Sandman’s Definitive Ratings – Celtic at Ayrshire Favela

SANDMAN’S DEFINITIVE RATINGS: CELTIC @ AYRSHIRE FAVELA…

“Champions are made from something they have deep inside of them – a desire, a dream, a vision.” – Muhammad Ali

ROXIE – 7/10 – The monumental, terrifically mental, Joe Hart. Or Joe Hair, as he’s fondly known in tonsorial circles. Three in a row for Big Joe and every one thoroughly deserved, this title in particular being in large part thanks to his diamond hands and ultimate professionalism as the big games’ big moments produced the big saves to completely alter our fates.

Tonight he partook in more five-a-side action than keeping but still pulled off a couple of classic Joe stops and gave us a hart-in-mouth (sic) moment when he lay in a crumpled heap. Thankfully it was just his hip replacement dislodging on the stickle-bricks and the physio was able to knock it back into place with a rubber mallet. Phew.

GREGGS THE BAKER – 6.5/10 – Not too bad at his place of origin, being up against their tricky wee winker; sorry, ‘winger’. He narked at Greggs all night, who handled his showboating fugazi antics well, eventually showing him up for what he is – a juniors-level metrosexual sand-dancer who you’d find hanging around the hospitality lounge late on a Saturday night, phished on blue Wicked, looking for a favour from the chairman’s MILF wife.

WAYNE GRETZKY – 7/10 – The overlapping moose got his skates on for one big plastic-rink effort and did hockey proud with some excellently-timed powerful surges that caused havoc and brought him a crucial assist for the killer ‘yes-we’re-going-to-do-it’ second. Mentally, he’s smart and focussed when needed – the consumate pro to help get the bhoys through conditions like these.

OF JUSTICE – 8/10 – A bow required. Acid test for the Ginger Baresi early on which he survived with two great, brave defensive headers. Then remained assured. We knew then he had his combat heid on, and it appeared as though he’d donned the rocket boots too, as a fellow Irishman’s super save denied him a scorcher in front of the support that would have deservedly crowned a fantastic season.

GET CARTER – 8/10 – Monsters Inc are missing an enforcer. Too big an occasion to sacrifice the Big Mhan, so it was go play on the reconstituted-rubber-doll ‘pitch’ and hope for the best. He was immense, driving the team from deep when required, building around their high press, and leaving a Sunday League special dunt on their hulking centre-forward that diffused his enthusiasm for the contest after about half an hour. I did have the popcorn in the microwave for his revenge upon the Irish Lundstram who’d attempted to dismember Reo, but that was just another bowl-scalped-bearded-medieval-dung-shoveller fashion victim who lost his appetite for confrontation when the going got champions-rough. The doss..

CALMAC – 8/10 – The skipper on a mission. And what sublime quality he added as well as his characteristic verbal encouragement. Vibrant Calmac means vibrant Celtic, and here was the display to end the league season in swashbuckling style – prompting, drumming up a rhythm with the GB tom-toms that had Killie – and you – breathless while he orchestrated their crushing demise.

HAKUNA HATATE – 6/10 – NOT Reo’s pitch. He struggled on Saturday – was singled out by the boss for giving away possession too easily. Tonight, he raised his game a bit after a poor start and began to look more like the Reo we know; although the assault on him might have knocked a bit out of his mettle. A red, it was. VAR cowards. But Reo toughed it out – surprising to see him fulfill the 90. Here’s hoping the minutes tune him up for Hampden.

THE BUILDER – 9/10 MOTM – Cometh the hour, cometh The Handsome to dazzle more Zombies and sicken the hearts of darkness. So sharp, guileful and impactful – the swish and the swagger in his game has carved the SPL up these past vital months and tonight was a Matty masterclass in movement, positioning and delivery. Not to mention finishing. This bhoy will very likely take a shot down south, or in a top five league, but will leave us with about 30 million bucks (minumum) and the warmest and most spectacular memories of a young superstar in the making. The bhoy is a FOOTBALLER.

LORD KATSUMOTO – 7.5/10 – Dazen the prophet! Muad ‘Dib! As foretold. As written – by Daizen on X last night, if you missed it: ‘Tomorrow we will be champions!’. And also Daizen the goalscorer and provider. Zip, power and joy were his tools of the trade tonight; a torrid time he gave them and a terrific time he gave us.

JAMESY – 7/10 – Scoring in Killie? The Prestwick Pele’s nipped up the road and done it more times than your average Elvis impersonator – who the Killie wummin folk still believe is the real thing. News travels slowly in Burns country. Jamesy’s also notched a few goals there too, and got his reward tonight with a delicious tap-in right in front of the away stand; another photo-frame moment from a glittering career. Like Saturday, like the rest of this run-in, the much-maligned legendary figure has ghosted in from the cold and ramped the Celtic heat right up when we most needed a catalyst like Jamesy. The electricity hasn’t subsided in this ageing dynamo yet as he showed by forcing them onto the back hoof early and dazzling with intricate linking and footwork. Moaaar please, The Flash!

