SANDMAN’S DEFINITIVE RATINGS: CELTIC @ SAINT JUDAS…
B.A. BARKAS – 6/10 – Who? Oh look – it’s the security guard from the shopping centre; didn’t recognise him without his cap, and shirt and tie combo poking out the top of his partially-unzipped parka with his walkie-talkie clipped to the collar. Hi, Colin. Mercifully, nothing much for him to cope with but what he did, he did with confidence, surprising many by not screwing up with the ball at his feet on a sticky surface. No chance with their goal, which he could only wave at.
RAQUEL – 5.5/10 – Appeared uncomfortable right-side of defence, possibly the new Xmas bra. Wasn’t really involved deeply in matters at either end, just required to meet the physicality of the opposition and provide decent cover without fuss.
GET CARTER – 7/10 – A fine game, though he struggled to hear himself think through the screeching cacophony of a racoon nearby. Seemed our main man on the ball through the second period, stepping up from the back as well as dealing with our own defensive hysteria. But he never flustered or cracked, maintaining steely focus. Because he’s a big mhan, and it’s his job.
STAR LORD – 4/10 – We should have known something was up when Rocket Racoon appeared briefly on camera walking out the stadium cursing, with his head in his hands. The comfortable makeshift victory was cast in doubt when the enigma blew up like Arthur Shelby on a bender and gifted the home side their comeback opening. He’s got plenty of detractors – me probably the earliest to question his competence – and continually feeds the narrative with some bewildering moments of utter pigwittery that can turn a hangover into a rage-induced stroke.
A lot want us to be nicer about his prospects, but ‘nice’ and ‘top-class centre-back’ are not compatible in any footballing context apart from one damning sentence – ‘It would be nice if our malfunctioning top-class centre-back headed off’. Who’d have managed to be ‘nice’ about him today if his error had indeed set the stage for their comeback and his lunge later had resulted in a penalty? How long does ‘being nice’ last? Until the title’s thrown away?
How long did today’s keeper get last season, and he was never the centre of as many calamities… Sometimes you have to sigh and say, enough’s nice enough. Next! Hopefully found his wayward rodent after the game, drowning sorrows in Star Lord’s next port of call – Last. Chance. Saloon.
OF JUSTICE -6/10 – I though he would shine today but ended up rather bogged down in scrappy play. Early and later on he provided good support and involvement, but the kid’s capable of a lot more.
MCCARTHYISM – 6.5/10 – A pretty decent rescue mission to fill in at defensive mid. Amazingly, has avoided Covid despite being the most injury-prone player since ‘Legless Wullie McSkullcracked’ of Third Lanark. The majority of his play was positive and error-free, covered more ground than expected and offered decent link-up
to shuttle the ball to the creatives. Dipped with the rest after the break as our engine room faltered but got his head back in it to see us through.
🚨 FULL TIME 🚨
St Johnstone 1-3 Celtic
Nir Bitton’s late strike added to Liel Abada’s first-half double as #CelticFC secure all three points at McDiarmid Park.
📺 Reaction on Sky Sports Football
📲 Recap 👉 https://t.co/sf1HH1lIHd
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) December 26, 2021
BLOCKCHAIN – 8.5/10 MOTM – Shades it for Xmas star. Our best utiliy player this century. Today he was Captain Blockchain, and he looked like he meant to mark the honour with a win no matter the cost in country bumpkin lives. Striding forward on his telescopic pins, playing the pass, thumping opponents, demanding his team slug it out in the muck; captain’s performance capped by a strike with the timing of an action hero swooping in to save Christmas on an impovised swing. Yippee-ki-yay, Mother Tuckers!
ROGIC – 8/10 – On a day like this, on a surface cast from swampland, you’d think Oz might amble through the game in grim toil. But like some exotic creature displaced from its own environment, he skimmed across the mudflats on guileful boats that conjured up footballing haute coiture and bedazzled us with his glamour. Touch, vision and potency – the combination, fired in bursts, was the making of us and the blighting of any stoic resistance. The Wizard carried the day when we needed him most. Magic.
JURAN JURAN – 6.5/10 – Another game where his final touch eluded him but he compensated with endeavour and no little grit; he’s no titan but he’ll scrap when situations demand it. Was useful in his right mid role, offering reliable, combative involvement with a sprinkling of occasional quality.
