Sandman’s Definitive Ratings – Celtic at Gomorrah


“Whoever enters an athletic competition wins the prize only when playing by the rules. That’s the Zombies oot, then.” – St.Paul’s Second Letter to The Times (no e); Bible: 2 Timothy 2:5

ROXIE – 7.5/10 – If we’d bought him for 10 million bucks, the Lev Yashin Society that’s sprung up in the support, berating the big guy all season, would tonight be stamping out wee limited-edition pin badges of him for each other to wear on their Alan Partridge blazers. As we faced more corners than Ayrton Senna, Joe dealt with them
better, defying St.Boo with a barrage of splendid punches out of the Henry Cooper school of English goalkeeping; Then got down like James Brown to pull off a classic anticipation stop from a stunning overhead by the Kurgan out of Highlander. Masterclasses of old-school, cup-tie goalkeeping in Paisley on a Sunday afternoon? Mine’s a Bacardi. (See what I did there, fans of John Gordon Sinclair movie theatre nostalgic ads?)

TONY THE TIGER – 6.5/10 – How solid is Tony? Brickie solid. The shift was put in, the tireless shuttles up and down the wing, the filthy-good low sweep of a ball for Idaho to kill the game… But didnae…The tiger showed his stripes and it was salutes to Sergeant Ralston of the Republican Army*.

*Dominican; calm doon interloping Zombies. He likes a wee holiday there.

OF JUSTICE – 5.5/10 – Jeez, Liam’s gotten a bit shaky these days, and nobody’s dancing to cheesy rock ‘n’ roll. Seemed a little perturbed about their intentions to attack and rattle his comfort zone; got his act together regards interceptions and positional sense after a torrid half hour, but his distribution remained sketchy and a weak point to our attempts to play through their press.

RAQUEL – 8/10 MOTM – A couple of defensive headers of true grit and a goal-saving block were the highlights of a Raquel performance that added extra glamour with his composed footwork. This was a proper test for the reinvigorated youngster (yes, he’s still pretty much a youth even though it feels like we’ve seen more
of him than our own weans…). They threw a lot of physicality at us and that’s always been a poser regards Welshy’s ability to cope and still exert footballing class. No question marks hidden in the camo tap today – he faced and won the battles and kept his head in the intensity when decent play out from the back was required. Best game he’s had – among the few – since Leipzig away last season. Looked like a worthy Celtic centre-back today.

DIEGO ARMANDO MARADONA – 6/10 – It’s football, Jim, but not as he knows it; A pitch like the Argentine Pampas, thundering hooved opponents bearing down on him, and stands of inbred toothless schemies baying for his blood. But for the second tricky away game the wee fella simply played; his defensive ability is overshadowed by the footballing ability and that’s the crux of the Diego dilemma – the balance of how much of each we require in the SPL. In Europe, a defender, in Scotland, this creative force surging around the left side. There’s life in his Celtic career yet.

CALMAC – 6.5/10 – That woke ye up, didn’t it? – that pass for the first goal was a real hangover cure; vision and electrifying creativity in one lightbulb movement which opened up them, the game, and Calmac’s box of tricks that has seemed closed for business too often this season in his deep role. In a two-man midfield he asserted himself as well as he could, making the most of our unusually scarce possession periods to conduct the brief reprises of the Celtic symphony.

THE BUILDER – 6.5/10 – Come in from the cold, son, won’t ye? Young pseudo-viking got his groove back for lengthy spells when he managed to get on the ball and try to conjure some magic. Ghosted in to smash the bar at the second goal and, while his touch was still off, it was good to see him constantly in and around play to impose and offer options.

KILLER MUSHROOM – 6.5/10 – Snap! A defiant strike once more from our deposed hunter-killer, darting in with a perfectly timed burst of pace to poke the opener. Thereafter, I still got a teeth-grinding sense of angst whenever he was deep-lying to get on the ball, watching bespoke Kyogo chances squandered ahead.

