Sandman’s Definitive Ratings – Celtic Lite v Spud’s Strollers


“The greatest mystery of existence is existence itself.”  Deepak Chopra, paraphrasing L.Griffiths.

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DUKE OF HAZARD – 6/10 – Fine save 1 on 1 looked to have turned the tide for us. Good shot-stopping was tarnished by his part in the chaotic chucking of the lead at the death as he failed to clear-out  or get a hand on the ball.

WELSH – 6.5/10 – Solid enough outing from young Raquel, despite obviously feeling the cold in her fur bikini. Can’t argue with his disciplined play, competently fulfilling his remit.

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ALAN LADD – 6/10 – Dear God, the last defender standing. Reminded me of the  grand National of 1967 when Foinavon emerged from the pile-up to leap the 23rd fence and win. They named that fence after the unlikely outsider. Tonight, they put one in the Celtic defence and we shut our eyes. After a stoic performance – a mix of great defensive blocks and headers, and also stupid passes giving away possession – positivity was tainted by yet another failure at a vital set-piece. We needed a commanding presence. He’s here for that.  We got overwhelmed. And undone.

DREXL – 4/10 – Always competitive, regardless of form. As the left channel got clogged and he roved inside we looked more dangerous. BUT, with the game in the bag, flaming idiocy – a lazy foul and they scramble the equaliser. That crucial flaw is why he’s here and not at the San Siro.

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PINGPONG – 5/10 – Not advanced enough. Whether that was a ploy, wary of Hibs breaking or just that he was stifled, his attacking effectiveness was blunted and he was sometimes caught  in no-man’s land as long diagonals searching out Hibs’  wide-men swooped over his head.

MAN OF – 7/10 MOTM – Booked, by brother of  Ibrox striker. Taken down by a  worse offence moments later; no card – a microcosm of what we’re up against.  Then, as we imposed, he unleashed a screamer that brought out the save of the game. It was also a signal of Celtic asserting some dominance. He continued to be the only consistent, reliable midfield performer. All the more admirable given the Sword of Damocles hanging over him for an hour.

EDDIE TURNBULL – 6.5/10 – Surprisingly ineffective against his beloved former team, after starting with his custom floating threat. Though when we required some quality input to win the game, up he stepped with a peach of a free-kick and it looked like he was going to be the hero. Not so.

CALMAC – 4/10 – Cautious and majorly disappointing. Weight of responsibility? How unlike Calmac to exert so litlte influence on a game set up for him to dominate and dictate the passage of play. His anonymity was baffling as he popped up from the fringes like a bit-player when so often he’s the lead role.

ROGIC – 5/10 – Flashes of guile promised much. But we needed a match-winning Oz and by the time the game was stretched, he’d stretched too much and was heavy-legged and heavy-touched.

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JOE HARPER – 4/10 – Well, he’s lost a ton of weight since last time I watched him in an Aberdeen shirt. We got movement and sharpness  from a bhoy keen to make an impression, but who left none. His confidence seemed to evaporate after squandering a  chance when a cut-back option was a tap-in for Oz.

MIKEY J – 4/10 – Started slack and sand-dancerish. Echoing the 80s in more ways than hairstyle – he’s beginning to replicate the light-weight contributions of Owen Archdeacon when we need a Tommy Coyne.

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FLEX ARMSTRONG – N/A – The big moment he’d waitied/tweeted for. Someone give him a kick of the ball next time.

HENDERSON T-9000 – N/A – The latest Henderson replicant appeared with hope of  some flashy match-winning touches. Didn’t get one.

KARAOKE – N/A – Another enlightening appearance form the gifted kid?  No time or service to light up anything.

STRACHAN JR – 6/10 – Tried to sign Scott McDonald this afternoon. Demanded we maintained velocity from the start – an old Strachan family gag. Must have thought he’s take his 100% record home but disaster spoiled his night. Could he have done more? Shored it up better? – we looked so flaming open at 1-0 The Omen soundtrack should have been played over the PA system. Ah, well. He’ll not want to hear anything too negative from anyone with a devil dug and a can of Kestrel so best ignore the phone-ins then, Gav.

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OVERALL – 5/10 – So, what did we learn? Well, we know who big Jullien Clary’s been seeing in Dubai. Griff was the cert, obviously, but it was dismaying to see our entire forward guns obliterated. And wouldn’t you just know from this apparently cursed season of the 10 that we wouldn’t hang around for the them to win it; we’d throw it at them too for good measure…

Our midfield was strong enough to call the shots and compensate for the lightweight frontline. Or so we believed. Properly functioning, the engine room should have seen us clear. Yet even at a struggle, we’d done enough…After surviving Hibs’ 50 corners it came down to…

…Just basically defending a cross for a terrific psychological victory.  And they just basically Hibsed it.

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This is Unknown Celtic to many. This bizarre season casts me right back to the inexplicable mess-ups of the 90s as the old Rangers cheated their way to glory and we played everybody off the park before tributing Kurt Cobain and turning the shotgun under our chins. Back then we were a similar collective of talents you expected to blend into a dynamic title-winning machine. And yet it was bewildering X-Files material every week then, too, mostly; Such parallels we are experiencing now, right before our eyes.

They say history doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes. Well, it’s rubbish at poetry this season.

Go Away Now. 20/21


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

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