A masterclass…

The headline says it all really. Celtic wiped the floor with the Ibrox side yesterday.
Luckily for the home team, Celtic missed some glaring opportunities. Thus keeping the scoreline to a mere 1-5 for the Hoops.

Aside from being Celtic’s biggest victory at Ibrox, the true gulf in class was apparent. Let’s not kid ourselves on though, what you see at Ibrox these days is mutton dressed as lamb and not even te succulent kind.

Wearing their historic colours, being supported by the same fans and playing in the stadium doesn’t make you Rangers 1872. Sadly, many think they are still the same club.

On Saturday we witnessed an eclipse. Not the first betwen ‘us’ and ‘them’ it has to be said.

Last seasons defeat in the cup to the then Championship club and this seasons draw at Celtic Park was enough to convince them that they were back. They are not back because they have problems on and off the field. 

Celtic are the polar opposite. The club is running like a well tuned engine.

What we saw yesterday was Celtic at their best. The passing, the movement, the attitude all worked together to control the game from start to finish. 

If it wasn’t for a few bad touches or finishes, Celtic would have been five goals to the good before half time. Still, these were five great goals from Celtic.

A penalty tucked away beautifully by Scotty Sinclair in the seventh minute. This came courtesy of a needless tackle on Patrick Roberts inside the box.

He wasn’t going anywhere, but Myles Beerman decided to bring him down anyway. The Manchester City loanee invited the challenge and Beerman took the bait.

This superb start for Celtic continued to grow and just over ten minutes later, Leigh Griffiths got himself on the scoresheet. We know quality Leigh has and this was a stunner.

After receiving the ball on the left he moved swiftly towards goal and unleashed an unstoppable effort from the left edge of the penalty area. The shot flew over the head of Wes Foderingham, such was the pace and power of the left foot drive of Griffiths.

Seven minutes into the second half, Callum McGregor tucked away his second successive goal against the Ibrox club. He received the ball inside the box and remained composed to tuck his second goal in the space of a week.

A great start to the second half. There was more to come though.

Griffiths drove a free kick into the box where Dedryck Boyata was there to nod home the easiest of headers. The Ibrox club were well and truly on the ropes.

The next goal would come from the home side though. If there was going to be one goal from them it was going to be Kenny Miller.

At 37, he’s still fit and scoring goals. Fair play to him, he’s certainly done them a favour and made sure they got something from the game.

Celtic exorcised their only blip in the game though in brilliant style. Mikael Lustig, a player who really seems to love life at the club, emerged from his staging post and got his name on the score sheet.

It isn’t unlike Lustig to score for Celtic but this goal was different. Piling through the middle of the park, he rolled his foot over the ball once, rode a tackle from Danny Wilson and curled home number five to make the icing on the cake in the eighty-seventh minute.

The humiliation was complete. Celtic were on a different level.

Like many games between the old club and the new club based at Ibrox, there were flashpoints and ugly scenes. A home supporter came on to the park to confront Scott Brown and Scott Sinclair was the subject of racial abuse as seen on live TV.

This kind of abhorrent behaviour was sickening. Nobody condones this kind of behaviour except those who carry it out.

Celtic were not deterred. There were a few player face offs, but no red cards.

Much was made of Jozo Simunovic’s tackle on Kenny Miller. In commentary, Andy Walker was convinced this was a red card offence. 

Miller was incensed that Simunovic didn’t even receive a booking. Let’s be clear though, this was a strong and clean tackle from a guy who mopped up everything with finess.

The ball was won cleanly. I could watch the tackle all day.

It was being shown across the internet on non-Celtic websites praising how well executed this was. In fact it was one of my favourite moments of the game.

Personally I thought Jozo and Dedryck had an amazing game. Long may that continue.

Celtic can take nothing but positives from this match. Meantime the Ibrox club must lick their wounds.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

Broony’s back…here come the zombies. 

I don’t know the details of what occurred during Scott Brown’s appeal hearing today. All I can assume is that those persons presenting the case would be armed to the teeth.

For many, Celtic were just exercising their right to appeal and in doing so, getting their captain off the hook for a key fixture. As today’s outcome has shown, this clearly wasn’t the case.

Brown’s challenge was judged to have been a red card offence. Up against a whole host of similar, if not worse tackles, there was a case to be heard.

Some officials have been involved with multiple incidents. That is a real concern when you consider they are being handed big matches.

