Sandman’s Definitive Ratings – Celtic at Ray Kinsella’s Cornfield


God Bless you, Shane MacGowan, RIP

ROXIE – 7.5/10 – Go Joe! No! Damn…Hesitated to batter his way through the crowd and clear out the danger seconds prior to them bundling it in. At fault? Not totally in a physical way, given he was blocked by his own players; more so in a decision-making context, and organisational – who thought it a good idea to have two panto dwarves – Kyogo and Greggs – tucked in beside Joe in the middle of defensive-high-ball-no-man’s-land? Then, redemption at the death – a classic Hart lifesaver down to terrific anticipation and positioning. Literally clawed us out two points.

GREGGS THE BAKER – 6/10 – A tireless shift but little luck when it came to creative attempts. Still not the attacking force he was but steady enough in his given role. Which shouldn’t be central defender at corners…

WAYNE GRETZKY – 6.5/10 – More involved as he seemed to take over Greggs’ wanderlust. Had an out-of-body experience all 2nd half when every time he looked forward to see himself – ‘Johnston’ – up ahead…Also saw plenty of the ball as we favoured the right, and backed up his namesake winger really well so the pressure was kept on.

OF JUSTICE – 6.5/10 – Stay Frosty, said his inspiration Ron Burgundy, and Liam impressed with his own ice cold sharpness in the brittle conditions. Only lost his man at the death when bailed out by Joe, so got away with one.

GET CARTER – 7/10 – They’ll be a farmhand down at the mammoth ranch tomorrow – that’s what you get for bouncing recklessly into The Rock. Looked like a fractured funny bone to me as the big galoot minced off in pain. CCV dominated again, forcing the press high to get us back into the match, brisk with his build-up as we demanded more urgency.

CALMAC – 8/10 MOTM – Foot like a traction engine #1 : The 54th minute – watch as Calmac takes control of the game around then in a passage of play that lifted the tempo and sent the message. Soon after, he set the example with an exocet of a half-volley that won its own production contract with Lockheed Martin. After a quiet spell, today was the day when the skipper we needed got his mojo back at just the right time to steer the ship away from the abyss.

THE BUILDER – 7/10 – Foot like a traction engine #2 : Well, when yer good foot is performing like a club-foot there’s no other choice but to thrash in a screamer with yer standing foot…So was the dichotomy of young Mr.Handsomeness’s lunchtime foray out into the Perth wilderness. Seemed all over the place then popped up in exactly the right places to start and finish another goal of the season contender.

EDDIE TURNBULL – 4/10 – “Eh? Canny hear ye son – ma lugs is froze…” ‘I said – Get. Aff. The. Park.’ All could have been so different but for their keeper defying him with a wonder save. Yet – to my surprise – the guy who might have been suited best to the type of game today, ended wandering off in bewilderment. Not unusual…

KILLER MUSHROOM – 6/10 – ‘Lift it like Henrik,’ we bemoaned as he squandered the best chance we’d conjoured to that moment. Things looked grim when your rapier striker wasn’t firing but he is ubiquitous and kept in their faces and spaces even when dropping off to make way for Oh.

YING – 2/10 – When will we see his likes again? not for a while, I’d think…Another chance to seal a place squandered by the Korean Bobby Petta. Hardly made an impact bar a couple of fleeting seconds when he got crosses right and looked dangerous on the ball; hope faded fast, though. Hooked at half-time due to frostbite, being the coldest man on the pitch after suffering in the incessant draught from the linesman’s flag for offside calls against him…

BRIAN DE – 6/10 – The only Hoop worthy of the jersey in that jaw-droppingly poor first 45. He was creative and lively and ended up praying on his knees to the Holy Mother for someone he recognised to join in the kickabout, as it appeared he’d materialised in the midst of a bunch of strangers waiting to be introduced to each other. Ironically, as we got our act together he was starved after the break when play focussed on the opposite side.


OH BHOY – 6.5/10 – ‘Rugger!’ He belted out in Korean as he came on and gave their berserker defenders a taste of their own physicality. Played a big part in ruffling them up and creating space to exploit; one run opening up for Matty’s goal and a bit of flair with a surprise backheel to set events in motion for Calmac’s.

TONIO IWATAO – 6/10 – Ingenious – short of game-time he scalps Ying at half-time and appears on as a sub wearing his hair. There to close things down, he inadvertently became the killer-goal creator after swooping onto a loose ball and running 30 yards with it to deftly set up…

JAMESY – 6.5/10 – “Ah ayeways smash wan in Perth. Did four wan day back a fewyear. And ye want tae see ma goalscoring record there too.” The sublime finish, outside of the boot, net bulging – the ecstasy of that dramatic moment from one end to the other, the relief and satisfaction; right there you got a sense of how many legions have felt on a date with Jamesy…

MIKEY J – 7.5/10 – A prodigal returns. Not the headline-biller of the summer’s biblical seismic-wave appointment, but a reformed disciple sneaking back in the back-door to usurp a starting place. And if he doesn’t get a starting spot midweek after today’s supporting role then there’s no Ghod watching over him. Did everything Ying didn’t and caused some welcome chaos down the right. He was a torment to their comfort zone and injected some direct zip into our attacking setup. Even his flicks came off as he laid on the 2nd; overall showed the positives of his game that we’ve been expecting (in hope) to trump the negatives for years. Perhaps this time round…

THE SHNAKE – 7/10 – “Who the hell are you? I was looking forward to meeting Big Ange…” uttered the Pontif through a fixed smile. And so Buck Rodgers’ trip to Rome worked our how we’d all feared – a fawning misadventure resulting in Godless misery as we were yet again ejected from the big table without so much as a communion wafer to fill the aching hunger for elite success.

And for 45 minutes today, Godless misery was a plague upon us. By half-time the phone-lines to Ace Taxis in Perth were jammed and the McDiarmid Stadium car park rammed with a fleet of cabs all looking for a, ‘Flaming Rodgers’. Then we learned he’d been so angry at half-time that he’d whipped off the Gucci belt and given every last one of them a damn good thrashing. And it worked, and every sub made an impact, and we move on, albeit with one Roger Moore eyebrow raised in suspicion.

MIBBERY – 5/10 – Don can’t count to ten. Not in yards, anyway; maybe in centimetres as the tone was set early on with a direct free-kick on the edge of their box that involved a wall actually standing on our kicker’s laces. Yet how that second-half blitzkreig must have both sickened his/their senses and induced nostalgia for great-grandaddy Heinrich’s wartime memoirs. Better luck next time, shmucks.

OVERALL – 7/10 (2/10 1st half…) – What better place to go on a frozen Sunday than the Perthshire Cattle Show and have a kick-about with some keen local heathens just after the Kirk gets out…Maybe we’ve struggled in the CL of late but back on home soil we’re domestic terrorists…

Saints will feel like they got ambushed by a Celtic side who spent the first-half fumbling about in balaclavas only to drop the pretence and get at them all guns blazing for a finishing half hour that saw us score Playstation FIFA spectaculars to keep the prattling know-all virgins happy, and even ride a near sucker-punch with bravado and retaliate lethally to sicken rotund, moaning, anti-Celtic grown-up -Harry-Potter in the home dugout.

We got away with a shocker that became a rocker and may just be the tonic the Bhoys need to surge through the festive period on a high after a pretty dreadful November where lessons got learned in the harshest manner since Philip Clementine’s dungeon-mistress dominatrix cracked her whip and said ‘Bend over, beetch, thees weel prepare you for life in thee Glasgow ghetto…”

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

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