Sandman’s Definitive Ratings – Celtic at Wooly-Bully


Aberdeen v Celtic – Celtic fans during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Aberdeen and Celtic at Pittodrie on 3 February 2024. Aberdeen Pittodrie. Photo Stephen Dobson PSI

“Contradict myself? I don’t contradict myself. Yes, I do, I really do. Beautifully. Or not,”Buck Rodgers

Joe Hart of Celtic at the final whistle Aberdeen v Celtic, Cinch Scottish Premiership, Football, Pittodrie, Aberdeen, UK – 03 Feb 2024. Photo Mark Runnacles/Shutterstock

ROXIE – 7/10 MOTM – What would ye do without Big Joe? Well, notch up a humiliating pumping for a start. Very difficult day for the Hart-haters, who’d be melting their keyboards when he thrashed a couple of pass-backs out the park. Once his own defence had stopped trying to slip it past him, they disintegrated and we all climbed behind the couch/bar, watching in disbelief as The Sheep ran through the sheepdogs at will. But cometh the hour, cometh the big mhan and a double classic of Joe stops gave the Zombies blue baws.

DIEGO ARMANDO MARADONA – 5/10 – Not quite sure if the wriggly wee guy with the South American mullet is the right fit for this Celtic side, given he’s got some intricate boots but found his main obstacle to be his own
dithering winger up ahead. Forged forwards constantly, seemed to run into trouble with as much regularity as well. Yet, still looks like he can play a bit.

Alistair Johnston of Celtic at the final whistle Aberdeen v Celtic, Cinch Scottish Premiership, Football, Pittodrie, Aberdeen, UK – 03 Feb 2024. Photo Mark Runnacles/Shutterstock

WAYNE GRETZKY – 6.5/10 – Second week in a row he’s been the most focussed and consistent outfield player, all-in for the win, good strong play and a few fine cross balls deserving of finishes.

OF JUSTICE – 5/10 – Appeared a bit ill at ease, perhaps missing the CCV influence. Certainly didn’t handle a more aggressive Dons front line in the second half; just seemed strung-out with the Melchester Rovers shirts swarming all around him.

APOLLO CREED – 4/10 – When the heat was turned up, he staggered around punch-drunk. Lucky Bhoy not to see red as the MIBs missed a sitter. Like Liam, flustered was his default setting; skinned and rinsed by ‘not the Celtic striker we need’ for their goal.

3rd February 2024 Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen, Scotland Scottish Premiership Football, Aberdeen versus Celtic Callum McGregor of Celtic passes instructions to his team mates. Photo  ActionPlus Vagelis Georgariou

CALMAC – 6/10 – Poor Captain, my Captain – a Han Solo lunchtime slog in the middle as his midfield cohorts frazzled around him, out-fought by snapping teuchters. But credit Calmac for holding it together as everyone else threw their hands in the air and shook their heads.

SAINT BERNARDO – 3.5/10 – Virtually anonymous, maybe cursed by a ‘system’ that isolates him between their lines and does its worst to seek him out; as in, fruitless running by him, mostly – only example of his role working was when he dinked the bar after finally segueing with an attacking thrust.

3rd February 2024 Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen, Scotland Scottish Premiership Football, Aberdeen versus Celtic Matt ORiley of Celtic on the ball. Photo  ActionPlus Vagelis Georgariou

THE BUILDER – 4/10 – The difference. So many loose touches, failed passes, exasperating end-product; just one of those days for the silky kid, and if he’d managed anything near the levels he’s set then we may have won reasonably comfortably.

BRIAN DE – 3.5/10 – Does anyone have the faintest inkling of what the hell he’s going to do? Firing in deliveries like we’d signed Peter Dinklage as centre-forward in the window. The one time he manages to lift it he scoops a big chance onto the bar. Cuts inside more times than a razor blade kebab, perhaps imbalanced mostly due to the off-the-ball slug-balancing act he performs with his top lip.

Aberdeen v Celtic. Kyogo Furuhashi8 of Celtic during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match at Pittodrie Stadium on 3 February 2024. Photo Stephen Dobson PSI

KILLER MUSHROOM – 4/10 – Not a sniff. Not his fault. Found more service/ball when he dropped into a number 10 role. But we don’t need Kyogo there. Subject of the new appendage to Brendan Rodgers’ biography: ‘How To Blunt A 30-Goals-A-Season Striker With Stubborn Egotistical Tactical Choices’.

3rd February 2024 Pittodrie Stadium, Scottish Premiership Football, Aberdeen versus Celtic Liel Abada of Celtic on the ball. Photo ActionPlus Vagelis Georgariou

ABADASS – 3.5/10 – Much scampering and an early flash of promise – if he’d scored the game was won. But faded as we’ve become acustomed to, too many times when we’re in need of match-winners.


DUNCAN IDAHO – 6/10 – The hero of Dune who sacrificed his life for the cause. Annoyingly, he wouldn’t go that far but did rumble around and exhibit some nice touches, especially for the goal.

Aberdeen v Celtic – Anthony Ralston applauds the fans at the end of the cinch Premiership match at Pittodrie Stadium,  Saturday February 3, 2024. Photo Jane Barlow

TONY THE TIGER – N/A – ‘Left? Where’s that? Oh, aye, I remember. Again?’ And so our new left-back turns out to be our old right-back. Cunning plan.

