Sandman’s Definitive Ratings – Celtic 1 Copenhagen Cluj 3

SANDMAN’S DEFINITIVE RATINGS: CELTIC v COPENHAGEN CLUJ

“Beware of that dream, That rivetting Deja vu thing. Some might be astounding and some creepy and haunting.” SID

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THE WALL – 6/10

Didn’t have a save of note to make all night. Shipped three. Too often we look to the WonderWall to provide the miraculous; it looks like his Euro- magic is all used up this season after bailing out the suicidal incompetents in front of him once too often. Every goal was clinically dispatched, those gigantor limbs no match for sharp finishing.

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AJER – 3/10

Whit? Vikings going into battle like that would have met their end with the pygmies of Umboto Gorge. From his early booking which had him cavorting with gritted teeth somewhere around the right-back position to his demented contribution of missed header AND missed tackle for the ironic third Copenhagen goal – scored
by their biggest villain of the piece – Kris was a twitching meerkat, couldn’t time a tackle or pick a pass.

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JOZO – 3/10

If Gulag rules are applied, Jozo is being brutally treated in the showers as I write. A Sunday League error from our most no-nonsense defender. Mind-bogglingly erratic, blindingly clueless aberration that crashed our focus almost completely – although it shouldn’t have -and set up the most ignominious defeat of the season, trumping Cluj for utter tomfleckery.

Not a lot to say regards Jozo pulling the sort of baffling stunt Broony managed in that infamous CL qualifier, other than to find the Croatian translation of, ‘Jozo, what the actual, you know the rest…’

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JULLIEN CLARY – 6/10

Looked like he was winning the battle, then culpable in chucking the war. He surfed throught he first-half, Van Dijk-ing it everywhere, won everything, threw in some Hail Mary passes, top dog.

Then, crucially, he lost control of the line, failed to bully his hissy-fitting compatriots out of their scatty play and was dragged down to their level. Ultimate slap in the face to watch his big smirking nemesis plant the third.

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GREGGS THE BAKER – 7/10 MOTM

At least we had somebody still sharp after half-time. And that from a guy up at 4am to get the rolls spot-on. Great industry and endeavour, only lapsing in finding a final ball – story of the team, though. He passes the test.

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BROON – 6.5/10

90% on it, winning 90% of his challenges, wondering why the rest of the team were about 50% at the races. His growling presence was not enough as he tried valiantly but in vain to hold the midfield together.
He’ll rue maybe a last chance to make an impact in Europe slipping away so needlessly.

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ROGIC – 5/10

Showboating his way into the match as the first-half wore on, I was sure he’d come up like an Aussie in a crocodile fight and have them flailing by the tail as the game wore on. But he lapsed, lost impact, made a crucial error to gift them the break for their second and still looked half-a-yard off the correct pace to compete properly.

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ELSHAGYONLASSIE – 5.5/10

Read Rogic; smooth as silk as he tormented them first-half, becoming our main man for every break and telling bit of craft. Then evaporated like the British Empire soon as the colonies started fighting back with
anything more than pieces of fruit.

He’s apparently 8 million worht of EPL dynamism; well, he’s not one for my wish-list; accomplished, yes, but there’s a cadre of young Celts who can offer a more sustained threat than we’ve seen in his time with us.
Nice player but if we’re to get better results on the big stages, we need more bang for our bucks than he seems to offer when the chips are down.

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CALMAC – 4/10

THIS was his game. Perfect for Calmac to dictate play within a midfield set up for his quick-fire shuttling of the ball; perfect foil in Rogic, perfect release in the mercurial Elshagyonlassie.

He just didn’t do it. Best footballer on the park got stifled, knocked-off his game by hopeful journeymen. his touch was heavy as we screamed out for his precision in that second-half. He faded when he should have been our fulcrum; everything we did should have pivoted around him and they should have been whining for mercy as they tried to foul his shadow… But he was engulfed by mediocrity; a massive disappointment and a major fault in our malfunction.

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FORREST – 5/10

Sitter. Jasmesy should have given us the lead but shat the bed with the goal at his mercy. As basic as Jozo’s error – ALWAYS assume the defender will miss it; like play to the whistle – bang it in anyway. It flashed by him – how’d YOU like it, Jamesy?