DUNCAN IDAHO – 8.5/10 – He nailed it. And them. Tremendous centre-forward play from the rampaging Corkonian, putting in the shift of his Celtic tenure. He rolled and then he rocked – sparking delirium with the
5th minute opener and proceeded to be the perfect out-ball to beat their press with direct incisive running, offering across the frontline every time we needed him. Killie defence failed to handle his power, not withstanding the moments of guile he added – beautiful take, turn and slip to play Daizen in for Jamesy’s climax. Been a while since a loanee has quite made the impact required to bring home a title (I’m phished and can’t remember; fill in that blank yerself…), but he’s written himself into Celtic history on a number of occasions now and it wouldn’t be a surprise if there’s more to come once Brendan pickpockets Desmond at the end-of season bash.

SUBS –

KILLER MUSHROOM – 6/10 – An elusive away goal still eludes. Bad luck and decent saves foiled him. But he’s done enough; exactly what it said on the Sake can: “タイトルは彼のブーツの中にある” I had five. With Guinness chasers; the perfect Celtic title combination.

TONIO IWATAO – N/A – Like the weekend – on, smash, tidy up, smile, celebrate.

SAINT BERNARDO – N/A – Matty’s clone thrown in. Passes it out the park, gives away a free-kick. Then remembered who his genome came from and produced a few sparkling moments.

BRIAN DE – 6/10 – Great defensive work. Yes, you heard that – somebody’s been working on his input levels… Backed up a tired Greggs, then showed the strange-haired Armstrong (never achieving the bouffantery levels of Stuart…) how to shimmy and wing play.

TAKINTE – N/A – His first visit to darkest Ayrshire and must have felt he’d stepped into a Grimms’ fairytale; Where the witch’s carpet was made out of the eyelashes of cannibalised children. And he wouldn’t have been far wrong…

THE SHNAKE – 9/10 – Twice bitten, thrice shy. Absolutely nailed his third trip to Toontown with the tactical nous we’ve expected more of, but should be thankful he’s found in his locker to get the job done. He sounded cocky – steady, Jamesy – all this past fortnight, teasing the serial losers across the way with his cheeky-chappie shtick and raising a few eyebrows round ours with his brash certitude; he was convinced, but were we? Yes, that bravado rubbed off on the squad and he got his sprint over the line with one of the displays of
the season, that showcased his class as a manager.Redemption? Not yet – that effective Champions League participation is still to manifest, but now he can build towards it, with the right tools for a man formerly regarded as a tool, who’s back to racking up the FIGT’s (Feen Ian Goodwill Tokens) like his teams have racked up trophies.

MIBBERY – 4/10 – Don ‘The Don-Don-Don’ Rubberbrain is colour-blind. Only excuse, surely, for a yellow rather than red as Reo’s ankle sought to detach from his tibia. And the DOB on VAR obviously couldn’t make out the screen through bitter tears. I’d like to have heard their reasoning for ignoring that attempt at ending a career but the only sounds from the officials’ dressing room at half-time were sobs of despair. It’s been a long slog for them this season. Pity their failure to stop the Green Machine. So they’ve the oranje walk of shame to endure down the ludge after the Cup Final. Which I believe involves copious nudity, goats (obviously), Babycham slushies, and some horned-up insidious harridans in sashes; who won the chance to participate through something called the ‘peg-a-ref raffle’. Best of luck.

OVERALL – 9/10 – The display to dispell the evil spirits. The harpies had gathered after Dundee’s heroin and cocaine speedballs kicked in at 2-0 last night and the greatest-team-in-the-wuruld-Mk99 had captured headlines around the globe by smashing in five for the end-of-season DVD release “The Cowards’ Comeback”. So with talk of last-day shootouts and goal-difference-powered helicopter attacks, how did we feel about that?

Just CHAMPION, that’s how, Zombies. Hello to the ubiquitous Zombie lurkers. That’s 54. Next year we’re ‘Going For 55′ – a number dear to the wild imaginations of Zombies everywhere – and which I hope to see spelled out across our North Stand seats…Tonight was a Celtic title-clinching performance for the ages; a dynamic, dynamite thrillfest of football played at pace and speed on one of the worst surfaces known since Neil Armstrong stepped off the lunar lander, stamped down, and grunted to Buzz Aldrin, “Heaven’s sake, this’ll no’ take a flamin’ stud…”

There were no nerves on display, certainly not on the park where the bhoys went at them like Jamesy with a season ticket to a house of disrepute, led by aforementioned world-class chap in a simply devastatingopening half that shook Killie and their Subbuteo stadium to the core. Wouldn’t have shaken so much had ye sold us another stand, would it, Ayrshire Zombies?

The football we played was the most fitting tribute to the great, glorious, Mr.Celtic himself, Tommy Burns, remembered in a stunning tifo and honoured on the park he once graced. Well, when it was grass… I saw about every game of Tommy’s fluid, exciting Celtic sides, and but for killer instinct and their inancial skullduggery, his silverware haul would have been be epic. May Ghod Bless him.

There are ways to win leagues and while we’ve uncharacteristically struggled at the most inconvenient times, finally we got it together to deliver a coruscating run-in and another history-making victory. Tonight capped it all, consigned the miserable games to be merely distasteful blows rather than agonising wounds from which we bled out and lost our grip on the trophy. We finally found a Celtic we’ve been searching for all season, with the sense a plan IS actually being implemented, albeit delayed, and maybe not too
cunning…

Champions. Champions League. We’re having a laugh. Yes, dear Zombies, we certainly are. All the way to the bank, the trophy cabinet and historical milestones. Feel that JHOY!

Go Away Now

Sandman

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 editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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