Sandman’s Definitive Ratings: Celtic at Midgetland


“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” Lao Tzu

“Ancient Taoist Chinese philosophers get on my bristols. Especially when the Hoops have messed  it up.” Anon.

BANE – 6.5/10 – Almost tagged with an assist-assist for a winner after a better piece of footwork than his defence entire managed all game. Still the best footballing ‘keeper we’ve had in years and no chance stopping their goals. One great save to keep it at 2-1 and one flaffed interception leave him in the unusual position of neither hero nor villain, and Batman flummoxed.

FC Midtjylland v Celtic – Greg Taylor. Photo Bo Amstrup

GREGGS THE BAKER – 5.5/10 – As reliably functional as one of his ovens, without bringing the heat. As much as he is combative, we await the class distinction in his performances that truly rate a Celtic left-back.

Anthony Ralston. Photo: Bo Amstrup

TONY THE TIGER – 6/10 – Battling as hard as anyone ever did to secure that position. But as with Greggs, there’s nothing extra on show yet that separates the wheat from the chaff. His commitment, though, a lesson for many – body on the line to make vital blocks, surging support runs. Reliable, if not completely viable.

RAQUEL – 6/10 – Another decent acquittal, taking a yellow, holding a good line, but undone by the general lack of experience and definitive leadership around her; despite magnificently carrying off the fur bikini, the Celtic top hasn’t yet stretched or shrunk to fit.

ANDY MURRAY – 5/10 – Could he/they? Keep a clean sheet, that is? Well, naw…As we looked in control and cruising, the Wimbledon champ got complacent and indecisive – let a ballboy sneak in behind him to score, failing to launch himself at the looping cross to clear it out. Busted flat-footed on his heels again in extra-time as his man ran off him to net the winner before he had properly reacted to the second-ball dinked in behind the line. It’s a hard life trying to make a name for yourself in the Celtic defence when all you’ve got left is a broken tennis bat and a pair of Dunlop Green Flashes with the toes out.

MAN OF – 6/10 – This looked made for him to take over, but he never quite got truly on top of their midfield, in the way Griff allegedly might with a troublesome young Instagram influencer. As we began to see more of the ball he found their midfield numbers infuriating and stifling to his quick switch-and-bait game, though it has to be said, others let him down when in need of support. Still a pass for combative application but short of the presence we require to close out games like this.

Ryan Christie. Photo: Bo Amstrup

CORPUS CHRISTIE – 4/10 – Is there another move on the cards? English League One at best, on this evidence – if you can’t dazzle against these functionary journeymen, Corpus, you’re not getting the Golden Ticket to the Chocolate Money & Free Puss-Circus. After last week, hopes had risen of a resurrection back into the faith. But here was the truth and the harsh light shone upon it – he didn’t have the stomach or wherewithal to impose himself and become a match-winner; if he did, more than the fleeting season he gave us to make his name, then he left it on the gym floor with the extra pounds of muscles he leveraged to give him that edge.

CALMAC – 7/10 MOTM – Such an exquisite piece of skill; a goal of any season, and yet now confined to the sullen memory of another Euro calamity. His moment gilded his move higher up the park under the new regime, should have been the defining slug to put us beyond dogged opposition after a couple of hours of sparring. But his midfield mojo faded after it, and they got far more space and time than was merited, or justified, and we saw Calmac reduced to the bit-player of last season, chasing shadows.

This not entirely down to him, but heavily due to a misfiring Celtic midfield unit that threatened to dazzle then implode at any given time without prior signalling of either; in itself just a derivative of a new system that has negative offshoots as we try and incorporate it.

FC Midtjylland v Celtic -David Turnbull. Photo Bo Amstrup

EDDIE TURNBULL – 4/10 – We’ve had this discussion before – creative Celtic midfielders of lore turned games with consistent endeavour; Eddie’s ancient feet have the guile but not yet the persistence when it comes to troubling opposition of merit. Lynchpins in the making do not disappear from times of great drama after a single potshot in the first-half. He still inhabits the mindset of promising youngster when it’s now his era, to step up and be the nightmare for opposing defences and midfields who struggle to contain his inspired play. We needed him energised with single-minded ruthlessness last night, not the timid low-percentage pseudo-ball-player who tottered around the action.