In saying that he was industrious and wrestled us back into the game around the last fifteen, swinging momentum enough until the penalty.BUT… these are the games when someone of his class MUST make the
difference when we as a unit are toiling. He didn’t do enough against the level of opponent for a guy of his ability and reputation.

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FRENCH EDDY – 6.5/10

Zidane-ed 2006 the penalty. No World Cup final but Ice-Cold in Alex nonetheless as the Celtic nation fretted over which corner he should slam it in. The stage was then set for him to bag a glorious winner. For about 100 seconds…

Manfully battered his way around the line, lacking service for the most, missing a couple of good chances; but his pass for tonight is a given as we know he can be doubly as lethal given double the striking supoort… Chronically under-used in a crucial game.

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SUB:

GRIFF – 6/10

Denied hero status by a ridiculous save. Like you see at the five-a-sides from a fat keeper struggling on his arse. Maybe there would have been a different tale to tell if he’d started as per usual in 2020…

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LENNONY – 4/10

From the rhyming Calmac at left-back calamity of Cluj to the have-you-got-enough-fingers-to-count-his-bewildering-calls? v Copenhagen…

1) Rogic and Elshagyonlassie aren’t fit enough yet for the SPFL. Why should that be different against a decent Euro side?

2) One up front away in Europe, fine – and we still should have pumped them – but after savaging all before us with a 3-5-2 this decade, WTF reverting to lone striker and giving their anxious defence breathing space?

3) Who was right-back? Big Kris? How’d that work out for ya? Booked and struggling by half-time, targeted by Copenhagen every time they got forward. Faith was kept when a merciful swap was required.

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4) Rogic was out of steam halfway through the second half, yet he persevered. And then Big Oz’s legs went as he presented them with the winning break…

5) Right after we equalised why wasn’t the above hooked and precious seconds taken to re-organise, inject new energy, galvanise and dish out instruction; we let the chance to take control of the momentum slip,
introduce fresh legs to win it, and have them suffer under the pressure of a roaring, expectant stadium. Incredibly, we allowed THEM to press us.

Etc, etc. Ah, hell, Lennoy had his head in his hands as they papped us for two in the last five, as disbelieving as the rest of us. The financial markets had a sobering correction this week as many plans and investment
schemes were scorched by unforseen circumstances; this was Lennony’s mini-crash, another lesson in Europe for him and his side; that if you’re not at it for every minute, you’re a goner.

So go file it under ‘Mysterious Flaming Calamities I Should Have Avoided’, Lenonny, and seal the treble with one eye on the CL.

OVERALL – 3/10

Cluj. From glory to guff by our own hand. This Celtic team has been TOO good domestically for our European ambitions. In the SPFL we’re a 45-minute side, able to blow away and take care of rambunctious upstarts in a given half.

Mentally, we relax, unless there’s an opponent of prestige – a la Lazio, dispatched home and away with 90 minutes of concentrated deployment of talent and maximum effort.

Copenhagen sat and waited for a humping, twice, like the goats at a 12th of July party, and we let them keep their reputation intact, twice, by simply easing off when we should have been applying full throttle.

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Even with the switch to a lone striker at home for the first time since Black Xmas 2, we did eventually managed to find the tempo and dominance to pin them in and could have had a couple by half-time.

Thereafter… revert to mogadon. A golden chance at progression casually chucked away. No glorious defeat by glamorous superior opponents to reflect upon; just a frustrating reversal by an inferior side who, though surprised by their longevity in the competition, took their chances when it mattered.

Fair play to them, tragic undermining of our creditable Euro league campaign by us as we rebooted the traumas of August. Some movie don’t need a remake, and this was certainly one.

We didn’t even manage to be merely shambolic in the end – it was beyond that, more slovenly, dreadfully hapless and inexact like a junkie trying to fill out a prescription at the chemist’s while struggling to remember his own name or why the hell he’s there in the first place. Oh, yeah… Soccer… Too late; Bang, bang, you’re out. Did we not want to travel anymore for fear of coronavirus?

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Told you last week that Hans Christian Andersen was noted for NOT ending his fairytales as in the saccharine re-imagining we’ve known through Disney. Well, it looks like he’s pulled a shock, bitter ending out the hat again, sadly for us one co-written by the Brothers Grimm.

Sandman. Not going to flaming Poland in May after all.

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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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