SANDMAN’S DEFINITIVE RATINGS: CELTIC v NASTIO…
“The Rangers International Intersectional Internazi football Club can announce the departure of first-teamcoach, Ian Beale, who has left to focus on his independent trader’s marketplace enterprise in East London.
“Contrary to despicable rumours, Mr.Mole has been paid off in full and will not require an extended European run ‘just to keep him in broon brogues’ as quoted extensively across social media. In what we insist are unrelated matters, the club are on the search to replace some missing items from the trophy room – a rather spiffing racing bike and a selection of ceramics from around the globe…”
– Sauron Of Mordor’s statement on the sacking of The Shire; and Ian Beale.
ROXIE – 7.5/10 – Terrific all game, feet or hands. No chance with the goals, stood in as much disbelief as anyone else as they snatched it. 10 Million. 10 Million…
GREGGS THE BAKER – 7.5/10 – Epitomised the cliche, ‘came onto a game’ as he’d started pretty sketchy. But once he realised where he was and the occasion, his second-half was as good as any he’s posted in Europe; never missed or misplaced a pass, nothing got by him, and he got everywhere.
WAYNE GRETZKY – 7/10 – Rugged as the Rockies, startled the Nazio left side with his sheer intransigence. Kept them at minimum penetration – take note, Jamesy – and might even have scored himself, but fluffed his lines.
THE NATIONALIST – 6/10 – Solid, it has to be noted, given his lack of game-time. Sharp enough too, that he wasn’t mugged by some top-class strikers around him. Unlike his replacement…
OF JUSTICE – 8.5/10 MOTM – Well, if we don’t know who Liam’s Da’ is by now, then I’m nominating the fella who swept the roads in Banrdarrig in the late 90s, because this was a sweeper performance to echo the great Baresi.Read the game to perfection, distributed precisely and timed every tackle and interception like a ginger, athletic Raymond the Rainman counting cards in Caesar’s Palace. Yet here, the bhoy dismissed out of turn for the past two seasons was in Caesar’s Position, and doing that glorious European memory proud.
CALMAC – 7.5/10 – The Skip was on his knees at the death. After a half of turning the screw, poised to finish them off, he had to watch the points be thrown away. Not a lot else he could have done bar put the ball in their net himself – his positional play dominated a quality midfield and begged for someone to finish what he kept starting.
THE BUILDER – 7.5/10 – Builders build walls – sometimes even walls that stay up – and that cushioned pass to Kyogo to score surely came off a wall constructed in gold bullion. More matchwinning magic from the silky shambler; well, not quite. His deft touch and drifting eloquence had them standing off and opening late space we didn’t capitalise on. Mainly due to a missing cog in The Hoops’ midfield apparatus…
HAKUNA HATATE – 5/10 – THE major disappointment of the night, and probably the difference between winning comfortably and that dung-show we suffered. Only for a brief spell did Reo get to his levels; the rest of his game was a series of poor touches, wayward passes and mistimed runs; the New Contract Blues…
LORD KATSUMOTO – 8/10 – He’s brilliant in these games, is Daizen; Incredibly alarming to casual swarthy Euro-defenders who like a bit of swaggering time on the ball. He was in their faces, up their backsides, terrifying their loved ones… An absolute demon just over your shoulder. And if only he hadn’t been so ubiquitous, he’d never have gotten the faintest flick on a sclaffed overhead attempt to play Palma offside and we’d have justly won. Sigh.
KILLER MUSHROOM – 7.5/10 – What we’ve been waiting for – a CL strike, and it came swiftly and clinically and still looks like he black magick-ed it right through the keeper like a deadly Japanese David Blaine. Appeared in the mood for a double but we didn’t find the right service at crucial times and he departed after running himself into the ground for the cause like a wee champion.
YING – 6/10 – The bhoy’s feet looked comfortable at this level – lot of promising movement with guileful trickery, but the finishing gild evaded him.
GET CARTER – 3/10 – Aw Ghod. The big strong man returns to a hero’s welcome then contrives to chuck the game with his last touch. ‘Kick it to hell, for heaven’s sake’; that’s what it says in the coaching manual….A disaster he could and should have averted – don’t trust your own senses too much after a lengthy lay-off and operation; there’s fitter and match-sharper villains around waiting for that complacent lapse. They were on him like wasps and the curtain crashed down like a Zombie on the express elevator to hell.
OH BHOY – N/A – Oh, damn.
BRIAN DE – 7/10 – He did it again! No… No, he didn’t; The most spectacular moment of his career ruined by a baldy Japanese samurai warrior. After that surge of glory, the De Palma school of film-making threw up a gut-wrenching climax that sickened audiences around the world. And the ecstatic lhad himself ended up booked for something – according to the enforced rules – that never actually happened. Life is stranger than fiction right enough…
SAINT BERNARDO – N/A – “There’s two Matt O’Reillys on the park!” And both seem to share decent balling ability.
THE SHNAKE – 8/10 – Not a lot he could do, either progressively influencing proceedings or setting up any other way. The side looked to be performing to instruction – focussed ball-retention and calculated attack; everything went to plan more or less for 95 minutes. Subs came on and added a bit, won the game in any other universe other than Celtic Park on a CL night when we need a win…Overall he can’t be anything other than quite pleased and utterly flaming gutted at the same time.
OVERALL – 8/10 – Jesus. Flaming. Wept. That’s not blasphemy, Faither – it’s three different sentences. Anyway, where was yer Ghod tonight? Looking after his Roman fascists by the upshot of it…You know, it’s easier to rant about a right good Euro-horsing than try and summarise tonight’s Italian operatic tragedy of elite football – we were generally excellent, holding our own in the rarefied atmosphere, pinning them in and had them praying for a point.
Then the night of the Three Tenors turned flaming nuts at the crescendo of Nessun Dorma as Pavarotti, Domingo and the other one nobody can remember, hit bum notes, stripped off their tuxes to reveal Pennywise outfits and drove off stage in a clown car, parping the horn as we all watched on stupefied and dumbstruck.
Only small voice in the stadium that could be heard was Jamesy, mumbling, “Heck, that’s a kick in the nuts, an’ ah know all aboot bein’ kicked in the nuts…Lost count, me…” Shut up, Jamesy, it’s time to suck it up – no, not like that… – and find the positives; once more we showed a competitive ability at the highest level, looked worth the point if not three.
And the negatives – we’re cursed by some flaming Zombie witch! And out of curiosity I’d like to see what happens if someone could manage to douse Emma Dodds in Holy water before she leaves the stadium…
So, to summarise – baaaaaaaarsteeeward
Not an easy one to take; nurofen will be guzzled. But the only real proven answer to anguish like that is 2 bottles of Jack Daniels and 12 hours straight of The Doors until I’m careering around a hotel room like Captain Willard, erse-naked doing Kung-Fu and trashing the joint. Premier Inns here we come.
Until flaming Saturday…
Go Away Now
Join The Celtic Star at the Kerrydale on Thursday 19 October when we celebrate the launch of Matt Corr’s new book Majic, Stan and the King of Japan which tells the story of Gordon Strachan’s first season as Celtic manager. We’ll have the trophies that the Celtic team won that season plus well delighted welcome our special guests John Hartson and Stephen McManus, both stars of that Celtic team.
And we have other guests to be announced later this week plus there’s live music from the wonderful Boolavogue. Tickets are selling fast for what is sure to be a wonderful night of Celtic conversation and music and you can order below…