Sandman’s Definitive Ratings – Celtic at West Lothian Municipal 5-a-Side Park

SANDMAN’S DEFINITIVE RATINGS: CELTIC @ WEST LOTHIAN MUNICIPAL 5-A-SIDE PARK...

“This may be one of the mildest Halloweens Scotland has experienced. Except in some parts, though – it’s -19 in Govan.” – Sean, STV Weather.

ROXIE – 6/10 – Barely a touch required, or any footwork, which he’ll be relieved about. First-half, he got to swan around in his sun-cap; tricked-out like a reject from a mince 90s boyband. Backstreet Bhoys…

GREGGS THE BAKER – 8.5/10 MOTM – Could he do it again? 22/1 to score anytime said he couldn’t, and my experienced soccer-watcher expertise agreed after detailed examination of all possibilities…And knowing hee-haw dispels the ignorance-is-bliss mythos when your inverted-nipple surprise package rocks up and smashes one in from 20 yards. Incidentally, also 40/1 to score from outside the box… I could have been one a plane to the Canaries this evening…So as I clunk my head slowly and repeatedly off the pub wall, let’s dish the praise for the digger with the guile – not only giving us breathing space with that beautifully flush strike, but also having laid on the opener with an incisive ball to Kyogo. Just two noteable involvements among his many, iced with a laughing finale as Gollum saw a leak of my MOTM choice and booked him out of spite.

BIG MERCEDES – 6.5/10 – Another who focussed well on application and let the ball do the work. No eccentric passes into bumpy dangerland, just solid no-nonsense defending. Took a good card for a wise lunge to halt a break.

GET CARTER – 6.5/10 – ‘My God, they found somebody bigger than me…’ Eventful opening half-hour as our G.I Joe took on John Coffey from The Green Mile. No gentle giant business there as they went at it with The Rock looking-on, wincing into his mug of tea. After a yellow for a grapple Rowdy Roddy Piper would have admired, CCV’s class eventually won out and he took the title belt after managing a clean sheet and every aerial ball well-contested.

TONY THE TIGER – 6.5/10 – Grrr, said Tony as the plastic grass caught his tiger claws and hampered his usual potency. He struggled for a while with the run of the ball and getting over a decent cross, but persistence is his game and he was there until the death bursting down the wing and pinning them in.

THE BUILDER – 6/10 – Conditions antithetical to his ability. Yet, the youngster showed fine discipline to inhabit the captain’s space and play the holding role. Caught in possession once which might have been costly, but every one of our midfielders was at some point. That lapse aside, he simply let his nous and feet do the talking and guided us to 3 points without serious mishap.

HAKUNA HATATE – 6/10 – In Japan, mostly everything’s made out of plastic. Or rubber, if you’ve seen Godzilla. And some of the wimmin. So a combination of both, you’d think would suit Reo. Ironically not, as they actually play on some grass in the J-League. He didn’t get the measure of Livi’s shredded linoleum and cut a frustrated ninja as cultured passes bumped away like ping-pong balls in a wind tunnel. However, he’s all about dig as well, and that workrate compensated.

MOOEY – 8/10 – “Boo! Woo-hoo, it’s Broony!” he howled into Gollum’s ear, who shrieked and fell to the ground clutching his inverted crucifix. So Halloween Broony showed up, trick and treating us in the unlikeliest of circumstances; Of all Celtic players on this pitch, it seemed that he adjusted quickest to the midfield flow and became key to the eventual win. A sound outing that’ll shape him in Aussie plans for Qatar, and also one that enhances his credibility in the eyes of Paradise – many a player’s Celtic dream has been crushed at plastic purgatory, most recently Bolingoli. So getting through today with acclaim and almost a goal himself has many fans nodding between themselves like Eminem and Dr.Dre at the mention of his name.

JAMESY – 6.5/10 – He loves to score in Lothian, does Jamesy. Sometimes on the pitch too. Close today, but no cigar despite coming to life as ever at the sight of a tightly-packed box…His final swipes failed to make the right contact in each half. Shame, as another double-banger would have been nice; he’s a had a few of them in those parts.

