Sandman’s Definitive Ratings – Celtic v St Alistair Rightback


“Yes, Saint Patrick is most famed for the legend of him keeping the snakes out of Ireland. Much like Benfica last Thursday night…”

– Ian McBride, Professor of Irish history, Oxford University.

ROXIE – 6/10 – Joe’s ragin’ and will hopefully be punching more heids in the dressing room than times he needed to take care of the ball. Little to do all day except Beckenbauer-it, then pulls off a marvellous save from a point-blank header only to see the rebound snaffled in. I’d get out of his way in the showers. And not why you think, Jamesy…

GREGGS THE BAKER – 5.5/10 – Prone to undercooking today – not something that can be said for the shop savouries, thankfully. His decision-making in defensive passages of play was hesitant and scrappy. Got away
with a couple of poor clearances before fnally being punished at their goal – ball broke from his possession/side, was switched opposite and slung back in to add insult to injury when he was beaten to it at the back post. Frustrating day.

WAYNE GRETZKY – 6/10 – Struggled to find his range early on but was relieved by the dynamism up ahead of him. Gradually he bullied his way into the game to finish strongly, scored a belter denied by an offside ruling only to be found in the Scottish Referees’ handbook appendix under, ‘Preventing the Celts improving goal difference in the unlikely event of a close title race’.

RAQUEL – 5.5/10 – Took an awkward high ball dropping out of the sky in cool fashion early doors to show he was tuned in well. Thereafter looked very comfortable. Until…Absent CCV he appeared a bit rattled and lost control of the backline. Was hopelessly caught under the ball for their goal, leaving Greggs to handle the big striker at the back post. Worrying end to a promising start.

GET CARTER – 7/10 – The Rock takes no prisoners. The Rock IS your prison, strikers. Steel and purpose is what we get with the big mhan back toward his best. Tidy with his defensive duties and powering the side forward; part of the spine that wins championships. The deficit in defensive fortitude in his late absence was clear to see.

TONIO IWATAO – 6.5/10 – Holy moley, Sand Wedge Heid-San! The seven lucky deities of the Japanese deserted him a yard out as the moonlighting Dundee United captain looked to cap a commanding performance with a goal. But he was stoic, efficient and commanding for the 90, showing some cultured football as well.

Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates after he scores the opening goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and St. Johnstone at Celtic Park Stadium on March 16, 2024. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

SAINT BERNARDO – 5.5/10 – The O’Reilly evil twin has a bit of sympathy in his current role, which is basically water-carrier as he scuttles around the midfield looking to hustle or pounce. When things fall his way it can prove ‘Skelpingly great but often it’s a lot of futile endeavour in a thankless but galvanising role.

Matt O’Riley of Celtic reacts during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and St. Johnstone FC at Celtic Park Stadium on March 16, 2024 (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

THE BUILDER – 6/10 – On and off it, hit and miss – touch verged on clumsy today around crucial moments yet almost scored a stinger but for their keeper’s manicure. Matty’s Euros prospects look good but he’ll need to
nail some consistent Celtic suavery to cement his place in the vikings’ longboat trip.

TAKINTE – 8/10 MOTM – KT & Paddy Roberts’ gene-splicing experiment is beginning to produce the sort of results such a thrilling prospect teases. Nearing his fighting weight once more, he floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee in a vibrant hour of delightful incisive football, highlighted with a brilliant assist and a tap-in reward. Looks like we may be on course for one of those legendary title-winning contributions from a player written-off too soon. Prepare some sacrifices to the Ghod of enduring fitness and get this bhoy through to the summer intact so we can see what damage his swift feet – and particularly dextrous left – can do in the name of the cause.

KILLER MUSHROOM – 7.5/10 – Ha! ‘The title’s in his boots,’ said some mouthy James Hunt* online last weekend. Actually, today also on his heid. So would Buck Rodgers take ‘heed’ of web maniacs and relent to the inevitable logic of fielding and feeding our star assassin? Build our game around servicing the serial ‘skelper? Yes! And that’s what flaming common sense gets you – three points courtesy of fantastic striking play that struck one but deserved a hat-trick, but for witchcraft. PLAY HIM! SERVICE HIM! WIN!

*this one.

LORD KATSUMOTO – 6.5/10 – He’s irrepressible. With ‘press’ being Daizen’s operative word. Following Scottish Cup Sunday’s dynamite demolition of the Scarface XI, no goals but plenty of Daizen-eque involvement with perpetual motion, set-ups, mess-ups and inscrutable intensity.


James Forrest celebrates after he scores during the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and St. Johnstone at Celtic Park on March 16, 2024 . (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

JAMESY 6.5 – He scores! He shoots! That’s Jamesy for you, ladies…On the day of his four hundred and eighty-seven millionth appearance for Celtic he bagged a real cracker. And after taking her home from the club and staying up all night, he also managed to come on as sub this afternoon and notch another super goal. How does he do it? Well, in his post-game interview he shrugged, “It’s spring now, like. Scorin’ season, eh? (winks to camera) Know whit Ah mean, burds? (sniffs) Fancy it?”

LAGERTHA – N/A – “Hello, is it me you’re looking for? I can see it in your eyes. I can see it in your smile. You’re all I’ve ever wanted. And my arms are open wide…” And the bhoy who ran from the crowd v Feyenoord finally got to see his lost love in the flesh once more after months of listening to Lionel Ritchie on Spotify loop. For ten minutes or something…

DUNCAN IDAHO – N/A – Big bhoy looking to make a big impact and stop us questioning Oh’s right to some minutes. And to be fair, he almost had a sweet Rabona goal for his Youtube highlights reel.

NED KELLY – N/A – Just more precious gametime for the raw outlaw.

THE ALLFATHER – N/A – Welcome back. About bloody time Cantwell’s Crippler saw the ball. This bhoy is a player, imo.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers arrives prior to the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and St. Johnstone at Celtic Park Stadium on March 16, 2024 (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

THE SHNAKE – 7/10 – See what humbly following the suggestions of online lunatics does for you? Aye, aye, he did… Three points, star striker back in form and in his groove, and the team playing more like a cohesive focussed unit. Brendanistas, I am your Lisan Al-Gaib…

MIBBERY – 5.5/10 – A sneaky rabbit-punch from the goat-worrier enclave today as AJ’s late stunner is nullified due to Jamesy’s wang drifting offside in the build up. His failed secure tuck aside, the irony of the decision
being called for an incident so far back is lost on no-one when it was a goal that would have edged us ahead
of the Rabid’s goal-difference. Hmm, hubble bubble toil and trouble… Is still very much afoot, Macbeth.

James Forrest of Celtic scores during the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and St. Johnstone at Celtic Park on March 16, 2024. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

OVERALL – 7.5/10 – St.Paddy’s Day Eve and no quarter given by the sort of relentless Celtic display we’ve waited all year to see. Grown-up-sex-pest-Harry-Potter and his ranch wrangler collective had given us problems in the past two meetings this season so the basic remit was just win at all costs. Fact that we did so with a measure of style, at a tempo of intensity reaching previous heights, and with chances to spare was most pleasing; also considering our metronome’s enforced lay-off.

Now we cross fingers and hope for gentlemanly conduct across the globe as international friendlies are required
to stay just that. The final break before the Easter endgame will let us see just how powerful the forces of darkness gathered against us are; may all travelling Celtic fellows return to Paradise in the best of fettle to slay those filthy demons of the Southside Slaughterhouse Select.

Go Away Now


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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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