ABADASS – 7.5/10 – Happy Hanukkah, kid. Finally landing on a good day, he reprised his early season potency and could – maybe should – have had a hat-trick before half-time. First aerial challenge of the day outside their box, he threw himself into the brawny mix and I reckoned there and then he might just be up for a fight.
So he proved with some excellent movement and finishing – somehow out-jumping/muscling their keeper and defender to nod in the first on the rebound, then textbook run and clip to score a second off Oz’s gilded boot Thereafter, unlucky and damned not to notch another, but this was the sort of game we want from him every 1 in 2, not the 1 in 5 he’s been delivering recently.
MR.KOBAYASHI – N/A – Mr.Soze seems most displeased, clipping him with a sniper’s bullet only 13 minutes in; classic synchronised punishment delivered in dramatic movie style via fortune cookie at the Celtic Xmas shindig – “The number 13 will be unlucky for you, this western Xmas season, Koyogo San.” We live in hope his dues are now paid.
CREEK – 6/10 – Fair play to the debutant – ‘go on and replace Koyogo’ is an order as tall as Godzilla, but the rangy youth at least provided us with an occupying presence up front, keeping it simple, making sure he stayed in the game and they knew about him. Santa was good to you this year, bhoy, well done.
FIELD MARSHALL -N/A – Onto the muck to reminisce about the Somme for a few minutes.
🗣 “He wanted to give it a go today, we knew he was not 100 per cent…”
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) December 26, 2021
ANITA DOBSON – 8/10 – Okay, Ange, we’ll take that. Like he does have enough to fret over: so many injuries we’ve had to set up a field hospital in a tent on the Celtic Way to administer triage. So the unflappable Antipodean-Greco warrior stitched together a team, compiled by asking his wee dug to bark at available names he plucked from a bunnet and read out in the voice of Eric Cartman from South Park. But what a good start and ultimate result he got out of this haphazard combination; they stuck to the rules of Angeball and made enough chances to win it twice.
Now Ange rolls up to the boardroom in his Mad Max V8 Interceptor and beats the hell out of the suits until he roars off with a dozen blank cheques to spray around planet football all January. Or so the script has it…
MIBBERY – 2/10 – Boaby Madden himself, unable to shake the lag of the Goat-Essence Electric Soup Christmas Day binge. Amazingly failed to award a pen against us when Star lord lunged in; correctly noting he’d just won the ball but in the same action Boaby gave up 1000 staunch points, meaning he’s on the verge of losing the lead in the competition to get a tickle at Groinio Transit Bungleheist’s baws.
OVERALL – 7.5/10 – Not often you crawl out of bed on Boxing Day, check a teamsheet, see the 25th choice goalie, and crawl back under the covers praying for 2022 to hurry up. But hangover football is a tradition, particularly when the SPFL supercomputer (Spectrum ZX81) can send us to Perth for an early kick-off on the biggest holiday of the year. But we won the Covid cup today, facing up to Scotland’s second most successful team of the past decade on their own freezing mud patch with a makeshift Celtic side.
Difficult to find a rhythm when most of the band haven’t performed together. But it shows you the value of a good
motivated squad – two match winners we never thought would have been here this season – and a manager who’s actively interested in getting stuff done.
Now we’re here – the winter break, avoiding the machinations of the dastardly Zombies and their rent boys from Dingwall wanting matches played behind closed doors; all for ‘the good of the game and sporting integrity’ indeed. ‘Dignified’ scoundrels.
We’re a depleted force hanging in a title race who now gets the chance to flex the muscle we alone have developed in this country through financial prudence and cost-effective company management; well, being tight bams at the top, actually. Although, we’ve long been preached to that these are the times when we will play our joker and strengthen our team. Well, let’s see the conceited suits ship up the readies for a man who’s fulfilled every remit to date, going against the grain and fortune on the way.
Ange deserves some luck, and most of all some spending power. The executive must step up and play his game now, or the next raft of silent protests should be accompanied by the presence of stealthy ninjas in the director’s box.
So we can finally call an end to one of the worst years in our lives, and certainly one of the most depressing Celtic
have experienced; but we go out with gaze cast towards a positive glow dawning on a new horizon.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all you fine Celts out there. Sláinte is táinte!
Go Away Now
TWICE AS GOOD
Thanks to everyone who ordered Harry Hood – Twice as Good for Christmas presents. If you got an Ange jumper instead then why not order this brilliant book by Matt Corr, or indeed David Potter’s biography of another Celtic legend Alec McNair – born on this day incidentally – from Celtic Star Books or from the official Celtic stores?