RAQUEL – N/A – Some glamour to warm the locals up for the after-match sheep cabaret.

VALUE ADDED TAX – N/A – No time for the youngster to be a hero. Like he doesn’t deserve a start, what with the dazzling performances of the first eleven…

Nicolas Kuhn of Celtic scores. Aberdeen v Celtic, Cinch Scottish Premiership, Football, Pittodrie, Aberdeen, UK – 03 Feb 2024. Photo Mark Runnacles/Shutterstock

TAKINTE – 6.5/10 – Ah, a chink of light in the frozen north wastelands. Kieran Paddy Tierney-Roberts lifts the game and saves the day – almost. Did manage to contribute more in his time than the entire front line before him, showing some nifty footwork and snatching a precious equaliser to stop the entire season caving-in.

THE SHNAKE – 5/10 – Well, we don’t know, and it seems he doesn’t either – “We need quality in,” became ‘ We need to respect and work with the players we have,” in the space of a couple of months. And the ‘system’ resembles a slap-dash casual assembly of individuals given free-reign to improvise, not bound by any intensity or structure.

The whole sense of his approach is drifting towards a lack of urgency to address obvious flaws; almost like
he can’t be bothered with the hassle of micro-managing areas of concern that are costing us dearly. Makes you wonder who’s really in charge here, if anybody wants to be in charge here, or we’re going to witness another season of buck-passing or Buck passing-on.

Aberdeen v Celtic – Referee Steven McLean during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Aberdeen and Celtic at Pittodrie on 3 February 2024. Photo Stephen Dobsonx PSI

MIBBERY – 5/10 – “Anybody found the telly control? Anybody got a boax if this hing’s knackered?” And so we waited until the VAR official came out the pub after his lunchtime ploughman’s with a hacked Amazon firestick he’d bought from Hamish The Techie in the toilets. Finally we were off, and so too was Maik; incredible opportunity squandered by VAR to dismiss a Bhoy. I can only imagine they were flipping through the movies and tv series on offer on the firestick when the big eejit gifted them a goat-molester special. Luckily, calamity was avoided and they didn’t have much else to do except chuckle at another inept Hoops display.

Nicolas Kuhn of Celtic celebrates scoring. Aberdeen v Celtic, Cinch Scottish Premiership, Football, Pittodrie, Aberdeen, UK – 03 Feb 2024. Photo Mark Runnacles/Shutterstock

OVERALL – 4/10 – Ah, for heaven’s sake – there’s not really any coming back from this sort of performance. Reeks of 2021’s disjointed inadequacy – a side without a rhythm and proper focus. The irony of going down to a great strike from ‘not the Celtic striker we need’ is lost on no-one. He might’ve been the last choice for many, but a decent choice he was – and we all saw that…

So the gate’s wide open for the cloven-hooved Zombies to gallop through and gain the high ground. They won’t
miss this time because they’ve gained what we’ve lost – focus and momentum. They’ll be at it backed by a monstrous ugly army of verminous bedlamites foaming at the mouth to overtake us. Last week was a major warning as to what happens when standards drop. This week was the bitter payoff of not heeding the clarions, not even bothering too much to address the glaring deficiencies we’ve been discussing for months.

Like 2021, the angst rises when it looks like many care less than they should, and you wonder where the mental
strength will come from when the collective id seems vulnerable. That second 45 today – pulled this way and that, stretched, sprung open, will be the poster-child for title surrender if these Bhoys don’t get their acts together in unison.

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. Agree with most of that, woeful from too many, too often.
    However, please tell me why McGregor gets such high marks? For me, he was totally anonymous and I can recall the last time he actually passed a ball forwards!!
    As for tactics (sic) there was one example when we under attack and our defence broke it up, a good ball was fed to the right wing but, instead of carrying it forward, whoever it was (they all look the same now) stopped dead and, you’ve guessed it, the ball went back…then back even further. Is that a Rodgers tactic? If so, he’s at the wrong club.

  2. Just as under , “Lennon’s Last Stand ” , circa 2020 / 2021 . We have a team full of “Gutless Wonders” led by a management team and a manager who don’t seem to bother to assess teams we are about to play . Same formation / same tactics / same team regardless of who the opposition might be .
    We have a back four with the mentality of schoolboys , who are caught in the opposition half time and time again and then sh** themselves when a long- diagonal or long ball is played over their heads . We have a mid-field who under Ange hunted -down the opposition the minute possession was lost but no longer do that .They , in conjunction with the front three , don’t ” Run off the ball” to create space and make the opposition work .
    We have players who are , “First-picks” no matter how they are playing or who we are playing . We don’t change formation during games to cope with threats from the opposition . We are too slow in possession , we don’t pass the ball forward fast enough , we don’t shoot on sight , we can’t score from penalties , we can’t score free kicks from just outside the box , we have not scored from a corner-kick for about three seasons .
    Every Celtic fan identifies these weaknesses and shouts about them during an after every game . The only problem is , the Board and Brendan and his backroom staff don’t appear to be listening .
    We need a manager who knows when to ” Kick A**e ” , as well as put a hand round the shoulder and we need a backroom staff who can cure the issues fans see week in week out . We will then be a team capable of competing in Europe and kicking ” The Huns” into oblivion .