Fly it proud and high !
Flag day should always be celebrated , and never taken for granted.
From a Marist deciding to do something that was needed by the people , to eight in a row CHAMPIONS with over 100 million turnover is quite an effort ,, but we made it and here we are.
Many would have halted this , and tried , through means nefarious or questionably legal , but AGAIN we stand here victors.
AIN’T EIGHT GREAT !
The week between end of campaign and Cup final is holiday time for 99.9 percent or so of the professionals plying their trade up north.
Lots will have dreamed about this day all season and be on flights abroad probably as you read this.
And as usual our Bhoys dont have that luxury ,, although I doubt they see it in those terms.
Especially not with History awaiting ,, more than usual this time.
And yesterday seen us approach this historic final with what mattered most , the victory tucked under our belt to help deflate Craig’s lad’s for a week and hopefully more after that .
As pointed out we were stretched thin, and it showed at times , but ultimately was not used as an excuse in defeat but instead those given a chance did what we all ( especially the dugout surely ) wanted and actually tried hard to play their way into future plans , or maybe go out on a high for some who might not appear in Paradise again , for us anyway.
And whoever ends up in charge they were given a wee nudge towards considering the home grown talent when looking at any positions that may or may not need filled.
End of season flag game is the perfect occasion for a glimpse of a possible star of the future and those in attendance were spoilt for choice.
We had 8 homegrowns in the squad by my reckoning ,, one beautiful stat that should bring pride.
11 homegrown starters is a glorious aim ,, who’s to say we couldn’t hit it with the right strategy and managerial appointments. Turned out well last time.
Our much talked about starlet Karamoko Dembele got his first team run out , with positive reports plenty from those who clearly liked what they saw in that time.
Young Master Henderson played an assist for the opener in a goal that was made at the academy.
The show was stolen by our teenage striker Mikey Johnston though with a lovely brace that will have spurred him on big time as will his MOTM award that was thoroughly deserved .
All in all on a day that many had us either getting kicked off the park or losing to give the Jambos a shot in the arm we walked away smiling and laughing , and thus the celebrations were just better !
And lets face it , a goalkeeping blunder gave them a shot in the arm and they are few and far between . It would be easy to sit here and have a go at Scott Bain for his end of season howler but the upcoming end of season review will show that putting him between the sticks in the first place was one large factor in our tearing away when the gap was at its shortest and as such I will just shrug my shoulders at what happened.
Besides, much rather this game than the next one if theres a blip there waiting .
By my estimation 5 of those starting are possible / probable departures and they were joined on the podium by a few more.
Notable was Mikael Lustig who did a John Terry and got changed into the kit to celebrate with his ( for one last week sniffle ) still team mates. In the big Swedes defence everyone else got changed also. He has been a fantastic servant but more on Mik later.
The Thumb got a great cheer if not a run out which would have been fairytale stuff.
It was quite humorous to hear Marvelous Marvin Compper given a huge cheer but that seems to be because we finally laid eyes on him confirming the existence of the much sought after ( to effing play by those paying his wages ) defender .
All in all it was exactly what we want and where we want it to be ,, the flag flying at home and an end of season party with a youngun or two to tease us with a glimpse of the future.
Our Bhoys will no doubt have a relaxing week after a vigorous campaign with a few last minute injury checks scheduled for Friday morning I would bet.
One can also imagine no one , not even the outer squad players , going anywhere this week at all and not only due to cover in the squad but what might shape out to be a one of a kind feat.
Again more on the importance of the triple treble attempt later in the week as we near the big one.
Although yesterday’s victory was just what the doctor ordered in no way shape or form should even the slightest hint of complacency set in regarding this Cup Final as that’s a different beast on their patch . Lenny should and no doubt will drum this into the lads all week ,,, forget that game its done ,, we move on to the next one and give it all to win this game ,, give absolutely everything as the whole of the country wants you to fail and we should ram that down their throats as much as possible ,, with pure inventive football of course.
As for Neil himself he spoke well of beginning the ten .
We will all remember no doubt Walter just piping Lenny to the title and disappearing leaving Ally who fancied a bit of that ginger bashing himself.
Unlucky for him Lenny chewed him up and spat him out so bad they went soo far behind it was easier to liquidate as then they had a legitimate excuse to lose and still sell season tickets with “ Super “ still in charge. A plan of Blackadder cunningness. Of course Ally reverted to threats in the Shame Game when he couldn’t beat Neil from the dugout.
