Sandman’s Definitive Ratings – Celtic at Tony Montana Arena


“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it. Particularly when the MIBs are at it.” – Molière

ROXIE – 5/10 – Ooft, felt that one. So did Joe, twice. 737 senior games with no red until he rocks up at Narco Davey’s Compound and faces a frontal assault by a gigantic henchman. First day of autumn became Johnny B. Zombies’ Xmas morning as he got to can a Bhoy before the ludge’s lunchtime goat even got foreplay. As for Joe, third time unlucky – already had a couple of rushes after being exposed by the backline’s mistiming. Made a fine save to keep the peace early on, provided the day’s comedy moments as he watched the rest of the match on Sky’s monitor behind the scenes.

GREGGS THE BAKER – 8/10 – Such fine industry, was a shoe-in for MOTM for much of the game; had more ball touches than Lana Wolf in a Louden Bar after-party (ubiquitous gag inserted, move on…) and his phenomenal commitment held the lines together while we gritted down with ten.

WAYNE GRETZKY – 7/10 – Likes a physical challenge and Livi are full of them. The moose got loose aboot their hoose and gave as good as he got, proving a useful sponge to sap some combative energy from their frontline.

LAGERTHA – 6/10 – Only in viking folklore had she come across the myth of battle-giants. Until Livingston. Faced with sun-blocking opponents, a deep breath and focussed wits got her through the game unscathed after a sticky opening that cost us a keeper.

OF JUSTICE – 6.5/10 – Between him and Lagertha they contrived to leave too much space in behind them for the opening half hour. He was getting too cute on that pitch and being turned with every direct ball over the top. Ironically, Joe being sacrificed tuned him in, and classic defending mode was instigated – basic anticipation, interception and distribution suited him perfectly and sitting deep got his head together to secure another clean sheet.

CALMAC – 7/10 – A tricky proposition for the skip, holding it together a man down and keeping the football flowing on a surface made from Lana Wolf’s discarded adult toys; just a year’s worth, mind (bonus ubiquitous gag inserted, move on…). But he did it, with less of a conducting of the orchestra and more like a haranguing and bullying into a 60-minute reprise with a tuba missing.

THE BUILDER – 8.5/10 MOTM – I’ve harped on about his newly-found dig this season, and today it was most required. Didn’t he do well? Prodding in the second (bigots triggered there) and upping his game so considerably
he covered more ground than Lana’s mattress (Three!). Not that he was showboating by the end, but his 75th
minute, closed-face, 9-iron pitch to Kyogo got him in next week’s Ryder Cup team.

HAKUNA HATATE – 7/10 – An hour will do. Getting busier, getting more effective; the run for the pen, and then the pen… no laughing at the back – it went in but Kyogo’s back on them surely? Reo’s rehab continues at a pace Keith Richards would approve of – we’ll get a hell of a tune out of him in coming months.

LORD KATSUMOTO – 8/10 – The best closing-downer in world football, bar none. Daizen is Daizen – a samurai to the end; not content with running himself into the lego for the cause, he Cruyff-turns and whams one into the roof of the net with the surprised nonchalance of a shogun ending a party by cutting down a pinata. In the words of Gregory (‘s Girl) Underwood, ‘What a guy. What. A. Guy…”

JAMESY – N/A – 30 minutes is all it took. With barely any eye contact. Suddenly, the wee cutie in the stand’s
vacating her seat and Jamesy’s signalling to be hooked, and disappears down the tunnel Bow your heids in awe.You want some context to big Joe cheering as he watched a monitor? That wasn’t the game – he was
checking out the CCTV footage of the action in the dressing room…

KILLER MUSHROOM – 7/10 – As Tuesday’s horror-show fades, the silent assassin reboots and sets his sights on the dark forest of hulking savages to negotiate. We only caught glimpses of him among the sinuous, enormous limbs that intertwined in a fairytale nightmare tangle around their box. But when he danced around and between their clutching grasp, his quality prevailed and we saw enough moments of creatvity to win the day.


OH BHOY – N/A – Keen but rough – not getting the game-time he needs but expect that will come as Kyogo tires/wears down for a spell. Should have scored and he knows it, but smashed a confidence-booster wide.

BANE – 6/10 – From the shadows he was born, and from the shadows of the Celtic squad he emerged as an emergency replacement. Who’d take that playing surface to test your nerves as a sub keeper? But he handled everything pretty well, played it safe and kept panic to a minimum.

TONIO IWATAO – 6/10 – You again? The fella from the crowd on Tuesday? Tonio was the right man for the job – sit in there and break them down, tidy up, keep us stable. Did just fine.

THE SHNAKE – 7.5/10 – Welcome to the graveyard. Early season Celtic hopes have been dashed many a time at Escobar’s Ranch and managers’ reputations put on the line. But The Shnake’s reputation is dirt among many
anyway (this Bhoy here!) so he set up the side with nothing to lose and we lost nothing. It will have been a forceful endorsement of his tactical nous among the players; some of whom still like to indulge in a little Angeball…And regain him some small measure of credibility among the skeptics (also this Bhoy here!).

The staged publicity stunt on the lap of gratitude won’t do his image any harm either – wrestling a kidnapped child from a snatcher disguised as a steward, and returning the beaming boy to his folks. What do you mean, “Not staged, Sandman, ffs…”? The kid went back into the crowd wearing a Gucci belt!

MIBBERY – 7/10 – Well, Johnny B. Zombie did his forefathers proud. Set up the Bhoys on a tee and stepped back for Marty-dale the Mule (the cocaine kind, kids) to smash them down the plastic fairway with his Three Wood-cum-bong. Amazingly, even with wee Steve Naive on VAR the plan fell upon the altar of the fighting mad Irish as the ten men won the day and also the Davey Drug Bust Award For shutting down the Zombies’ party early.

OVERALL – 8/10 – Magic – a fine win in supposed adversity at the joint-worst pitch in the Prem after a tough Euro week. Who was looking forward to Livi away? The SPL equivalent of root-canal treatment. We were too antsy for the opening spell and left too much space in behind the defence; they exploited that time and time again and
the Big Joe incident was one of Nostradamus’s easiest calls.

With the greatest of universal irony the dismissal helped us tactically – we instinctively dropped deeper, focussed on containing space much more, shut off their hopes, invited them out. Then it became our turn to exploit them like a jive-talkin’ crime movie set in Harlem in the 1970s. We were Huggy Bear, they were drug-pushin’ punks Starsky and Hutch bust in the backstreet alley pool hall. Shivers down yer spine there, eh Davey?

So upwards and onwards we rise, digging out a real filip from a place that’s often a Schofield.

Mind the Gap.

Coincidentally, also the store Davey used to shoplift for gear from. Happy Days, Zombies.

Go Away Now


About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds 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 Comment

  1. Wish I was on VAR.
    Would execute my duties with the utmost impartiality…
    “ Penalty to Celtic !”
    What do you mean it’s not started yet !