The Monday Match Review


Saturday went well then,didn’t it? I was happily ensconced in various bars in Oxford with my mate and his lass while 60,000 Tims were whooop whoop HOOOOOPING it up at Celtic Park. I don’t know who had the most fun.

I didn’t think a flag day could get much better than the one last year,when my pal’s grandson Ryan was the mascot for the day. Full family in attendance for the occasion,over from The States for it. The following day I was quaffing ales with them all at a wee gathering for family and friends in a village near Maidenhead. Beautiful day,thatched cottage,orchard in the grounds,cold beer and smashing company. Does it get any better than this,you may well ask?

Well,I had a nightshift to follow,so that was as good as that day got! But-Flag days? Yes,yesterday was special.

Our eighth consecutive flag was unfurled by the recently widowed wives of two of our greats. Mrs McNeill and Mrs Chalmers represented their men,their times,their sheer class if I’m honest. They took their pride and their sorrow onto the pitch yesterday,and while The Timdom Kingdom looked on in awe and pleasure,I reckon there may have been a couple of wee fluffy clouds zooming in from above for a closer look and holding their hands. It was a really wonderful thing to do,and the club and particularly the ladies deserve huge credit for it.

Moving on to the game,I have to say that I never like playing St Johnstone. A stuffy side,prone to thuggery at times too. One of those teams that if you don’t score early,you’re unlikely to do so at all. So what to do…

We lined up with two new full backs,and much needed too. Problem positions being filled,and time will tell on their quality to fill the roles. They sure didn’t have a lot of defending to do yesterday,but that was hardly their fault. Match highlights don’t show them much in their advertised roles,and they certainly had more of an eye on the opposition goal than on ours. If that sounds like damning with faint praise,it’s not. Yesterday wasn’t a day for exemplary defensive prowess. Much.

A central defensive pair of Bitton and Ajer was forced upon us by suspensions-neither of which was earned in the domestic game-but up ahead was some serious artillery. This wasn’t a team set up for a defensive midfield battle,this was a team set up to go for the throat.

It didn’t take long for Michael Johnston to do just that. In a finish reminiscent of Dixie at Hampden in 1972,he twisted the blood of defenders,the keeper,the entire audience. Then calmly stroked it into the far corner. Clearly remembering the advice from Bob Paisley forty years ago-if you’re not sure what to do with the ball,put it in the net and we will discuss it at half time!

This Bhoy is a player,for sure. A player who has clearly allowed his shocking experiences at Ibrox not to prey on his mind. And nor should he,he was hung out to dry both times and we are on the road to seeing what a quality addition he is to the squad.

Pissed me off,right enough-I’d backed Ryan Christie for the first goal! And to rub salt into the wounds,he scored the next one shortly after. And another on the half hour mark.

It took nearly an hour in real time to get the fourth,and it was Christie again. Three goals from midfield,all from the left foot and all from outside the area. The second owed a bit to fortune,aye,but we’ve been crying out for years for a player with the balls to take it on from distance. Is it a false dawn,sheer luck-or is it The Plan? I say f… it,if you can see the goal,go for it. Like Bob Paisley said!

His hat trick goal was scored in the magical 67th minute-well,yes. There’s a thing to treasure-and he was soon replaced alongside Johnston by Griff and Samuel Jackson,or Ollie Ntcham as his mum calls him. By this time,it was a turkey shoot. But at Celtic,we prefer a nice goal,a quality finish,a thing to discuss in the pub afterwards. In aff the corner flag,that’s for the huns and AlexMcDonald. Some great interplay in midfield saw Ollie break clear to score from just inside the box and a few minutes later,Leigh got the ball on his favoured foot about twentyfive yards out. Six up and my sister’s coupon is looking good. As is her betting slip(!)

Possibly the best was saved for last though. A peach of a pass from the centre circle by Griff put Eddy through to round the keeper for A Magnificent Seven.

It’s certainly a good start to the season. I’m quite a happy bunny as I write this,and you know the old saying about a Scotsman and a sunbeam. Four of those goals were scored from outside the area,another two from defence-splitting passes. Five from the left foot and another one from a player who twisted a defence inside their goal area. If we can repeat that on a regular basis we need have no fear of the season ahead.