Celtic are right to challenge if there is a case to answer. Not something that has been reflected by the other half of Glasgow this evening. 

CQN Magazine earlier documented the reaction to this decision. I’m not sure what I am more surprised at though to be honest.

The fact that the appeal was successful? Or the plethora of absurdities being levelled by the zombies?

I mean, some of it is quite incredible. To use phrases such as “establishment club” and “untouchable” is farcical.

They seeem to forget the recent history of Scottish football. If this mob think that by Celtic challenging an incompetent and outdated governing body and winning is bad for Scottish football then they need to think outside the box a bit more. 

Celtic never have and never will control the SFA, SPFL or the SMSM. That was your old club and look what became if them, zombies.

History has shown us how inept and unprofessional the governing bodies are. That should be a signal for all other clubs to up their game.

Together we might just be able to change our game for the better. We cannot do it alone though. 

Putting rivalry to one side, there is a severe lack of consistency in the officiating of our game. In fact it goes way beyond that, be it to the benefit of one club or just widespread incompetence. 

Are Celtic wrong to challenge this? By succeeding, does that imply the club are cheating?

No it does not. We are fighting our corner in broad daylight.

Previous Celtic regimes couldn’t break the authorities for two reasons:

  1. The club weren’t smart enough
  2. The authorities and the media were in the back pocket of our rivals.

If the zombies have an issue with either of those points, they should refer to history. Some of this has been exposed and resolved, whilst the rest remains ongoing to this day.

Celtic will continue to fight the fight. Before I sign off for today I just want to say this about Broony’s appeal. 

It ‘may’ have been a rash challenge and a red card. But so too was Andy Halliday’s on Patrick Roberts amongst many other games which were all dealt with by way of a yellow card. 

I don’t care if it’s 5 minutes in or 50 minutes into the game. We need fair play for the duration of the match. 

Officials have a tough job and that is why they need to be better. This is why Celtic are challenging the quality of the officiating because it lacks consistency, honesty and integrity. 

See you Saturday Broony.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

Time for Leigh

Last season Leigh Griffiths excelled for Celtic. He amassed a grand total of 40 goals in 51 games.

Not only was this a career best. This was against the backdrop of negativity at the club.

Those kind of stats would be the envy of any striker. Due to injuries and the arrival of Moussa Dembele last summer though, it has meant fewer appearances and goals from the Scotland striker this season.

And yet, he still has managed to hit the back of the net 14 times. To his credit, that comes from playing in 31 games of which many were from the bench.

The lone striker policy has been in force at the club for some time. Most of the time it’s a case of “dead mans shoes”.

Under different fortunes, I’m sure many would be accusing mismanagement of the high scoring player from last season. However, Brendan Rodgers has the respect of everyone – player, board member and supporter.

Rodgers outlined that although he respected Leigh’s skills and stats, he still needed more from him. Not that the manager was being greedy, this was merely an acknowledgment that he felt he could do much better.

For Leigh this must have come as bit of surprise. Not only was he the cream of Scottish football, but having responded to his previous manager’s request to improve he could be forgiven for thinking he was being edged out by the new one.

That doesn’t seem to be the case though. Leigh has worked quietly in the background as he did under Ronny Deila until that moment came.

After Sunday’s Scottish Cup Semi-Final win it emerged Moussa Dembele would have the injury he sustained assessed. So far the club have yet to confirm the extent of the injury or for how long the current top scorer will be out of action.

I would have assumed that it would be the rest of the season, but Rodgers didn’t rule out a return. All we have heard in the last 24 hours are media rumours that it will be for the rest of the season.

Regardless, this is now Leigh’s opportunity. He has been very patient and will be champing at the bit to get some more game time ans with that more goals.

I’m confident that given an injury free run he can end the season on at least 20 goals. That wouldn’t be a bad return for someone who has been playing second fiddle to Moussa.

I would be delighted for Leigh. His maturity has been work in progress since he arrived just over four years ago.

On his day I honestly think he is one of the most gifted players at the club. His first touch, his close control, his eye for goal…they are all reminiscent of a former Celtic striker close to all of our hearts.

Can Leigh boss his way back onto the scene? Well we will get to see between now and 27th May.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

The ugly games

Football brings out the very best and the very worst in people. The dust is just settling another week or so of intolerable bile from a variety of areas in the game.

There are many factors in football that don’t exist in sports like athletics or tennis. You might see football as the sport of the working class and that isn’t far wrong, but it is also a sport for anyone of any race, gender or religion.