BRIAN DE – 6/10 – For an annoyingly unpredictable, some would say mercurial, talent, the frustration he elicits was set-off nicely by the undeniable stat of his critical involvement in both goals – intelligent spot for Kyogo to run onto and cross of the day resulting in Daizen’s wonder-strike.

LORD KATSUMOTO – 6/10 – Daizen’s not happy; it’s Chinese New Year and he’s annoyed at folk shouting best wishes to him; have they not seen The Last Samurai? He charged around with his usual fantastic commitment, but that non-celebration of his goal will be regarded as indicative of underlying issues by some, perhaps. But it was merely stupefaction and bewilderment that something he’d kicked during the game hadn’t induced emergency response procedures from nearby Glasgow Airport Air Traffic Control; Daizen’s crosses kept setting off their Kenny Miller Orbital Scanner…

DUNCAN IDAHO – 5.5/10 – Not much fun being the lone striker in this Celtic set-up, is it? All graft and scant reward as opportunities mostly fell second-ball to support runners. However, the big bhoy did manage to carve one out for himself with good feet but then missed a golden calf of a chance laid on by Tony; in fairness he did try
the right thing – guide the ball back against the direction of travel but was a clumsy foot out with the execution.


YING – 5.5/10 – I run. And run. And run. And he did, run. And if he’d known Korean for ‘flaming heid up!’ he could have ended a lovely slalom by laying on a third. Still, no shortage of will to, eh, run, at them.

OH BHOY – N/A – He’s back! And five stone heavier from the Asian Cup home cooking.

SAINT BERNARDO – 5.5/10 – Useful presence for the last 20 to hustle them, pin them in and offer extra options to the midfield duo.

TAKINTE – N/A – Leith, and now Paisley. Only here a month, and the bhoy’s a nervous wreck.

THE SHNAKE – 6.5/10 – A shnake-up, and we get a 4-2-1-3, or something like it. And he gets lucky as the defence plays a blinder and they fail to score from more set pieces than Gary Kasparov’s seen. A flexible system he claimed, but the jury should be out on that one and take the evidence into account – never tried it before despite the majority of a season of Kyogo struggling alone up front; means we relinquish possession due to lightweight midfield, results in almost illegal volumes of press being applied directly onto the back four. But a win’s a win, and in the cup it’s slightly more – a confidence-building exercise in progression and motivation as the silverware beckons. Now, man-manage that properly.

MIBBERY – 5/10 – Had their VAR set up like end-of-term school video day – couple of canteen chairs and the telly on a table. All that was missing was a VHS player, a bored teacher and a dreary documentary about the remains of a viking settlement somewhere in rainy East Anglia. Bargain zombie had the whistle and took plaudits early by booking a Bhoy for a dive. The same sort of ‘dive’ that saw frenzied Zombie hacks claiming a Hibs pen for contact on Boyle midweek. Funny how perspectives change…Anyway, the Hoops never gave them cause for malfeasance with a sparklingly disciplined second 45 that sent them home miserable. The telly’s now in a Feegie crackhoose, running illegal Amazon firestick repeats of The Banana Splits.

OVERALL – 7/10 – I’ll buy that for a dollar! A Robocop special as The Fuddies were given 20 minutes to comply before the Hoops blew them away. Well, not exactly – they racked up corners like Fred West laying patio slabs and we got to see how well the eternally makeshift defence could cope. Pretty well, it transpired, and by the time they ran out of steam we’d – against the run of play you could say, and undetected due to the high-camp camo strip – papped two in and more or less deflated them like Kris Boyd sitting on a nail.

Not quite the match we expected – no dominant possession versus a low block. But it was a cup tie and the locals, to their credit, utilised the words of historically infamous Paisley warlord Shuggy Tzu who decreed, “The best form of defence is to attack. The polis.” in his book, ‘The Art Of Feegie War Seiges’. A resilient Hoops won out and got through – and that was something you wouldn’t have been too ready to wager on given recent form. So we’ll take it and enjoy it and get serious for the rockin’ run-in that’s upon us.

Go Away Now


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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

1 Comment

  1. Only Celtic grandas will get Takinte. If there was a Nobel prize for sports writing, I’d gie ye it.