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Mike in Toronto
August 5, 2019 5:42 am

Agree. In the SPL, we should be maximizing our speed and fitness advantages by attacking for 90 minutes. No more of this wearing them down for 85 minutes before they tire, and then having a late pop at goal. Run at them hard from the first minute, play a high tempo game, and wear them out in the first half. Sure, we might give up the odd goal or two on the counterattack… but, as yesterday’s game showed, we are a class or two or three above every other team in Scotland, so for every one fluke we give up, we will score ten more. If Celtic take their foot off the brakes, No one else in the SPL has the horses to keep up with Celtic.

August 5, 2019 6:18 am

Go for the throat,Mike. Get the quick goal to shut them down early doors. Bobby Murdoch said that in an interview years ago. Jock’s instructions at the time,and it’s still the way forward.

Twists n turns
August 5, 2019 6:37 am

Very good report Bobby.

Captured the day and the mood splendidly.

I was a wee bit unlucky with my own bet. Ryan any time at 2/1 doubled with a horse at Hamilton. The racing was abandoned so I collected the scorer part of the double ( and a single at 2/1)

I thought Ryan’s tracking back was also commendable. Covered every blade.

A wee edit required on goals 6 and 7. Eddie got 6 and Leigh got number 7.

August 5, 2019 6:56 am


Ach,I just put that there to see who was paying attention! Seriously,thanks for that. If I only get it wrong when we score a barrowload,I hope to get it wrong every week!!!

Twists n turns
August 5, 2019 7:08 am

Indeed ?

It only jumped out at me cos I was praying for Leigh to get a goal.

Remarkable how the media have decided to report the Huns’ scraped 2-1 win as a positive. Last season they’d have dropped 2 points etc…

They were absolutely dire against a Killie team bearing no resemblance to the one Steve C left behind.

One thing that been crossing my mind since Saturday re the hoops, is just how difficult it’ll be for Lenny to keep everyone happy.
There are a whole number of players gonna be looking for game time. Squad rotation v consistency.

Good problem for the fans to have – not so sure Lenny will find it easy though.

One big positive amongst so many on Saturday, for me, was Ntcham. He seemed to be more like the player we know he can be.

This week is going to be very interesting. How will we approach this tie?
Up and at them in a continuation of Saturday? Little more cautious?

Massive tie coming up. Keep it alive for CP and another rousing European CL night.

Cmon the hoops.

Twists n turns
August 5, 2019 7:20 am

This story about Jozo agreeing terms with Lille is gathering momentum. Proves nothing of course , these things start as a rumour and snowball – and I’m hoping there’s nothing in it- but as I say, it’s gathering pace.

I guess this is the week for the KT chapter to finally close ?

Will he won’t he?

We will soon see.

The McKenna / Morgan swap/loan story ? Please no. Hopefully another rumour with no substance.

August 5, 2019 7:58 am


I’m with you on all of that,mate. The English transfer window closes on Thursday,so Arsenal put up or shut up. Jozo is too good a player to lose,and if he leaves,it would mean we are three centre halves down from last season,with only one in. Four if you include Commper. McKenna is not an adequate replacement by any stretch.

big packy
August 5, 2019 8:37 am

MORNING ALL, great post bobby, sincerely hope the simunivic and McKenna rumours are hogwash, but as twisty says you never know.hh.

Twists n turns
August 5, 2019 9:01 am

I was looking at our squad last night. Not so much the starting 11 and the bench on Saturday , but the players who weren’t involved.

Schved was the obvious surprising omission, and Lenny has already explained his reasoning on that one. Basically with a makeshift defence he felt he wanted to have additional defensive cover in the event we had injuries. Looks like Schved will be back in the squad for the European tie.

Made me think though about our squad.
We have a very talented set of young players.


Fair to say that as well as those players we can consider the following as fringe players?


I’m just thinking how difficult it will be for these players to get an amount of game time that will either
A. Allow them to fulfil their potential


B. Allow Celtic to realise a realistic fee for them if released.

Young Karamoko. That lad is potentially a superstar. He could be a £30m player in a season or two

Young Henderson could be anything.

I’m choosing 2, but you may have your own ideas about others. Arzani?

In 2-3 seasons there could be £40m of talent there. Maybe a bit less, maybe a whole lot more.

More importantly, they could be players who can make a real difference in Europe. Take us up a level.

If it’s the former- and their value was realised- that kind of income allows you the opportunity to invest in quality.