Supporters are a huge part of the game. Jock Stein famously said “football is nothing without fans.”

That isn’t just a credit to one of football’s legendary figures. It is also the truth.

Yet there are many in the world football who choose to disgrace themselves by behaving in such abhorrent ways. By doing so, they drag with them their fellow supporters, clubs, newspapers, broadcasters or even the good name of that country through the mud.

The media often take the critical and reactionary route for profitable reasons. Rumours get reported as fact and when neither of those are available, whatever serves the agenda best gets broadcast or published.

In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen Celtic secure the league title unbeaten. In the immediate aftermath, rather than choose to praise Celtic, Sky Sports’ resident Scottish football dick head, Neil “EBT” McCann, plumped for the “Celtic could lose Brendan Rodgers in the summer” declaration. 

I mean, the guy just couldn’t help himself. Its bad enough that he’s a bitter wee prick that owes HMRC money, but he knows every time he speaks negatively about Celtic it is retaliatory. 

Similarly you have other guys like Simon Jordan and Dietmar Hamann claiming Celtic woukd struggle in the English top flight. That Celtic would disappear down to the Championship after a brief spell.

Are these guys on drugs? Hamann I’ll ignore because he’s probably headed the ball too many times, but Jordan I won’t.

The former Crystal Palace owner also claimed Rangers were better than Celtic. I guess that’s what you can expect from a man who walks away from the club he owned after it goes into administration.

He has a lot in common with Oldco. Hr also sounds like he’s been hanging out with Adrian Durham.

The truth is Celtic are missing only one thing to survive in the Premier League – the same income as everyone else. By simply being the Premier League, Celtic would be better off.

Guys like Jordan are regularly beaten down by checking a few facts. Celtic are often placed on the top financial lists by experts which collates clubs operating well within their means and in Celtic’s case, credited that if in a bigger league they would flourish.

McCann got shut down with Brendan signing a contract keeping him at the club for the next four years with money to spend this summer. That was the perfect reply.

With McCann getting a lot of heat from the Celtic support, it is no wonder he’s taken up a temporary role at Dundee. I can’t imagine he’ll be performing any miracles there but it might keep him out of media spotlight for a wee while.

Speaking of which, I see Tom English was getting it tight for his jibe Tweets at Celtic fans. I don’t get Tom English.

One day he’ll write a fair account of a Celtic match. The next time he’ll omit anything that relates to the controversial, such are the ways things go at the BBC.

It isn’t just about Celtic though. Often it is worse.

Recently, Kelvin McKenzie savaged Everton and England defender Ross Barkley in his Sun column in the aftermath of an attack on the player in a Liverpool bar. The content of that column I won’t be quoting, but this piece of shit didn’t stop at unleashing upon Barkley in his column.

He continued to attack the good people of Liverpool. If you didn’t already know, it will come of no surprise to you that this guy was editor during the shameful reports by this paper at the time of Hillsborough.

In fact he is solely responsible for some of the most vile newspaper headlines in British history. He feels no remorse for these acts.

Now Liverpool and Everton stand together against this paper. The Sun is banned.

The timing of his article was an outright disgrace. It was the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster last Saturday.

Speaking of anniversaries, we saw on that very same day Sevco fans holding aloft a banner praising former Oldco player, Sam English. It isn’t unusual to praise a former player on a significant anniversary such as this one especially with his goals to games ratio for the former Ibrox club.

On the 50th anniversary of his death (some days earlier), not something you hear about much amongst the Ibrox fraternity, you might expect to read something relevant to his career. Instead, the focal point of his death and association with Rangers was that “He was a proud young protestant”.

Was it really necessary to hone in on this? Talk about provoking a reaction.

You have to question why one man’s religion is relevant here. I think we know why.

History doesn’t place Protestantism atop of his epitaph. I think we know what might.

You could not find a trace of this story in the SMSM. You’d never be short of reading about anything similar happening at Celtic Park.

Still, this kind of behaviour is expected from some people. It doesn’t mean that when it happens you are any less shocked.

What is being done to address these issues though? The police were investigating the Kelvin MacKenzie’s article but the Sun are the ones who agreed to publish it.

He isn’t sorry and neither are the paper. If ever there was a reason for clubs to be tougher with the media it is this one.

Celtic should take note from what their fans have been telling them for years. With all of the tabloids.

The authorities are equally guilty. Particularly in Scotland. 

