Sandman’s Definitive Ratings – Celtic at The Babylon Club


“The blind cannot see. The MIBs will not see.” – Russian proverb.

ROXIE – 5.5/10 – A return to the scene of the crime – his first and only red card last September – and Joe must have felt the area was still cordoned off, given the amount of the ball he saw. Barely a save of note, played more with his feet, and must have hammered five packets of Wrigleys through the boredom.

GREGGS THE BAKER – 5.5/10 – Maybe it was too much sugar from his easter cookies but the reliable baker was firing off wayward passes all first 45 like a phished-up Happy Gilmore. After that greetin’ wee face berated the playing conditions for an hour, he settled his frustration and played his part in the win. But I suspect he’ll be one of the first celebrating the end of Livingston’s top-flight tenure.

WAYNE GRETZKY – 6/10 – Hustle, bustle, indeterminable muscle control – plastic particles played havoc with his final ball as he continually linked up well but couldn’t deliver the goods. But persistence beats resistence and the Moose’s example set the scene for the eventual victory.

OF JUSTICE – 5.5/10 – Surface, yes. Casuality, no; excuses only run so far. Liam needs to shake that langour which haunts him at times of indecision and results in careless distribution. Something that better sides than Livi will punish; something that’s crept into his games since establishing his spot. A little tuning and a little sharpening is required before lapses become habitual and damaging.

GET CARTER – 6.5/10 – Nonsense not tolerated, as their rangy agile striker found out after briefly attempting to duke it out with The Enforcer early on. Mostly untroubled, and a relief to see him emerge unscathed too.

TONIO IWATAO – 6.5/10 – Quietly and villainously effective. Any brief flurry of Livi adventure or resurgence was snuffed out like a stolen orphan at a P Diddy party. In tandem with his Japanese cohorts, our enforcer admirably galvanised the centre mid and let the players play.

HAKUNA HATATE – 7/10 – Reo for the culture. There was an air of craft and guile about the midfeld as the long-lost Honourable ‘skelper returned to the fold. Whatever journey of self-discovery he’s been on, trekking the Himalayas for months with nothing but a flask of Bovril, rosary beads and the Tibetan Book Of The Dead *, then it’s one from which we’ve regained some rejuvenated quality to enhance the midfield bang on time for the final push.

*actually, he was injured.

THE BUILDER – 6/10 – A pitch not made for the suave. Yet, he persevered and may have believed his talent would be rewarded; that it was, with the third and a relieved smile knowing the worst would soon be over and he could get back to playing football on a pitch that less resembles Chairman Mao’s old table tennis bat collection.

TAKINTE – 7.5/10 MOTM – Inverse, Brah – the heavier he gets, the niftier he gets. Are you listening, Lizzo? His influence here was gradual – like your eyebrows creeping up your forehead every time he got the ball and deceived, not flattered. But then suddenly we had a difference-maker, an antidote to their poisonous surface, and he turned the tricky task on its head by robbing a dipstick defender and causing the ensuing chaos that led to
the breakthrough. Once blood was drawn he looked most likely to kill the game dead, drawing a solid save from more flighty footwork. A proper player is emerging, bang on cue.

KILLER MUSHROOM – 6/10 – You’re allowed to be kicked, wee mhan – it’s the rules of the Raj. And despite the penalty-non-penalty stonewaller, he furnished a chance or two with sheer endeavour despite more appalling lack of service. For once, his killer instinct didn’t have to dig us out of a hole and he can rest and prepare for the journey into the heart of darkness; Or Joseph Conrad Sunday as it’s known in literary circles.

LORD KATSUMOTO – 6.5/10 – That heid – It’s now Daizeminem. As his rap career takes off he doesn’t let it affect his football; sadly, sometimes that’s not a good thing as he tends to lose himself in the moment, and crosses fly away when he tries to please stand one up for the real Slim Shady. After causing much confusion running around the outside calling everybody Stan, looking for Kim, there was no doubting Daizeminem when he pointed out ‘it’s so empty without me.’ And as he’ll tell you: ‘It’s just the way I am’. And where would we be without the 100% effort from our Role Model? As long as you remember what his name is. His name is. His name is…


SAINT BERNARDO – 6.5/10 – The evil O’Reilly twin appears from the ether and plays a metaphysical one-two with his purer self before killing the game off sweetly. Wicked.

