SANDMAN’S DEFINITIVE RATINGS: CELTIC @ KETTLEWELL’S CURIOSITY SHOP…
“Remember Bears, it ain’t over until the fat Bhoy sings.” – archaic operatic colloquialism.
BANE – 7.5/10 – “I need no hands to defy you mortals…” And Motherwell lacked a Batman to overcome our supervillain, whose right boot saved the day twice with tremendous goalkeeping. Also survived a mugging by two basketball guards who tried to kick him into the net but met the ball instead, once they’d stiffed him in the air; all totally ‘legally’ when sleekit Wullie’s getting excited. But it’ll be dark soon, vengeance time, and our Bane lurks in those shadows…
GREGGS THE BAKER – 7/10 – “And I can see the future…” said Marty McFly Taylor as he hit the turf for minutes of injury time – another ‘legal’ challenge (flaming red!) – that actually provided the last-gasp breathing space. LOL. He’d been a busy Bhoy all 90, though unable to construct anything telling, much as with the rest. But when there’s a battle on, everyone needs a baker to fuel the fight. And do not under-estimate the pure quality of his flighted ball to Matty for the killer blow after 97 minutes of scrapping.
LAGERTHA – 6.5/10 – If she was a doubt, then the 70 minutes on the park dispelled worries. Segueing well again with Liam, the physical threats kept them on their toes; for the most part, Lagertha was sprightly with the cover – notably blocking a tap-in after Bane’s first marvellous stop.
OF JUSTICE – 6.5/10 – Tested by fellas bigger than the Gaelic boys back home. Once again, this new focus carried him through; timing was exemplary and positioning just right. Competed well in the air – had to. The only blight you could point at was his part in their goal – or lack of, as the spitoon lad skipped aside to get the shot in. However, he’s developing stoical defending in a winning side. Good habits go a long way.
WAYNE GRETZKY – 6.5/10 – A ‘quiet’ game by his standards but a toughed-out 90 minutes+ of rugged application and mixing it with some tinpot gangstas in vomitron yellow. AJ provides the steely resolve necessary for his makeshift central defenders to rely on, knowing the cover is always there when they commit for the ball; invaluable psychologically.
CALMAC – 8/10 MOTM – Cometh the hour… No stalling sports classic can be written-off as long as the engine’s still purring. Here was the kapitan standing out as the only consistent cog in the Celtic machine, and, as always, probably the most important. He hurried, harried, prodded (pun intended, Zombies) and prompted, and ultimately the reward was deservedly his to take as his men finally responded to the inspiration and delivered.
HAKUNA HATATE – 5.5/10 – New contract but old boots on by the looks of it. And it was a boot than knocked Reo off-stride, right in the face. He didn’t seem to recover fully, bar a brief spell in the second half where he found some space and influence, but was afflicted by the final pass problem that dogged us all day.
THE BUILDER – 7/10 – New contract #2, and a match-winner by dint of his sheer endeavour. Not much flowed for the silky viking kid but grit got him through the game and into the crucial space for the last-kick glory he’ll remember for the rest of his days.
LORD KATSUMOTO – 6/10 – Effervescence is his mantra, and we got Daizen being Daizen and roasting them as ever – throwing in a Cruyff turn but blowing the delivery. No spectacular finale for him today; an early exit but shift done and onto Mussolini’s spawn midweek.
KILLER MUSHROOM – 5/10 – No go Kyogo. Sounds like a Japanese anime, certainly what we saw today – the wee mhan shuttered by claret and urine kaijus. No room, no service, no joy.
YING – 5/10 – Well, ye lasted a half. Maybe injured/knackered/required for an E-games tournament live from Seoul? Feet looked nifty, linkup less so. We’ll see…
JAMESY – 6/10 – “Ah don’t huv a wee ‘fan club’ – Ah’ve got a huge ‘fan..ie club’…” Which might explain Jamesy’s surprise introduction at HT. He didn’t let any of his vict… supporters down, either; well, bar the sitter of a header he contrived to miss. But had plenty of touches and kept them right on their toes.
OH BHOY – N/A – Hustled, bustled, smashed into their human shield wall, gave a delirious fan a fireman’s lift.
BRIAN DE – 7.5/10 – The endings of his movies are frequently mental and the script didn’t change today – ‘The bad guys are dead!’ “No, they live! Flaming hell!” ‘Bam! No, they’re deid again! Roll the flamiing credits!”A game changer, he was – the Rogic-esque finish sublime and uplifting. First rung on hero ladder claimed.
EDDIE T – N/A – Back home. And confused as ever. Bright for a fleeting moment as blitz memories fired him up to run at those amber Germans and whip in a dangerous ball; but then it was turn, check, turn, check…You know…
THE NATIONALIST – 6/10 – Physicality is underrated when the chips are down and there’s a scrimmage line from the NY Jets queuing up for a late corner. That’s where Nat comes in, or will in time. Acquitted himself pretty well after he got used to looking up at Dr. Moreau’s specimens opposing him.
THE SHNAKE – 7/10 – Some say he’s a lucky man – me, for example; lucky to be permitted anywhere near the Celtic Way without a swat team security detail…But, generally, lucky men seem to also be lucky managers – that right Ian Beale? – and we’ve seen the Brendan Blessings before at Mordor via French Eddy, and today once again.That cited ‘desperation’ (cheers, Uncle Shug) is proven to be match-winning action. Luck we’ll take every game.
MIBBERY – 6/10 – “I didn’t bring my red cards with me.” Well, ye should have, ya sleekit wee wick. Fresh from ignoring blatant pushes at the Hate Pit, only VAR thwarted his determination to award a goal for gangbanging Bane. Worst was the pegging of Greggs; though so wonderfully, karmically balanced. Still, the sight of him on his knees, devastated, retching up his bile-soaked whistle as Matty cavorted in the delirious crowd will live long with me. Or did I just imagine that? Who cares…
OVERALL – 7/10 – What a day. Saturday brunch of Greggs sausage roll washed down with double Guinness and Stella (tip o’ the bunnet to the late, great Mick Duffy) guaranteed a blackout until the tingly bit when we Celticed them beautifully. As if that wasn’t enough, then The Sheep go and do their business for a change and the way home becomes very tricky, what with pavements and roads slick and strewn with vomiting paras and sea cadets.
“Y’alright mate?” ‘…Ergh, armed forces day at theRangers,pal…Bleeearghhh…’
Yes, a real Zombie-spewer of an afternoon that only really took flight as injury time approached. We were off-key on that pitch-perfect surface, failing for 89 minutes to find the right note, then conjuring up a blinding double harmony. Not that we were bad – we built well, moved well, but never iced the cake.
It all seemed so tame and frustrating until the drama. That lack of fizz and swashbuckling enterprise better not repeat midweek or we’ll be swept aside. But often games like yesterday reinforce the team’s winning mentality, and that’s sometimes more important than failure to exploit the talent we know they have in abundance.
7 games in. 7 points clear. No laughing at the back there, soldier! Oh, that was another puke? Sorry…
Go away now.