Keep an eye out for Leveins gob at the end of play Cup final and see if he will have a bit of grace in what is hopefully defeat and his final game in the dugout.
He’s not that old per se but in domestic football terms he’s a dinosaur who’s best days are well behind him and should either be moved on for the Jambos sake and not upstairs again as his decisions sucked that much he was forced into the breach himself . Admirable that he would get hands on if needed but there’s a big lesson to be learned there by Budge.
Its the gaffers job now to prime his lads for the task at hand ,, and Neil himself must push everything else about the job and future to the side and find whatever way is necessary to win this game.
Its the big one . The Champions March Onwards To History !
FAN-A-TIC has also provided his point-by-point match review,for which we are ever grateful.
Celtic v Hearts 19 th May 2019 Flag Day!
Bain; Ralston, Benkovic, Ajer, Toljan; Bitton, Ntcham, Henderson, Johnston, Sinclair; Burke.
Subs: De Vries, Simunovic, Church, Welsh, McGregor, Oko-Flex, Dembele
Happy to see youngsters getting game time.
Also i think Ntcham will thrive with more positive players around him like Henderson.
Celtic start the game using the positive energy of the crowd to get on the front foot.
2nd minute Ntcham finds MJ with a great cross field ball and Mikey cuts inside slips ball to Henderson who returns pass and Mikeys fires home at near post.
3rd minute Hearts give immediate response but shoot past post.
10 minutes Ntcham has a good shot blocked for corner.
13th minute Henderson and MJ with lovely passing move on right but Hearts clear.
17th minute Hearts equalize after Bain clipped from behind as he tried to clear.Should have been a foul.
19th minute Good interplay between MJ and Ralston but Hearts clear.
21st minute Again good play by MJ and Ralston that leads to a corner.
23rd minute More from MJ and Ralston but cross cleared.
27th minute one thing we need improvement upon is our spacing between D -Midfield and attack.to many large gaps between.We have to compress space more as it allows creative players to much time to hurt us..
28th minute good SS run end with a poor cross.
30 th minute The movement off our youngsters is far superior to the experienced guys.
32nd minute And great back check by SS snuffs out dangerous Hearts attack.
33rd minute Henderson puts great ball across 6 yard box but no one attacks it.
38th minute Noticeable that SS,Burke and Toljan looking unsure of their roles.
Ntcham linking play excellently.
And youngsters showing better movement and understanding from youth coaching.
40th minute SS wins chase and is clear but Thomson pulls it back for imaginary foul.
46th minute Brilliant interplay by Henderson and MJ to set up Toljan who hesitates then skies shot.
Dembele replaces the lost Burke for start of second to a great reception.
46th minute Dembele hits a fantastic forward pass to Bitton whose control lets him down and chance cleared.
48th minute great MJ trickery forces keeper into great save at post.
49th minute great closing down by Bitton creates chance for SS who shoots wide when pass was better option.
51st minute Dembele rides a brutal challenge and shoots just wide.
52nd minute Keeper saves from MJ after wonderful skill from Ntcham.
54th minute Dembele shot saved at near post after wonderful Henderson through ball.
55th minute Dembele shot deflected wide by an offside SS.
58th minute MJ robs defender but cross cleared.
63rd minute McGregor replaces Henderson who had another good game.
65th minute SS fouled in good position .He then hits weak effort off the wall.
73rd minute Ntcham shot blocked after nice passing play by McGregor and Dembele.
76th minute Ralston gives away free in dangerous area but Bain collects poor cross.
80th minute Ajer slaloms downfield and his shot hits defenders hand which was away from body.Unsurprisingly cheat Thomson ignores.
83rd minute MJ picks ball up in central area and plays one/two with McGregor before firing into net.
Game was never in doubt after that and came to inevitable conclusion.
One thing that was apparent was the refs willingness to allow Hearts to leave the foot in on every challenge.
The boot from behind was standard.
Is this an sfa edict?
The future looks bright and was noticeable that the youngsters all showed great movement and creativity.
The sad thing is the sfa and refs will allow the sluggers to level the playing field and endanger our young stars.
Hopefully the board realize what prize assets we have amongst our youth and splash the cash on a coach and some experienced players to create an environment they can flourish in.
Hail Hail to the 8 in a row Champions!
Wordmiths we can offer you a willing and captive audience to trial your wares for free !
Its a bargain ,, hurry before offer ends!