go Away Now. Until the Sabbath (not you Nir…Day after…)


About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds 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

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