ABADASS – 4/10 – Well, he hails from a region with plenty sand, and tonight he exhibited a knack for dancing on it. This is not the impact we need from a new and sprightly winger – ineffective whispery; more Bobby Petta pre-O’Neill era than the skelping and tormenting wide-o we remember with a grin. Abadass needs to understand there has to be a final product from the nifty footwork and flashing movements. Be the icing on the cake and not the wee plastic figure the dug eats off the top and nobody remembers it.

Celtic s Odsonne Edouard in the Champions League qualifier between FC Midtjylland and Celtic FC at MCH Arena in Herning, Photo: Bo Amstrup

FRENCH EDDY – 3/10 – A transient presence, nothing more; Against big Eric, too, whose pace Eddy should have exploited to the tune of a hat-trick but who had as comfortable an evening as Mrs Gough’s wedding night, spent knitting her husband a beard…Eddy appeared to have trimmed his – probably during the first-half – in anticipation of the Brighton heat. Maybe that self-preservation will come in useful when he really has to shift, soon as the leather boys from the end of the pier take a shine to him.


JAMESY – 6/10…3/10 – Goddammit, Jamesy! Appeared out of the ether and roasted them twice, should/could/probably would have scored but for a nightmare finish and a brilliant block. He definitely would have killed the tie stone dead with his first bad miss, as Eddy erred last week. The baffling and frustrating thing was how he vanished in extra-time; the stage was set for him to win it.

OZ – 4/10 – Another who cannot bring his former influence to bear, yet. Streets ahead of them individually but couldn’t break up their unit.

THE YETI – N/A – Never given enough time to get on and charge around angrily.

FIELD MARSHALL – N/A – “Have that bhoy subbed, washed and brought to my tent later.” And so Greggs’ evening ended, and his night began…Monty buzzed around doing an adequate job for a kid thrown onto a sinking ship.

ANITA DOBSON – 6/10 – Well, what can we expect Ange to do? Sent out the strongest team we can currently muster, as ruthless with the keeper as Dirty Den ever was. Kept the philosophy of high tempo and quick transition, and took the lead away from home in a Champions League qualifier.

After that… Well, as they say in Oz, yer mother blows. Whether he could have done anything to alter the players’
grand ability to chuck another crucial lead away, and eventually the tie, is a pretty subjective viewpoint. We didn’t lose this tie because of managerial flaws. We let it slip due to fatally incompetent executive management and individual player shortcomings; i.e we’ve no got enough good wans due to those higher-ups. So Ange should press-on with the philosophy and try to im-press it upon the numerous new players we expect to see him mould into a cohesive, dynamic team. Once the squad can actually recognise each other without referring to Google, then we’ll start judging the boss.

OVERALL – 5/10 – Are you still reading, Pistol Pete? YOUR legacy continues. Congratulations.  A level of corporate neglect any decent company would scoff at, and yet this particular company, ward of a club of many, many hundreds of thousands of people, of a cause at the heart of generations worldwide, fell into the custodianship of hubristic fools.

Ironical, Pete, that even the lowest-functioning, poorest, most corporately-illiterate of the fanbase you despise are
still FULLY aware of the crucial fiscal benefits of the summer’s Champions League qualifiers. These people, whom you wouldn’t look down at unless they were shining your brogues, still have more prescience than the collective of self-serving blunt instruments you gathered to form Celtic’s governance; Amateurs Assemble.

So on the park those both blessed and cursed with wearing the sacred Hoops, carried the hopes of the Boardroom Brents into the tricky second-leg. And how they flattered to deceive. Once more looking the better side. Once more taking the vital lead. And once more turning the shotgun around to leave us frustrated and bemused.

A tie we never really looked like losing disappeared in extra-time as the Celtic energy levels mimicked an Ibrox
overdraft and hit limits there was to be no breaking through. We faded in abject misery and Ange realised just how much conditioning this squad still needs; and that’s YOUR legacy, Lennony, cheers.

Euro glory falls another year, crushed by another team we can beat, whose name will live long among the Clujies and Ferenvaracoseveins and Artamadeus and Mammaries and…etc, etc.

Therefore it comes down to this – win the Scottish Premiership and get a 40 million free pass into the Champions League. A summer without qualification hangovers is a summer I look forward to, unlike this morning…

Go Away Now.


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

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