The only thing to be introduced in Scottish football was the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act. A thoughtless, heavy handed piece of legislation that still fails to deal with issues in the Scottish game in a fair and just manner.

Can we expect much to change? No because that has to come from the clubs.

The game remains ugly and everyone is a particpant. That needsto change for the health of the sport.

Just so I don’t end the on a dismal note on a fine sunny day, I’d like to congratulate local club Brighton & Hove Albion on securing their promtionto the Premier League. It has been 34 years since the Sussex seaside clubhave played in England’s top flight.

They have a magnificent new stadium and a vibrant city status. I’m sure the big guns will be made to feel welcome in the place that I’ve come to know as ‘home’.

Still not forgiving you for selling us Adam Virgo though. Some scars never heal!

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

Disgraceful…

Is it possible the Scottish Football Association’s referees could be any more incompetent? Today’s red card and penalty decisions by Don Robertson are another shambolic display of officiating in the Scottish Premiership that has gone against Celtic.

This has been going on too long. The matter needs to be addressed.

Honest mistakes don’t happen that often. If they do, then lessons are not being learned or there is an agenda.

Don Roberston, today’s match official in Dingwall, sent off Scott Brown for a challenge which warranted action. This was not a red card though. 

By comparison, the same referee gave a card for a near career-ending challenge on Kieran Tierney a matter of weeks ago against Motherwell. That was a stonewall red card, but Ryan Bowman walked away with a gift-wrapped yellow card.

Incidentally, this barely appeared in any ‘neutral’ post match analysis. I won’t be surprised if the media play this one down either.

It seems as though everything will be done to ensure Celtic are pegged back before the current season ends. Almost to the point where the ranks are depleted for the matches against Sevco, the treble never happens and Celtic fail to go the entire season undefeated.

This would be bad for the SFA apparently. Unthinkable as Celtic march towards 10-in-a-row. 

Ladies and gentleman of the wider world, this is how Scottish football operates. Why do I know this?

Well that’s quite simple. It has always happened.

When Celtic couldn’t compete financially with what came to be known as a cheating Rangers Football Club, they were pinned down. Not just by the alleged financial superiorty across the city or the media, but by the SFA themselves and some (wait for it) horrendous decisions in derby matches by match officials . 

Nowadays that has spread to any team Celtic play. Mainly because the rest of Scottish football can barely compete so other methods are utilised.

One thing should be clear though. The establishment are desperate to have Sevco at the top.

When Oldco collapsed and died, everything was done to get Newco in at the top. Only club and fan power put a stop to that.

Since then the leagues have been restructured, renamed and now they have their new establishment club where the eagles fly. Now all they need are some trophies and some good old bigoted get togethers. 

Am I paranoid? Do I think its a conspiracy?

No, this is happening before our very eyes. I’m just tired of the same excuses and no action. 

It’s over to you Celtic. Act now or lie down to these bastards forever.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

*thanks to Glasgow Celtic Supporters Facebook page for the picture. 

Clincher in the capital

I awoke this morning having dreamt of a Dembele hattrick. Obviously, I’d be over the moon with three goals for the big man, but today all that matters are getting three points.

Derek McInnes’ Aberdeen ensured that by winning on Friday night in Dundee, and in some style I might add, that they did not hand the title to Celtic.

Meanwhile over at Ibrox yesterday there were scenes of jubilation as Pedro Caixinha’s side salvaged a point at home to Stephen Robinson’s Motherwell.

Wow. What a contrast.

There remains only one more fixture to wrap things up this weekend in the Scottish Premiership. All eyes will be on Tynecastle to see if Celtic can secure the title in the capital. 

Hearts are 42 points adrift of the league leaders and Ian Cathro’s side have slipped into fifth place. So far, Brendan Rodgers Bhoys remain unbeaten in the league and the whole domestic scene. 

Despite the odds being stacked in Celtic’s favour, there is zero room for complacency today. Tynecastle is a tight ground with the fans right on top of the action.

There have been some frantic games there over the years when Celtic have come visiting. The atmosphere adds to the occasion and it is often tinged with hatred.

For Celtic to win the league there, would not go down well with the Jambo hordes. As for the Celtic faithful, well it would be nice wouldn’t it?

Nothing less than a solid victory would make me happier. Oh and if Dembele does fancy a hattrick – I’d be good with that as well!

Here’s to winning six-in-a-row. Today or next week!

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac