Sandman’s Definitive Title R8tings – Celtic at The Woolen Mill

Honorary ratings first. Actual ratings bracketed ().

BANE – 8IAR/10 (9)

A shining star. Showing yet again an inscrutable yet vicious focus. The save with his right shin just before we got the opener was symbolic of his entire season – right there on the money when we needed him most.

It was a game-changer. He got the luck when the rebound was screwed against the post (good defending forcing the tighter angle), but this masked anti-hero saw fit to punch the air and declare his vengeance upon the Batman justified. Worryingly, is there anyone that can stop him?

By season 2019/20 we will all be subjects of his rule.

LUSTIG – 8IAR/10 (9.5) MOTM

Aaaaayyyyyye. He’s done. F’ckin’ Lustig – a liability. Legs have gone. Canny play. Canny pass. Canny… Stop ramming it up you self-satisfied experts.

A Ghod, is what that man is.

Celtic toiling in the hailstorm. Aberdeen sniffing blood; anxiety weaving through the support as the prospect of ignominious defeat loomed large; Zombies vibrating with that unhealthy excitement they exude through their pores at times of greatest desperation and unholy omens. Next goal wins. Red goal hangs the 8 in the balance, and puts fate in the hands of the hateful; in the providence of the MIBs cabal.

And then up he steps. Gambled on a run from deep right. Spotted by Calmac who delivered a wonder-ball from the opposite wing but still left a hell of a lot on it to make something of.

And Mad Mick’s timing of his lunge was… Well, like the timing I daydream
of casually ravishing Angelina Jolie with – potent and exhilarating, summoning

Dive! Boom! A title-winning blockbuster heider if ever there was one.

Extend this legend’s contract, Peter. Have it written up in the bitter-yet-grateful-tears of the boo-bhoys who have maligned him in their misplaced ignorance of the game.

Thank-you, Mick. Thank Feck for you.

KT – 8IAR/10 (7)

Why? Double-hernia would have me in bed for a month dictating a will to the wife during Corrie adverts (Hello Mrs.Sincy…).

Get the kid rested, for Chrissake. Sure he wants to play but sometimes, Lenny, you got to play Dad and tell him to take it easy.

Heart in my mouth at every challenge. He was evidently suffering when watching him turn laboriously on occasion. Eventually, with the game all but won and the title secured he relinquished to JH. But really, Lenny – you need to call it; wrap him in cotton wool. Next season and his long-term well-being far outweighs a one-off final against the Replicants.

AJER – 8IAR/10 (7.5)

He’s a big statuesque viking of a bhoy – growing massively in confidence and now mentally capable of taking charge of the defensive line. He’s been this season’s unearthed gem when all have cast pointed fingers to the horizons with unintelligible cries of prospective unpronounceable defensive saviours we’ve never heard of yet who seem mysteriously alluring due to that very fact.

Big Kris. Big Jozo – there’s yer perfect Celtic centre-back pairing to work on.
Dedryck who?

JOZO – 8IAR/10 (8.5)

Again? No, I’m not taking the 18/1 on offer for another headed goal like last week – that Skybet mob are just teasing me to get my cash. Feck.

A goal from a corner! – it was written in the Mars Bars Kris Boyd has for breakfast. And big Jozo, looking every inch the gulag enforcer, ploughed aerially through a couple of Aberdeen’s zeppelin’s to smack a perfect drifting header away from the normally-cursed gloves of Lewis.

It was a peach – and if you saw the big bhoy re-live it with his team-mates after full time you’ll realise just how much it meant to him.

And to us, Jozo.

I repeat – keep this bhoy fit; rest him whenever possible – he’s a big-game defender who’s the best we’ve got and easily one of the best around at his peak. He’ll be a major factor in the Champions League qualifiers. Play him at Mordor for the LULZ,
play him at Hampden for the treble. Those games ONLY. Then have him primed for
a massive summer.

BROON – 8IAR/10 (8!)

Superb stoical performance from the skipper. Swamped in the middle as we struggled
to get the balance right – Calmac and Rogic too detached from him first-half.

But he held it together. Then he was allowed to take his foot off the gas as the creatives got to grips with their hired thugs. His delight at the end was infectious.

For me, this is BROON’S title – the bhoy who became the mhan who held his team together
when the rat jumped ship and left us rudderless with the Govan Pirates bearing

He won the mental battles within his own club and with every other pretender who
chanced it on the park with him; wee mention to a young boy from Mordor who had his
special Xmas wish come true – hope you liked what Broony gave you, little Andy, but he’ll be coming to collect tributes next Sunday…

CALMAC – 8IAR/10 (7.5)

Looked lost for a while until he dropped into his quarterback role – and then found
Mika with a superb visionary ball for the opener. He still floated in and around the action too ineffectively for my liking but if he gets it right then he’s potent. I think he needs to start deeper and let Broon do his spadework, leaving Calmac to play quarterback and dictate tempo.

