Sandman’s Definitive Ratings – Celtic at Begbie’s Boudoir


“Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a flaming big television, choose Kyogo, Holm, Vata, and start putting a decent run together before the miserable smackhead Zombies get ideas. Choose a decent team in future. Choose life.” – Renton Rodgers, ‘Timspotting’ (1994)

ROXIE – 7/10 – Again! Saviour of the blushes on Saturday, saviour of the season tonight. Presence and instinct and big, big block to pop their bubble; we looked done but with a figurehead like the big mhan behind them, the bhoys could get their mettle together as he absorbed the pressure and delivered the inspiring stops.

DIEGO ARMANDO MARADONA – 6.5/10 – Ghod loves a trier, and D10S certainly is one – incessant willingness to get the ball and get at them. Carried us late in the game as coaching indoctrination stagnated our thrusts, yet the wee dude with the redneck wedge kept winding into the spaces and turning their lines; Didn’t know when he was beat; or moreso refused to be. Played, the gaucho kid.

WAYNE GRETZKY – N/A – Ooft! So lightning doesn’t strike twice? But there it was – same ground, almost EXACT same patch of turf that AJ got slabbed on earlier in the season. What were the odds? Where was the card for a dangerous, directed header into his skull? Now we’re down a right-back, with the only compensation that he won’t be called up for Stanley Cup duty…. Get well soon, Moose.

OF JUSTICE – 5.5/10 – As with his defensive counterpart, Scales & Welsh – sounds like a Limerick fishmongers – settled well into a comfortable understanding first 45, building play and thwarting Hibs forays. But like Raquel, he got all shook up by Elvis Boyle and the soul boys’ second-half reprise. However, Liam wins the Ginger Emily Pankhurst award for selflessly throwing himself into the thundering hooves to get a block on a certainty.

RAQUEL – 5.5/10 – Cool as a fur bikini doon Leith Walk first half; grown in confidence with the manager’s belief in him. Started to quake a bit when they got aggressive second half and yet again injury curtailed his match.

CALMAC – 5.5/10 – Why is Calmac not so influential, they ask/complain/moan? Because with our recent midfield shape, he’s been an isolated man alone for stretches of the game. Just watch a clip from any game previous two seasons and see the available bodies and angles within various ranges when he’s in possession. Then contrast it with the solo water-carrying he’s had to add to his game, then deduct that energy expended from the required amount to spark creative play and you’re a neuroscientist looking at his performance and remarking, ‘Fair enough, did what he could given the overwhelming numbers’.

SAINT BERNARDO – 5/10 – A night of Paulo v Walsh as he tore about desperately seeking an opening, only to be penalised for every contact, and occasionally even just for the idea forming in his prefrontal cortex. Wasted in an advanced role hustling for space and scraps; better coming from deeper with timing.

THE BUILDER – 4/10 – Matty! Matty? Has anyone seen Matty? I did – fleetingly, around the periphery of the game. Out of synch and out of touch – a dip in form that sees him displaced from being jungle cat to perimeter cat; haste ye back.

LORD KATSUMOTO – 6/10 – You’re next, Daizen; don’t check yer messages -‘Things that happened while you were away’ folder is full of sweary haikus from Kyogo. Only thing keeping you in a shirt is that you can run til the apocalypse, that you’re the workhorse he needs. And for the first half he showed how much we’ve missed his tenacity. Somehow, we decided not to utilise him properly after the break and he faded amid that mystery.

DUNCAN IDAHO – 7.5/10 MOTM – Our saviour? No, our 6-month foster child, to be given back to the webbed-feet Partridge XI select in the summer. Back-up to the back-up, we presumed. So why does he get the Celtic centre forward starting jersey? Simple – your elite manager fancies him over your 115 appearances, 65 goals, penalty-box viper. So, embittered footballing politics aside, the bhoy, despite snipers ready to take him down, did the only thing he could – what he’s paid to do.

Skelped in those two pens with a consummate efficiency totally alien to his teammates. In between, he was lining up for the evening’s hall of villainy as two glorious opportunities were squandered while we toiled. But good strikers do what they do WHEN the pressure’s on, and kudos to the big fella for that, in spades. Never stopped the churn and got his reward. He may salvage our title bid, and we may salvage his career.

