December, these days is the busiest month of the year, with Celtic playing 8 matches across 3 different competitions. Things started in spectacular fashion in the San Siro with off form Celtic shocking AC Milan by racing into an early to goal lead but The Sieve would ensure that Celtic would yet again lose four goals in a European match.
“Is this the real life
Is this just fantasy?
Two up in San Siro,
But, here comes reality…”
Next Celtic snatched a draw from the jaws of another defeat at Celtic Park against St Johnstone as the chances of doing the Ten diminished even further. Next it was back into Europa League for the dead rubber against Lille with under pressure manager Neil Lennon at long last decided it was time to introduce some of the younger players.
Turnbull, Soro and Hazard all started and when Frimpong went off injured he was replaced by young Ewan Henderson. Lille are on course to win the French League this season but they lost 3-2 at Celtic Park that night, after the sides drawing in France. A funny old game right enough.
Next up was a visit from Kilmarnock and the improvement continued with a comfortable 2-0 win before Celtic raced into a 2-0 lead in the delayed Scottish Cup Final against Championship side Hearts. The Sieve returned to haunt us again and by the end of extra-time with the game ending 3-3, it was down to young Conor Hazard to pull off a couple of saves after Celtic went behind in the shoot-out before the rookie keeper’s heroics. Kris Ajer took the decisive spot kick and hammered the ball past former Celtic keeper Craig Gordon to win the Scottish Cup and complete the Quadruple Treble – something that is not likely to ever happen again.
Ross County, Hamilton and Dundee Utd were all beaten before the year was done, with three clean sheets secured ahead of the visit to Ibrox on 2 January in a match Celtic had to win. Christopher Jullien, in that last game of 2020 against Dundee Utd, collided with the goalpost while clearing a goal bound effort. The stretch came out to carry him away, the French defender’s season was finished and that was a huge blow ahead of the next game.
So when we factor in Sandman’s Ratings after the 8 games in December the running totals for the season look like this. Brown and McGregor have bene carrying the side and it’s clearly starting to tell with the veteran captain needing a rest. McGregor has some load on his shoulders. Kris Ajer has picked up his game whereas Leigh Griffiths fails to contribute anywhere near enough and is in the bottom three of the season ratings by the end of the year.
SANDMAN’S DEFINITIVE RATINGS – TOTALS FOR UP TO AND INCLUDING ALL GAMES IN DECEMBER 2020…
1. CALLUM McGREGOR – STARTS 31 POINTS 192.5
2. SCOTT BROWN – STARTS 24 POINTS 160
3. KRISTOFFER AJER – STARTS 26 POINTS 165.5
4. RYAN CHRISTIE – STARTS 25 POINTS 155.5
5. JEREMIE FRIMPONG – STARTS 23 POINTS 140
6. ODSONNE EDOUARD – STARTS 19 POINTS 115.5
7. VASILIS BARKAS – STARTS 17 POINTS 112.5
8. MOI ELYOUNOUSSI – STARTS 20 POINTS 106.5
9. GREG TAYLOR – STARTS 15 POINTS 93
10. NIR BITTON – STARTS 15 POINTS 91.5
11. CHRIS JULLIEN – STARTS 15 POINTS 91.5
12. SHANE DUFFY – STARTS 16 POINTS 90
13. DIEGO LAXALT – STARTS 15 POINTS 87.5
14. OLIVIER NTCHAM – STARTS 13 POINTS 73.5
15. ALBIAN AJETI STARTS 10 POINTS 55
16. SCOTT BAIN – STARTS 8 POINTS 49.5
17. DAVID TURNBULL – STARTS 7 POINTS 48
18. TOM ROGIC – STARTS 8 POINTS 48
19. JAMES FORREST – STARTS 8 POINTS 45.5
20. HATEM ELHAMED – STARTS 10 POINTS 44.5
21. ISMAILA SORO – STARTS 5 POINTS 39.5
22. CONOR HAZARD – STARTS 5 POINTS 31
23. LEIGH GRIFFITHS – STARTS 4 POINTS 25
24. PATRYK KLIMALA – STARTS 4 POINTS 21.5
25. STEPHEN WELSH – STARTS 2 POINTS 9
Sandman’s Definitive Ratings from January will be added tomorrow together with a shot review of what turned out to be an eventful month, to say the least. Given the way this season has gone, rather than running a Readers’ Poll as usual at this time of year, we are instead relying on Sandman’s Definitive Ratings after every match counting up the points awarded to the Celtic starting XI for each match.
If you are just joining this series of articles look back and see how the ratings total up for the first four months of the season.