Celtic comprehensively hammered St.Mirren 5-0 in Paisley on Saturday. Typically, they were not credited by the media. Instead, Saints were castigated and derided whilst Celtic’s wonderful performance was diluted and bitterly received. Why?
I can understand Danny Lennon’s anger and frustration at his side’s lack of goals and some of the defensive errors which contributed to his charges’ downfall, (topical word!) BUT for the watching journalists to take umbrage in the most vehement manner tells you something!
Indeed, it only goes to re-enforce the views of most if not all Celtic supporters that whatever we do and however we do it, it will be slated. It’s the way it is, it’s the way it’s always been and it’s the way it will be in the future.
Let’s not kid ourselves, Celtic are hated in Scotland and that in itself is a damned disgrace. To go away from home and rack up four goals in the first half is quite remarkable. The manner in which it was achieved was equally stunning but to gain the credit merited and rightly due, the players would have to wear blue shirts.
Should Manchester United, Barcelona or A.C Milan have run up such a scoreline in enemy territory, it would have been lauded lustily and savoured, hailed as the mark of Champions. Not Celtic. Instead, St.Mirren gleefully handed the game to Scotland’s finest and according to the “neutral” observers, if it they had the guts to turn up, fight or indeed score a goal, they would have halted Celtic’s incessant march to another title.
That is what they are afraid of! The sight of green and white ribbons around the SPL trophy for a second year running is enough to give them the screaming abdabs and so in turn, they devalue the efforts of the team, the coach and of course the supporters. Now here’s the rub; nobody’s fooled. Well, almost nobody. I’ll leave your imagination to work that out who.
When you have to change a substantial amount of players for the sake of injury or fatigue, you expect a backlash and perhaps an under-performance somewhere along the team line. Not on Neil Lennon’s watch! His decision making and personnel choices are the main cause of Celtic romping three points clear with a game in hand allied with a Champions League berth despite the “experts” huffily predicting we had no chance of qualifying! I rest my case…for now.
Five changes to the side meant that the incoming squad members had a chance to put themselves in the frame for a Camp Nou berth and bhoy, did they take it. They steamrollered over a shell-shocked Buddies outfit and anyone who tells you the home side didn’t try were not at the game but in the pub getting text messages from their pals at Ibrox. (Their favourites were playing Queens Park in the REAL Glasgow derby!)
First off, Lassad flew wide to provide Hooper with another notch on his green belt but the hacks tell us St. Mirren didn’t cover and that “Hoops” rather embarrassingly scored as he looked offside! BBC reporting-simply the biased! Celtic were skilful, quick and clever and that’s why they scored. There were six St.Mirren defenders in the box-isn’t that cover? There were three defenders in front of Hooper as he made his run-is that offside?
Soon after, Mulgrew’s inswinging free-kick was spilled by the ‘keeper but if you see the front angle, two hooped shirts were blocking his view on their run-in and he saw it at the very last second as it bounced off his chest. The brilliant Efe Ambrose buried it, subsequently sending his C.V to Cirque de Soleil with his outrageous quadruple back-flip celebrations. Lenny loved it and so did we.
Wanyama stamped his watching EPL suiters cards with two finishes of quality. His second was exquisite as he curled a fierce shot into the far corner of the net from 25 yards. Guess what-he got credit for it! Even the one-eyed scribes couldn’t deny him this. 4-0 up at half-time and the points were in the bag. They didn’t rest on their laurels though and at the second sitting, sent a chill throughout Scottish football with a display of guile, power and efficiency.
A headed strike from rapidly rising star and majestic performer on the day Tony Watt sealed the win although Victor Wanyama can consider himself a tad unfortunate not to be sporting the match ball on his sideboard-rather he bent the bar with a bullet header, denying the powerful Kenyan a well-deserved hat-trick.All in all it was a fine day out for the Bhoys in green with five goals in the bag, players excelling in passion, performance and a gluttonous desire for glory.
Next up Barcelona in what we hope will soon be free-Catelonia. The fans uniting again that night will contrast the intensity of the football on the pitch where we will see the likes of Hooper, Messi, Commons, Iniesta, Wanyama and Xavi, all displaying their wares to the greatest football fans on the planet and in a stadium worthy of such talents.
Barca are the best team in the world and Celtic will do extremely well to come home with anything other than a sound beating, however, I was in the Camp Nou when Henke, Thommo, Stilian, Marshall and Big John Kennedy held out Xavi, Ronaldinho, Puyol et al to knock the Catalan giants out of Europe and send Celtic into the next round. I’ve seen it done and I hope and pray see it again this term. I believe it is possible. The players are geared up for it and Lennon will tell his troops “I did it-so can you!” but shhhh…don’t tell the red tops!