Sandman’s Definitive Ratings – Celtic v Shepherdless Flock


“The visions are clear now – I see possible futures all at once. Our enemies are all around us, and in so many futures, they prevail. But I do see a way. There is a narrow way through; Penalties. Flaming penalties…”

– Paul Atreides, ‘Dune’.

ROXIE – 7/10 – Legends are born on the ancient Hamdump field of dreams. Madmen have their moments too. Our combined mentalist goalkeeping hero defied logic and reality in a penalty shootout designed to overflow the Victoria Infirmary cardiac unit. He’d saved the skins a couple of times in the game and also initiated palpitations as the defence re-enacted sketches from the 70s Carry On movies.

Joe Hart  celebrates the victory in the penalty shoot out during the Scottish Cup Semi Final match between Aberdeen and Celtic at Hampden  on April 20, 2024  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

But Joe is Joe, a gentleman footballer and absolute loveable rocket, whose vast experience in the game accumulated new wacky highlights in the maddest few seconds we’ve witnessed since Mick Lustig joined the Glasgow polis. Fittingly, he now gets to finish his fantastic career against a May backdrop of Celtic glory. Fingers crossed…

GREGGS THE BAKER – 5.5/10 – Lacking his usual influence on proceedings, though the graft was there as ever. Unusually ineffective in his forays upfield and got mugged a couple of times, being partly culpable at their two sickeners as his lack of stature was exploited.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

WAYNE GRETZKY – 6.5/10 – He’s keeping up his relentless approach to the season’s end. Linked well with Kuhn, gave them near-terminal problems with his overlapping, and but for a few flukey breaks would have succeeded in providing killer blows. Only faults lay in his indecision when left one-on-one with their tricky sub, who twice got the ball in for their equalisers due to AJ not shutting him off early.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

OF JUSTICE – 5/10 – Nope. Great under no pressure, can pick a pass with his gilded left peg. But was criminally negligent twice, caught ball-watching as their scorers drifted off him to notch those back post headers. Had plenty time to see it coming and set accordingly. Especially after being done once. He’s gotten stale, lost the sharp stoicism that marked his early season prowess. At Mordor, now at Hampden, he’s been possibly the main reason we haven’t seen wins out.

. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

GET CARTER – 6/10 – On the rocks first half as the ‘striker not good enough for Celtic’ led him in a polka, unsettling the Rock’s foundations. Recovered well for the rest of the game but got away with one when their penalty-not-penalty was called. Just toepoke it out. Can’t swing in the box these days. (No, Jamesy…)

CALMAC – 6/10 – Looked like he was needing more recovery time. The baton was limp in his wrist as he tried to conduct the orchestra but hit too many bum notes with his sharpness not quite up to pace. A few more minutes on the park, injury-free, and he’s ticking over at full revs for the last hurrahs.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

THE BUILDER – 7/10 – It took him a while but finally the handsome bhoy scored the handsomest of goals to win it. No, nearly…He couldn’t find his rhythm for an hour then with Reo providing the cue, he drifted into the game with venomous effect, carrying us through extra-time and also nailed a sweet pen. Another who will get a fabulous send-off before his summer departure.

HAKUNA HATATE – 6.5/10 – Wait! No! Jesus wept… Subbed as he was hitting top gear. Absent all first 45, Reo found the golden pocket for the second, began to torment and carve them open. Then was crazily hooked before the Sheep were completely sheared.

YING – 4/10 – Another big chance, another chin-scratching oddity of a performance. Jinked in and out, when jinking wasn’t the option. Put himself about but not sure if this just wasn’t his day, or he’s actually a phish Korean Mikey J. Time will tell. Not sure how much more he’ll get, though.

KILLER MUSHROOM – 6.5/10 – The wee mhan rescues the day. Smuggled that equaliser from their dithering centre half in true stealthy Kyogo fashion. Came close himself, but notably the finest Kyogo chances started to fall for us after he’d been subbed.

TAKINTE – 7.5/10 MOTM – In my opinion – which is definitive, so roon yeez – he was the only Hooped hero who was on it from the first whistle until his premature replacement. Lively and inventive with some sparky bursts and skilfully-clipped passes. Even took a bloody nose but came back for more; a sign the bhoy’s near as dammit back at fighting weight and ready to comptete properly. Feels like a player with bags of potential just needing a right good short break and thorough pre-season for optimum returns. Today was a very promising contribution in a big game; exciting partnership with AJ in development.


