The bottom line is of course that Celtic are into their 36th Scottish League Cup final. The rain, VAR and other things simply do not matter quite as much as that. We can sit back and watch the other game, knowing that Celtic will be there waiting for them on Sunday 26 February.
Last night’s game was actually very good with Kilmarnock deserving a certain amount of credit for their fight, but Celtic were the better team and worthy winners. Indeed they would have won by more, but for a certain amount of shot-shyness, (particularly in the first half) and of course the baleful influence of VAR which denied Celtic two goals. One was debatable, I suppose, but the other was ridiculous with even the pedants struggling to explain or justify it.
I really look forward to the day when a VAR decision will work in Celtic’s favour. You would think that on the law of averages, it has to happen sometime! Kilmarnock’s penalty claim would have been contentious, if given. I think Michael Stewart got it right when he said “clumsy”.
What is really wonderful about Celtic these days is their work rate. Watching the game from the top of West Stand allows one to appreciate the amount of ground covered by some players Daizen Maeda and Callum McGregor deserve the word “ubiquitous” (all over the place) applied to them, and considering the pitch must have been really heavy, the pace never really slackened in what was actually a very entertaining game of football.
It was a far better game than the one last week between the same two sides. No real failures, although it wasn’t really the game for Kyogu and he could have, to advantage, been substituted earlier
Then there was the Kyle Lafferty interlude. All that rubbish about doing star jumps outside his manager’s office, and then he gets taken off at half-time! Before that, we had seen him with his embarrassing orange boots (you couldn’t really make that up, could you?) trying at one point to catch Joe Hart off his line. But Lafferty is no Pele, and the whole ridiculous affair came to an end at half time when Derek McInnes pulled the plug on one of his less happy ideas.
And there was some rain. Heavy relentless, Glasgow rain, and full marks to the Hampden pitch for standing up to it. But then again, those of us who have lived in Scotland all our lives know that nights in mid-January often look like this, and a few of us may have posed a question or two about why important semi-finals are scheduled for nights like this?
Celtic Park remains, I am convinced, a far better stadium than Hampden. It is good to go to the National Stadium, of course, but the toilets are less that adequate, and the catering facilities painfully slow. Clearly they don’t get big crowds very often!
But it matters not. What matters now is Sunday 26 February at 3.00 pm. But of course there are other games to come first, beginning with St Mirren at Celtic Park on Wednesday night.