MR.KOBAYASHI – 7.5/10 – Perfect. Such a sweet hit by the wee terror at precisely the right time for both him and us. Midweek abominations blown away, much like the rigging, as he slashed in an early opener to calm any of the Bhoys trepidations. Movement and work-rate tremendous – last man at the back at one point to snuff out an opening; grinning his way through a tricky tie, and even finding time for a Diet Sumo contest in the first half.

HACKY SACK – 6.5/10 – Not 100% fit, he says. Well, there’ll be fireworks when he’s at peak fleet-footedness and sharpness. Kept coming back for more today though faced-down with double and triple layers of custard-vomit-hued jerseys when on the ball. He has the appetite we need to get results in these domestic drudge games.

SUBS –

SON OF JACKIE – LOL/10 – Oh, dear, the big mhan rolled out the wrong side of his hammock this morning. Cursed by Livi, we got a replica of his most infamous moment in the Hoops a year to the day. Nothing went right. Currently to be found in the stadium car park fighting himself like Tyler Durden.

ABADASS – N/A – Spiderman on to take up the late wing role, flurried about them to make their defence just wish it would end.

NOTEBOOK – 7/10 – Wham, bam, thank you M’am! Young Gun’s back with a bad bhoy bang – wins a pen then spikes in the killing blow. He’s back in the biz and the solo album’s titled “Livingston With Extreme Prejudice”

TWIST – N/A – More minutes to find his feet, and displayed a lively pair with some intricate quicksteps in their box.

EDDIE TURNBULL – 6.5/10 – Who said he’s done? Not much in favour, the bhoy approached this introduction with much more alacrity and looked nimble and alert compared to recent lazy appearances. Neat interplay, and then some adept movement to beat their line and facilitate his quality part in the third. Can he produce such electric moments more often? His Celtic story will live or die by it.

ANITA DOBSON – 8/10 – Back where the honeymoon ended. And the marriage is stronger than ever. Defeat at the Spaghettihad in September 2021 had Ange’s tenure on a pivot. He came through it, won there earlier this year. But today? After a depressing CL outcome midweek? With a harrowing trip to Madrid imminent and the uglies’ breath on the back of his neck as wee Gio gets his Halloween horrors
back onside and chasing us down like the Headless Horsemen of Follow Follow? So what does he do? Well, he plays Angeball, that’s what.Makes the changes, asks for bravery, commitment, and the faith brings rewards. This was Angeball reigned in to suit conditions; more gung-slow than gung-ho, but still possessing a swift cutting edge when the openings appeared.No quarter was given or intensity diminished or excuses cultivated. Tasks were allocated, the players were briefed. Well focussed, well done.

MIBBERY – 2/10 – Well, the wee fella Gollum took a bleaching from the big Aussie and seemed to get some sense knocked into him for a while as he talked more than booked, and even lost his servile instincts at one point to award a penalty to the Celts. Of course, by the end his hallucinations had stopped and he was back in the groove, managing to flash as many pointless cards at Hoops as he could muster. All rather futile, but his ire understandable as he faces the prospect of attempting to raise the spirits of an inconsolable VAR team.

OVERALL – 8/10 – Livi are, to say the least, well-drilled, very disciplined and rigidly adhere to their game plan. Davy Martindale always pays great attention to detail and calculated risk, playing the percentages and making sure there’s little waste or cheap opportunities given for would-be pilferers. But you have to when you’re cutting Arm & Hammer baking soda with half a pound of wee mad mental Waffles fae Chaplehall’s finest nose candy. There’s no room for error…

Mistakes cost lives, so we knew we had better be ready for a scrap and a war of attrition. Luckily, Celtic of old have laid a pretext for Livi away – every mess-up in the book’s been recorded there, so nowadays we’re on the road again well tooled-up and ready to take on Davy And The Narcos. This was a controlled, disciplined display by Celtic, ideal for such a game; we minimised our own errors on the worst pitch since Alfie Morelos’ agent offered Paramount the rights to ‘Babe 3: Pig In Govan mIng-hole’. We were considered and patient and still possessed the guile to manufacture the spaces to unleash our firepower. Took our chances timeously and snuffed their resistance.

All in, this was a most satisfactory day in Livingston; second only to when David the explorer discovered the ludge and slaughtered every one of the orange natives for being a blight on civilisation itself.

Go Away Now

Sandman

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 editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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