( ok I know the argument that will create, history suggests etc, but for the purpose of the point I’m trying to make- in a rather laboured manner I accept- let’s park that aspect for now)

As for the latter – the preferred result I’d guess for us all- that being they can take us up a level, the problem is how?
I honestly can’t see them getting game time.

That problem I believe has been created by the policy of recent years. This continuation of selling high and buying low.
Dembele all the way back to Victor.

Had the strategy been to sell high – let’s say Victor out for £12m and 1 or 2 proven players back in, the opportunity to blood a youngster a season would have been there.

Too many Gamboa’s and Cifti’s and Toljans – and there are dozens- have brought us to this point.

Whilst we are looking good for TIAR, the real ones to suffer in all of this could well be those talented youngsters who have nowhere to go. Certainly all of them have enormous potential. More of a certainty is that all of them will not get the chance at Celtic .
That for me is the real tragedy of our lack of strategy and foresight over the years.

I don’t know the answer. Throwing them all in this season isn’t an option. Why? Cos the TIAR I just mentioned is the holy grail now for most fans.

It will be tragic if these kids are let go and later go on to strut their stuff at the highest level whilst not in the hoops, and I think that’s a very real possibility.

For me – the only option at present – is to get them on loan somewhere for a season – to both get them experience and to keep them on our books.

They can’t be left rotting in the background or we will lose them.

Noel Skytrot
August 5, 2019 9:05 am

Pace, power and playing it into players rather than side to side and backwards looks like it could work out well for the team, we simply blew a usually stuffy Saints team away.
As for the vermin, we’ve nothing to fear from them if what was on display at Rugby Park is coming down the line at us, they look very clunky and slow. As for their fans disgraceful behaviour, what more will it take?

big packy
August 5, 2019 9:06 am

TWISTY, agree great bunch of kids, please god we keep them.hh.

August 5, 2019 9:14 am

Good, thought-provoking post to inspire some debate. I wish we wouldn’t bring in so many players from outside the club, before giving our own youngsters a chance. Without an opportunity, how will we know if they’ve got it, or not. Arzani is on loan from Manchester City, so will not be part of the scene longer term – as it stands.

Twists n turns
August 5, 2019 9:14 am

Yeah I was going to add when writing that piece that I sincerely hope Bobby isn’t writing another “lost ten” series in a few years time- only this time about 10 lost youngsters !

Twists n turns
August 5, 2019 9:18 am


Ah yes. Perhaps Arzani shouldn’t have been included.

Plenty others though I think that make my point.

Karamoko would get a game in any other team in the league. ( imho)

I really fear losing these kids.

Twists n turns
August 5, 2019 9:50 am

In other news.

Record Headline.


What is this BOMBSHELL I hear you ask?

Well a poll suggests most Scots would now vote YES to independence.

That’s BOMBSHELL news?


Twists n turns
August 5, 2019 10:10 am

I’ve just taken the register.

Where’s UBER
Is Sunday/Monday his sleep time?

JTT must be oot zooming aboot in his car.

BP made an appearance for the register but he’s gone. An auld twisty trick. Go to school registration then straight oot the back gates and along to the baths or snooker hall. ( especially if it was a day when I’d a double period of RK)

Twists n turns
August 5, 2019 10:13 am

If better go pack the car masel I guess. Home today sadly. Enjoyed ma wee break. I’ll come back next week but I better do a few days work I suppose.

August 5, 2019 11:08 am


Funny you should say that about The Lost Ten. One of the things that struck me when I was writing it was how heavily reliant we were on bringing through youngsters as replacements for the seasoned veterans,and just how few of them proved to be good enough.

During those ten years,I’d say only Paul McStay,Roy Aitken-who was introduced three years earlier,in 1975-Peter Grant and Pat Bonner really made an impression on the team. You could possibly argue a case for one or two others like Alan Sneddon and Mark Reid,maybe Owen Archdeacon too,but given the standards they played to when they left it would be a difficult argument to make.

I think it’s likely that we now have as good a crop of youngsters as we have had since the heady heights of The Quality Street Kids. Only taken us fifty years to get close to that pinnacle again,which is quite the shocker.

August 5, 2019 11:09 am


I’m hoping Simo and McKenna stay where they are.