DUNCAN IDAHO – 6/10 – No rub of the green (and white) for the big bhoy today – thwarted by flags and fluffs. But kudos for the bhaws to smack in the first in the shootout with aplomb.

JAMESY – 7/10 – “Call themselves swaggers dae they? Wait until they getta loada this… Swagged ye!” The indomitable Jamesy – Celtic legend, Skelper, glass-collector’s nightmare. What a goal, a stunner – Stauner! – carved from the remnants of a prior effort when he got his sights set just minutes before. Detractors should have known that in any given season, when any given magic moment is required, ye can’t keep Jamesy down.
Quite literally, ladies…

TONIO IWATAO – 6.5/10 – Upon his arrival, we looked more solid, comfortable and midfield domination ensued as he linked up with Reo. He does that DM job very well. And, my Ghod, what a fine penalty. You thought he was the one to miss, didn’t ye? Well, I flaming did…Phew.

SAINT BERNARDO – 6/10 – The O’Reilly twin was unusually lacking in impact during the course of play as he chased around like a stray dug in a balloon factory. But another bhoy deserving of acclaim for managing to knock – well, scrape… – in a shootout kick.

APOLLO CREED – N/A – Where were you when we needed you most? Like, at least half an hour earlier.

BRIAN DE – 5.5/10 – Still can’t cross a ball with regular efficiency, frustrating more often than not today – but allowances for sub appearance lag, and praise for a clinically-dispatched penalty.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

THE SHNAKE – 6/10 – Well, you got the luck of the Irish. Poor substitutions that broke up our control of the second-half. Yes, I know Calmac was on limited time, but to switch out Reo as well… And Jamesy’s experienced heid (the big one), hooked at the death when he was the best out-ball. Poor choice of starters at the back as I’ve moaned about. Maybe got too much faith in the wrong players right now. Will he have learned? It’s taken nine months to underline the importance of the Japanese, and the need for maintaining an increase in tempo. He’s got just six more games to get it right and end the tempestuous season a hero (ish…).

MIBBERY – 3/10 – Nobody could see the pitchside monitor for jizz after their two late equalisers, so 4th official Bargain-bunny was, like the Dons goalie, spent by the climactic shootout. The only minor miracles of the day were the reluctance to award them penalties for a Goldsonball and CCV decapitating a striker in the box.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

OVERALL – 6.5/10 – Who was confident? Well, me, barely. Though the warning signs were there – wandering Sheep causing chaos, with nothing to lose and massive slices of luck keeping them from the slaughter. A semi-final amid a tense title run-in, against an off-kilter but unpredictable Aberdeen side was not exactly the recipe for stress relief:

Very much like the last day of primary school when everyone brings in games to play and it’s all entertaining fun until you get your best Subbuteo player broken and an inter-class faction fracas breaks out into good old-fashioned, chair-throwing fisticuffs, until it turns sinister and Tam McShug gets stabbed in the thigh with the business end of a geometry protractor.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Yep, it was exactly that sort of darkly-exciting afternoon. It showed just how much we miss Daizen’s energy and will be a factor needing addressed to win the double. We started slow and paid the price until we shook ourselves down and re-booted. A cup football blueprint it was not. However, semis are all about getting to the next phase – or ‘base’, as Jamesy would put it – simply making the final for a prospective day of glory.

Daizen Maeda of Celtic looks on from the stands during the Scottish Cup Semi Final match between Aberdeen and Celtic at Hampden Park on April 20, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

And we did it. And the Hampden sunshine now awaits a portentous season’s finale against whatever band of degenerates wins the Oopah-Loompah civil war tomorrow.

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. Hatate out on his feet when replaced..
    MOM a joke.
    Your bias against B R laughable.
    Unbeaten in 15 cup games.
    A disjointed performance no doubt but got the result.
    Jamesy the man on right wing against the Pretenders.
    Adh mor.
    Hail Hail.

  2. Unusually generous with scores for this one. The only players getting a score above 5 should’ve been Hart and Forest. Taylor ‘lacking his usual influence’, I must have missed that, he was atrocious, as was the rest of our defence, including ‘he who can do no wrong’ CCV. Taylor is one of the weakest players ever to wear the shirt, with Scales and CCV both liabilities on the day, and Johnston seemingly unable to stop a cross. A truely whoaful performance from the team and the manager.

  3. Hmm,
    Some fans level of expectation in a major cup tie bordering on unrealistic.
    Didn’t play well enough but 69% possession whilst shipping three.
    The other team is allowed to have a go and score.
    Many millions of pounds on show Chelsea v City and it was dire.
    We win, reset and go again.