DUNCAN IDAHO – 5.5/10 – A speculative long-ranger from somewhere near the Dr.Livingston memorial tuned his touch in nicely for him to lay on the third with tidy footwork in a tight spot.

YING – N/A – Welcome back. No kicky heids.

JAMESY – N/A – “No, Jamesy, it’s RESurrection Sunday. Always remember the ‘Rez’ syllable first; it’ll save a whole lot of legal fees. Now, on you go for a few minutes.” Jamesy loves Easter – the chicks and particularly the bunnies, for whom he likes to set aside an hour of prayer and offer thanks in memory of their creator, Hugh Heffner.

NED KELLY – N/A – Disgraceful – dragged the kid away from his egg hunt and made him go play on the plasticine for a wee while.

THE SHNAKE – 6.5/10 – Away from the touchline, but not far enough was the sentiment around half-time. Mercifully for him and us, the tide turned with the interval and a few off-pitch bangs woke him up enough to tweak personnel and see out an expected win. Four Japanese, he started with. After thirty games trying to eradicate their influence. Is this a surrender to the Rising Sun? Is it in time? Has he been binging on Shogun through the break? Are we now going to suffer him on the touchline wearing a kimono and referring to himself in interviews as ‘Brennan Rajas’?

MIBBERY – 6/10 – What kind of blindfolded gimp looks at a slo-mo replay of Kyogo getting creamed from behind (steady Jamesy) and dismisses it within seconds? Rhetorical question, obviously. Answer is cheating Zombie so-and-so.. Their sheer hubris. God knows what skullduggery awaits us next week.

OVERALL – 7/10 – Eventually, we’ll take that. Jee-sus, I cannot be arsed with non-competitive International breaks. It was last night, after my fourth cinema visit to see Dune Part 2 (2 big screen, 1 Imax, 1 small, intimate theatre) – yes, kids, nothing better to combat the blues than the blockbuster of the century; multiple times… – deep in the turning seasons, that it dawned on me the proper football was back imminently, and that I’d be occupied more with writing this phish than metaphysically tearing about Araakis blowing up the Zombies. Sorry, ‘Harkonnens’…

An appetiser then, at the dreaded Livi playground put together with cursed melted lego from the Neverland Ranch. This was set up as Narco Davey’s Sellic swansong; last chance to strike a blow for his dark masters. would we see an Easter uprising or depressing? The toil of the opening half suggested the latter and my creeping headache from darkened cinema stalls struggled to cope with the sunny spring lunchtime pints of Guinness health tonic prescribed to me that very morning by Dr. Inner Voice.

Eventually, whatever Jesus juice the bhoys took at half-time worked like the magic black stuff and we both had a second-half to dispel the demons. Of course we were expected to win, and of course we did. But pleasingly, it was in an eventual no-fuss manner at a former graveyard of optimism. Players came through fit, healthy and confident – some appearing ready to bewilder the conceited, arrogant Zombies with unfamiliar boxes of tricks next Schadenfreude Sunday.

So the season’s a single-figure countdown of matches, with two death-or-glory contests that will decide all. The ending of this movie will be epic and dramatic. I can’t dare to call it, as we’ve been on our knees so many times. But we’re soon going to find out if this falls the way of original fantastical lore as from the pen of Frank Herbert, or pretendy repackaged artifice that’s fooling nobody from the thieving lens of George Lucas (See what i did there, Dune and peed-off Star Wars fans?).

Here comes the final battle, so jump on for the ride. Fear is the mind-killer. Long live the fighters.

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. George Theodorou on

    Snuffed out like a stolen orphan… ? Are you for real man ? You could not think of a better example to write ? Where is your mind out to write something like that ?

  2. Always enjoy the Sandman ratings column….just need to put the ball in the net more times than the denizens of Barad-Dur. And we’re ‘officially’ top