Noel Skytrot
August 5, 2019 11:18 am

Slavia Prague if we get by Clujj.

August 5, 2019 11:26 am

Oh,my eyes hurt!

There’s worse,though. Wait till I find an old Fiorentina strip complete with swastikas. Btw,it was worn by Brian Laudrup amongst others,and I think they got relegated.

August 5, 2019 11:27 am


That was the team I was hoping to avoid.

The Exiled Tim
August 5, 2019 11:39 am

Well we can kiss goodbye to the CL for this season, our defence won’t be up to Praha, that’s is if we get past Cluj.

August 5, 2019 11:58 am


Even I’m slightly more hopeful than that!

The Exiled Tim
August 5, 2019 11:59 am

I also notice that KT is in our CL squad, he is injured and can’t play and won’t be able to play for some time, so why ?
Just being realistic M

Twists n turns
August 5, 2019 12:06 pm

Prague will be a tough but to crack. We have the firepower up front. Will we have the fortitude at the back?

This week will give us a clue.

Cluj will be hard enough tie sobkeys deal with that first.

Byres Road Bhoy
August 5, 2019 12:08 pm

Slavia Prague! A tough, tough gig. Knocked out Seville in last season’s Europa before succumbing to eventual winners Chelsea by a single goal home and away… I have a funny feeling that might be it for now as far as transfers in go. I’m inclined to think it now more likely that KT will go to Arsenal. Hope I’m wrong on both counts…

The Exiled Tim
August 5, 2019 12:15 pm

I can see a few leaving, KT for sure, both Rogic and Ntcham if there are buyers, I hope the Jozo rumour is bollix but if not he will be gone as well.
Our squad is well good enough for the domestic stuff, it’s miles away for europe.

Byres Road Bhoy
August 5, 2019 12:30 pm

TET, James Forrest has rubbished the Jozo story on The Celtic Blog. Let’s hope he is correct. Saturday was very encouraging but let’s not forget St Johnstone’s form in the League Cup against Forfar & Montrose.
Our defence hasn’t really been tested so far but as TnT says, mibbees we should be taking it one game at a time.

jpm 88
August 5, 2019 12:31 pm

Slavia Prague – though joint top after 4 games in league , they did draw 0-0 with the bottom club yesterday so respect yes – fear no ; though as said there’s 2 equally tough ( and equally winnable ) games v Cluj first .

Byres Road Bhoy
August 5, 2019 12:34 pm

jpm88 Thanks for the Prague update.

August 5, 2019 12:35 pm

TET, while’st there are question marks over KT, Rogic, Ntcham and Jozo it’s hard to guess how we will fare in Europe. I don’t know whether to be cautiously optimistic or shit feart.

The Exiled Tim
August 5, 2019 12:39 pm

Glad to here that about Jozo.
Our defence is still a shambles imo, I said so last month and nothing has changed, our money signing has yet to show his worth, the RB and LB, time will tell, it should have been sorted this time last year or in the last window at the latest, for all our wealth we are a joke when it comes to recruitment, these clubs who we are in direct conflict with out perform us big time when buying players, we should be employing their scouts, but at the end of the day it would make no difference, till we employ a proper DoF and relieve Pedro of his DoF duties we will waste money to beat the band.

The Exiled Tim
August 5, 2019 12:44 pm

When we were up against Saltzburg the consensus was we will take them no problem, they blew us away, our income is way more than their’s but their recruitment is way better than ours, they can buy quality players for little money, they also pay them way less than we pay, yet they are better than we are, the same may be said for Praha and possibly Cluj, we will find out soon enough.
When you put things into context, we are in the top 60 richest clubs on the planet, no way are we in the top 60 best clubs on the planet and we should be, we are not getting bang for our buck and that problem stems from the top.

Byres Road Bhoy
August 5, 2019 12:48 pm

TET Agree 100%. JTT53 Lol! I feel the same. Would be happier if we could hang on to all four and add a right back of proven quality – in the Piccini mold maybe? (Just sayin’ like! Apologies CCE). Looking forward to the day when one of you guys throws me a fish…

August 5, 2019 1:06 pm

TET . Very well made point. I can’t believe we are going into these ties and possibly the season weaker than we were 2 seasons ago.
It’s almost Willow Floodesque!

Bada Bing
August 5, 2019 1:08 pm

McKenna hands in transfer request ?

