Sandman’s Definitive Ratings – Celtic at Fairy Tale Land. A draw, almost a defeat, snatched from the jaws of glorious victory

SANDMAN’S DEFINITIVE RATINGS: CELTIC @ Fairy Tale Land

“Aye, did ye ken I wrote one aboot the Zombies? Me and Nostradamus, steamin’ – whit a night that wis.

Big man said to me – ‘Hans, ya dhick, I’m tellin’ ye – he’ll be called King and fleece aw they dumb undeid fur millions.’ An’ Ahm like – surely no’ but I’ll write somethin’ anyway fur a laugh.

An’ we called it, ‘The Emperors New Clothes’.”

Hans Christian Andersen.

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THE WALL – 8/10

Expected more trouble but was a spectator for most of the first 45. No nonsensical Brendanista pick-a-pass phish; first sign of trouble he was going long with remarkable accuracy. Then came the turnaround and his night got busy. But The Wall stops them all – stunning pen save; down so quick I was looking for a falling beanstalk and a wee guy called Jack with an axe sneaking away.

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AJER – 7/10

Refused to travel with the team and instead took a longboat into Copenhagen harbour like his forefathers. At this point we lost Griff who had gone with him as shipmate. He was last seen diving overboard at the harbour entrance after yelling about ‘a naked burd on a rock’.

Tourist authorities assured visitors that the Little Mermaid statue will be replaced after a clean-up.

The loss at sea seemed to affect Kris early on as he was caught on the ball, not for the first time in Europe; needs to adjust his sharpness for these occasions. But because of the young stalwart he is, his recovery was notable – timing and great feet on show as he took responsibility. Particularly good with his concentration when we were under siege late in the game. Professionalism in abundance for such youth.

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JULLIEN CLARY – 9/10 MOTM

How much damage can a dreadlocked top-knot do? Enough to rock le rocher as Senegal psycho N’Doye left a twisting head in the big homme’s face. Left him bruised, bloodied, but undaunted. Another display which showcased his defensive guile, yet augmented by grit and commitment. As we threatened to fold like the centre page of the magazine El Fluffalo picked his missus from, the big French Fancy was simply magnifique.

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PINGPONG – 6/10

Thought he was on a trip to Legoland, ends up starting. Seven games out showed as Pingpong looked a tad displaced. But he’s game and scrapped his way into things after being caught lingering out of position a number of times. However, the highlight of his match was his shock win in the man-most-unlikely-to-make-a-last-ditch-saving-header contest with a dramatic late intervention to deny them a winner.

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HAYES – 7.5/10

Jonny hasn’t been in Denmark since the Scanian wars of the 17th century, so he was a little disappointed with the passivity of the locals first-half. Things changed after the interval and it was Jonny stretched to the limit as they surged at him. But, in the trenches – or medieval slaughterhouse – and all that, you have the guys you rely on to tough it out; precisely what he did, emerging at intervals to pose a threat as well, delivering a killer ball for the Eddy late chance.

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BROON – 7.5/10

Never mind the Europa – is Captian Stoic okay? Commanding and intimidatory, he had their midfield under the cosh all first-half. Gave it, took it, then that moment of teeth-grinding concern as he hobbled off.

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CALMAC – 6/10

Deeper and in tandem with Broony – suits us away in Europe and suits Calmac to conduct the show while bursting forward when opportune. Then, inexplicably, after passing them to death, he disappeared under a skim of white shirts as they occupied the midfield space second-half.

Yet on given opportunities there he was – popping up to nick it, always the man we looked to for guile and craft. But the match turned on his big moment – the most uncharacteristic Calmac moment of the season; nobody else you would want to have possession on a break, 30 yards out on a 3v2 with French Eddy poised like a flecking rattlesnake for the slipped ball… and Calmac Sebo’s it into the harbour.

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SAM JACKSON – 5/10

Muthuflecka started like a Biatch, then departed like a bitch. First half-hour it was Harlem Shuffle all over the muthufleckin’ park, Superfly and T.N.T as he muthufleckin’ picked the time and tempo and was on it like a DAYM boss. But the half-time Big Kahuna burger took effect and he was a mushroom-cloud-layin’ Muthuflecka as he slept on the daym job, selling the goal and generally wandering like a daym lost little Muthuflecka from the tales of the muthufleckin faires.

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FORREST – 7.5/10

Jamesy in the fabled city of his youth – a place he’d always dreamed of visiting; Porntown. Yes Jamesy knows where Klimala Klimax’s stash of 70s erotica originates from…And the Flying Flasher Of Old Prestwick Town – a lost Hans Christian Andersen fable, didn’t ya know, adult fairytale fans? – brought some magic to the wing as he gave their full-back a torrid time; pinned him in and did his fair share of spadework covering back – vital in the bewildering second 45. But for some curiously-lacking finess and a fine keeper, Jamesy could have won it/set up the win. But he was certainly one of our first-to-last performers tonight.

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CORPUS CHRISTIE – 5/10

Son Of Ghod produces the Hand Of Son Of Ghod to cap a duff evening. With the green tide in full flow for the opening half hour, he got away with it, however, as we relented his off-timing and careless touches began to show. Definitely in need of more games to get his rhythm back.

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FRENCH EDDY – 8/10

Bought by The Snake, he is La Vipere. Deadly, sharp, lethal – could have had a hat-trick, not for lack of finishing prowess but an able keeper with great intuition and reaction speed. The sensational dink he did finish prompted marriage breakdowns everywhere; “No woman will ever thrill me with skill like that…Pack yer bags luv…”

SUBS:

ELSHAGYONLASSIE – 4/10

Never match-fit enough to compete at this level of intensity; if anything, fared worse than the misfiring Muthuflecka he replaced. A struggle for him to get on the ball and when he did, pace wasn’t there to create.

BITTON – 6/10

Replaced the Captain – not an easy ask but big Nir knows the ropes and coped well. Took one for the team with a tactical yellow and mucked in with the defending to keep them at bay.

JOZO – N/A

Thrown in at the death to add some steel to the resistance. Like smashing a defiant shot of whisky into your coffee at the end of a night out.

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LENNONY – 7/10

A gamble. Not with his starting eleven, but Elshagyonlassie – a Rogic in there might have had us out of sight but Lennony’s switch failed to wrest the midfield initiative back after they tweaked tactics. He must have realised they would get tighter after we dominated the first-half but nothing he tried worked and it became a backs-to-the-wall counter-attacking exercise as we sat deeper and deeper.

Like many a Copenhagen encounter – ladies… – it became a dilemma of going front-to-back or back-to-front as we diced between pushing or holding. Still, he must have seen enough to know the set-up to finish them properly next week. A hooped nation expects.

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OVERALL – 7.5/10

That scoring draw we would have been happy to take… Well, we got it… But…It was a draw, alomost defeat, snatched from the jaws of glorious victory.

Difficult to berate or praise a team who’s familiar pattern of domestic dominance looked to be playing out beautifully on a higher stage, then things got sloppy and inelegant in the centre of the park as our midfield became a minefield and normally reliable footballers blew up or faded from a contest that was there for them to boss.

Copenhagen eventually turned up like the late-to-the-party Danish vikings of reknown and showed a fair bit of gallusness to go at us full-pelt; they revealed their hand completely and surely not getting the lead they craved will make then rueful rather than hopeful?

Unbeknown to many Disney-junkies the outcome of the original Little Mermaid fairytale was grim and tragic – that Andersen fella didn’t go in for happy endings. Let’s hope he wrote this one for his hometown team.

Sandman. Happily ever after. Almost.

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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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