ROGIC – 8IAR/10 (6)

‘Strewth, there’s a bloke over there in a t-shirt! I’m out!’ cried the languid Antipodean assassin as the hail rained down on the Costa Baa-baa.

Never at it the way we expected – he’s still functioning about 80% and his big magical clown shoes ain’t quite got the sleight-of-clod to benefit Celtic with the usual results. But we have to play him – that’s how he gets his match fitness back properly and regains his game-winning stature.

Next week, please, big T. Smash four cans of XXXX and a koala burger Sunday breakfast
then go all great white shark on theose zombie bams.

JAMESY – 8IAR/10 (6)

Flash! Ah-aaa, screamed the barstaff! Just a bhoy, with a bhoy’s courage, nothin’ but a bhoy who can never… stop.

Stop. And Jamesy looks like he’s come to a halt prior to season’s end. Not fluid, not dynamic – struggling to beat a man and get a decent ball in, wandering inside into trouble…

Not a lot going for him but that’s the template for a player of his type and calibre; suddenly, WHAM! All fluidity and payoff. Let the stars re-align next weekend, please Jamesy.

WEAH – 8IAR/10 (5)

Let me hear you say… Feck off, no way! Nope. Gliding librarian progeny with the engaging manner and cheerful American touristy disposition got his big chance, and failed to turn up. Where was the gallus cut and thrust youngster with the bibliographer dad and PSG pedigree? Stifled at the Beach End?

Hardly showed up enough to warrant note. Really poor show after being given his big opportunity to shine. No more complaints about his non-selection. C’mon wee man – get it together.


Damned if he does…cursed loudly around me for the first-half one-on-one fail and a number of unsuccessful endeavours thereafter; BUT he was clipped and SHOULD have gone down; too eager to score.

And after a long frustrating time, that £9 million valuation showed through. Class, great twist and finish – agonisingly, from just inches inside the penalty area.

What fecking idiot had a fiver on French Eddy to score from OUTSIDE the box at 25/1? Yup…


HAYES – 8IAR/10 (6.5)

On for young super hero, applied himself with customary front-line wartime commitment – no way will Johnny let the Kaiser take his title medal. Still possessed the pace and left-foot delivery to make him a very able deputy on the left. Or any other rank he requires to time-hop around the battlefields of France and Belgium.


A hulking time-wasting battering-ram problem for the sheep to contend with for the last ten.


Surprised to see him appear after all the stick the new Sonic movie trailer has been receiving, but he’s welcome to lead us all a merry dynamic will-he-won’t-he-be-pish? dance next year too.

He’s like a video game loot box – what the hell are we going to get?

LENNY – 8IAR/10 (8)

Yes. Job done. Almost. Gave the whiners (yes, YOU, and yes, ME) what they wanted – Weah to support French Eddy; how’d that work out for you/us?

Got it right after a first half-hour of toil and trouble – Calmac was dropped deeper and he asked the defence to push up tighter to limit the Dons’ hit-and-hope tactic of dropping the ball into the no-man’s land between our backline and mid for their gruesome giants to thunder onto.

You could see what it meant to him after every goal and at full-time – rescue mission complete – Thunderbird Lennon salvages the drifting wreckage of the Rat Rodgers regime.

Tired side, jaded squad – his job to keep the motor functions at top rev even if the mental spark was flickering out. He did it. Well done, Lenny. Now for the cup…


What a banner for Stevie Chalmers. Marvellous.

OVERALL – 8IAR/10 (7)

There were a few moments during the opening half-hour, as Aberdeen clipped the bar, slapped the post, brought the finest out of our goalkeeping super villain, that I was rattling through the horrific mental gymnastics of looming defeat.

The spectre of ’05 helicopter Sunday was prickling my scalp with its cold sharp digits. Then PC Lustig delivered justice. How fitting that an old guard stamped his authority on new history. But this title-surge through the second half of the season has been marked with the least-likely stepping up to the plate (yup, baseball fans, I know exactly the metaphor…) – cue Broon, another stalwart, to take Killie down, euthanise
three Zombies in one game and smash Hibs out the cup. No surprise that with the return of Lenny, the men who know Celtic best from within rose to the occasion. Too numerous ocassions.

And back to today – no pattern to our play, accusations of lethargy, lackadaisical application; looked like far more wrong than right. But the team showed their class – their belief, their primary attribute, facilitates a desire to strive to win. Not for them, ominous permutations of collapse. They stayed on-point, knew their ability would see them through the turmoil. This might not be the silkiest Celtic side you’ve ever seen, but they are certainly one of the most mentally formidable squads I can recall.

The finish line was crossed.

Well done, bhoys.

One game from immortality.

Erm, two, actually. The Cup Final – well, that’s obvious. But if you’re up for a bit of a laugh, how about abusing the Zombies next week? Go on, Bhoys, you know you want to…



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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