St Johnstone 0 Celtic 2 – Super Leigh, but this was a relief rather than a triumph

There was an advert at half-time on SKY TV about how to deal with a certain kind of “dysfunction” which affects men and disappoints women. That was precisely the word that I would have used to describe Celtic for the first 85 minutes of this dreadful game – but then Leigh Griffiths showed us why he should be a regular starter and then Patryk Klimala gave us a better reason why he should be included.

The fact that there had to be five substitutions – every single one of them making an improvement on his replacement – says a great deal about the starting XI. Too many of them, not only did they not impress but they did not even seem interested.

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The first half in particular simply lacked “sparkle” as Andy Walker put it, and this continued well into the second half. Some players really need the proverbial “long hard look at themselves”, and I began to wonder whether some of them knew something about imminent transfers that we didn’t!

Odsonne Edouard continues to disappoint, Olivier Ntcham did not look as if he wanted to be involved and David Turnbull has done himself no good at all. This was his opportunity and he failed to grasp it. A nasty tackle too for a yellow card! And it could even have been red.

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But let’s look at the positives. Scott Brown’s mere presence makes a difference, and Leigh Griffiths must get more opportunities. He has been a silly boy more than once in his life, but his star is now back in the ascendancy. And what about that “red card” tackle on Patryk Klimala, which Klimala simply took in his stride and kept going? Love that attitude, Patryk!

St Johnstone were well organised, and there is a part of me that says they deserved something. They had hard luck when Conway hit the post, but I think I can understand why they are at the bottom of the table – because they are not geared to score goals. Andy Walker repeated sang the praises of Stevie May – but his job is to score goals!

The peripheries? Nice to see Celtic wear the green and white – at this ground they have often in the past taken the opportunity to put on some un-Celtic strips – and the pundits were predictable (at least Kris Boyd doesn’t pretend to be unbiased!), but what about that rubbish at the start about “goals differential” and a League table with Kilmarnock at the top? What’s all that about? At least Boydie and John Hartson just said the obvious, that the important thing is “scoring goals”.

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Well yes, we would agree with that, as indeed would Griffiths and Klimala. I have to admit that there might be a distinct lack of tears from me tomorrow if Odsonne Edouard’s agent persuades some suckers to part with three times ten million!

So International break – all the best, Scotland and Ireland, by the way! – then a fixture which occasionally in the past has been over-rated. “The points you get for beating St Johnstone and Falkirk are just as important as those you get for beating Rangers*” said Jock Stein. Mind you, it is always good to beat them!

*Same applies to the Rangers.

But today was a relief rather than a triumph!

David Potter

About Author

I am Celtic author and historian and write for The Celtic Star. I live in Kirkcaldy and have followed Celtic all my life, having seen them first at Dundee in March 1958. I am a retired teacher and my other interests are cricket, drama and the poetry of Robert Burns.

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