TAKINTE – 2/10 – Never again show a nice, disciplined German boy Trainspotting as prep for a visit to Leith.Terrified, he was. Never again. Y’hear that, Gavin Strachan? You and yer laptop por… ‘movie collection’. Never again…


KILLER MUSHROOM – 6.5/10 – “Kyogo needs a rest.”…”Kyogo needs to get his shootin’ boots on.” Maybe Kyogo needed some service; This piece of rocket science didn’t come via Oppenheimer, merely the tactically obvious ploy of the previous manager to provide his Japanese assassin with as many chances as we could. And now he’s cast into the fray as gamble in the number 10 spot; only Kyogo could do what Kyogo does and make enough of an impact to win the penalty; commitment and zip and nous. Well done, wee mhan.

ABADASS – N/A – The hell are you doing?! #1. Came on, bumbled about, conceded more fouls than he had touches of the ball.

BRIAN DE – N/A – The hell are you doing?! #2. Part of a zany sub-wingers double act specialising in late game sabotage, appearing at the Edinburgh fringe this year as the Dimwit Brothers.

APOLLO CREED – 5.5/10 – Rocky by name, not by nature, thankfully, as he entered the frey and made sure he was the one at the back who could actually divert the ball away from our goal…

TONY THE TIGER – 6/10 – Quickest sub appearance in his career, just beating the last time AJ got panned in Pan Alley. Thought Tony did alright, considering the pace and strength he came up against as our midfield evaporated.

THE SHNAKE – 5.5/10 – And so it is done – the neutralisation of his predecessor’s jewel in the crown; starved, exhausted, and benched. What price ego in football? Answer: roughly 20 goals less. Timely changing of the guard as you head to a ground you haven’t won at, in desperate need of a win…What price logic and risk?

Answer: this is football. Sometimes, like tonight, you’d be as well asking Leigh Griffiths to give you a Tarot reading while he explains the theory of relativity and hypothetical alien civilisations’ dimensional weapons, than waste time on a gameplan. Just go out and play, is about as much as he could have said to the disparate bunch he’d assembled to get the season back on track.

And while his turgid malfunctioning system was making us all feel like tapping up a vein with the locals, the sun shone on Leith (/’Teeth’) for once when Buck was in town. New striker nails a pen double, with substitute deadly selfless superhero providing the assist for the last-ditch winner. Ange got called a Lucky Man. This season’s tune might yet be Fortunate (prodigal) Son.

MIBBERY – 3/10 – LOL, for us means laugh out loud, for them Loyal Ora… You know the rest. Tonight, LOL at VAR having to intervene at the death because Sky Sports had us live. They’d let the Hibees off with brutality from the AJ decapitation to the moment Kyogo got his shin splintered. Justice served cold and sweet.

OVERALL – 5/10 – Before we proceed – an opinion of mine, not to be found in SMSM circle-jerks over the Zombies: They crapped it last night. To forensically dissect that intellectual treatise, let me point out the pre-match hyperbole: they were going to savage the Dons and take a triumphant place at the summit, never to be dislodged.

Two clear goals would have done it. But once again – and once again unremarked upon – they FAILED. That big game bottle cracked as they faced a browbeaten Sheep side, run by Colin Spanker – one of their own – and backed by 50,000 stinking troglodites marinated in generational hate, vibrating with unhealthy excitement. All dark stars aligning and they still couldn’t get it over the line. But, shh, don’t tell them. Reality will strike soon enough. And we better be ready to pounce.

Part of that is finding ways to win at places that haunt us. Like tonight. Like that common football phrase, ‘winning ugly’. But we couldn’t even manage that. We ‘won Craigy Whyte.’ Just as terrible form can curse a season, so can ridiculous good fortune turn it. From Hibs missing golden moments to our loan signing being the one who can dispatch a penalty with no more fuss than Clint Eastwood gunning down the Rojo gang in Fistful of Dollars.

We got flukey. We might now have run out of fluke. Time for the bhoys to bounce back in spite of their coaching and dispel this faltering run by dispensing some merciless hidings.

Go Away Now


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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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