Bada Bing
August 5, 2019 1:19 pm

date is that we will play in Prague?


!!BADA BING!! on 5TH AUGUST 2019 1:14 PM

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This is the moment Rangers fan burst through an emergency gate at Rugby Park after hundreds were stuck outside after kick-off.

Supporters inside the ground can be seen opening a fire exit to allow their fellow Gers into the Chadwick Stand.

In the video, which has been shared online, fans can be seen running into the concourse as stewards were left outnumbered.

Bada Bing
August 5, 2019 1:21 pm

Think of the rhetoric from Kilmarnock last season, when a few dafties ran on the pitch? What are they saying to this?

The Exiled Tim
August 5, 2019 1:21 pm

You had better believe it.

August 5, 2019 1:38 pm

Why didn’t Celtic go in for Harry McGuire? We need defenders! I’m sure we would have got him for less than £80m too, what with our connections at Leicester. And we could have thrown in Comperr for good measure.

I want to be a DOF.

Bada Bing
August 5, 2019 1:42 pm

Christie only Celtic player in BBC team of the week…… Tavernier & Goldson in it. F**king incredible!!!

August 5, 2019 1:52 pm

BadaBing, to be fair Broonie was in it too. But I get your’e point. It’s a disgrace. Michael Stewart should be ashamed. I even read some Ibrox comments this morning that Tavs was very poor yesterday. There could have been at least 6 players from Celtic in it.

Stevie Gee said he wouldn’t be watching any re-runs of their game against Progres in midweek. Two ground out results and they are in the team of the week. Meanwhile we win 2-0 in Europe and 7-0 on Saturday.

Mike in Toronto
August 5, 2019 2:11 pm

Regular service is resumed.

Just awake and raging that CCE has not been on to commend me for my once annual happyclapping post. We all know it (my good mood) isn’t going to last long, so I would expect that, if he is going to demand that I be happy, the least he could do would be to hang about long enough to revel in my happy-Clappedness.

And then when he finally drags his ass back on here, he won’t even believe that I was, for a moment a seal (happyclapper).

You guys may need to be my witnesses.

Years from now, when we are old and grey (okay … older and greyer), rocking in our rocking chairs… reminiscing about great days in Celtic history ….May 25, 1967, when we did 9 in a row, they day we clinched the treble treble… but you few, the lucky ones, will be able to talk about August 5, 2019 and say, in hushed tones, and with great reverence… almost disbelief.. ‘I was there … the day MIT posted his famous happyclapper post.’ No one will believe you (a bit like Nessie sightings).. but, deep in your heart, you will know…

A story to tell the grandkids, for sure …

Bada Bing
August 5, 2019 2:39 pm

Still no TV coverage for Wednesday yet…

The Exiled Tim
August 5, 2019 3:23 pm

With a bit of luck KT may well be staying, Emery has said that he thinks their spending is finished, good news in a sense but it will only reinforce Pedro’s desire to sell someone else, won’t it.

Byres Road Bhoy
August 5, 2019 3:34 pm

Cheer up TET, mibbees Pedro has been reading this site and coming around to our way of thinking about strengthening for Europe. Maybe he’s going to keep KT et al. Maybe he’s on the phone to agents right now looking for a proven international right back… Maybe you should throw me that fish. I prefer salmon if possible…

Byres Road Bhoy
August 5, 2019 3:37 pm

Right enough it’s Pedro we’re talking about… Make that a sardine…

The Exiled Tim
August 5, 2019 3:39 pm

Cheer up FFS, I wish, seeing the huns ride roughshod over everyone and getting away with it, seeing us gambling with CL qualification yet again, dealing with total twats in my shop, and to top it off it’s too efin hot to go outside, I am beelin to tell you the truth 😉

August 5, 2019 3:39 pm

TET Selling & buying is part of everyday football life. Players can go stale at a Club and Players particularly foreign lads might have enough of Scotland & the SPFL and just want to move on with their lives. As long as we get good money & buy in good ghuys to replace them , then everything is hunky Dory. Very early days yet but I’m liking Boli, Julien , Elhamed & Shved. Haven’t seen anything of Luca & reckon he is one for the longer term & won’t really feature this year.
We are going to lose a couple more possibly Jozo & N’tcham & we are going to bring in more, as long as the team flourish we just get on with it.