The Importance Of Being Early
Tonight sees us going head to head with the champions of Hungary,Ferencvaros. I’ll be honest and tell you right now that I know very little about Hungarian football,in fact the only other teams I’ve ever heard of from there are their famous army team,Honved,and of course Ujpest Dozsa. We played the latter a couple of times in the 70s and acquitted ourselves fairly well.
Or maybe it was the famous party with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor that sticks in my mind. More likely it was going round to my auntie’s house to watch the game,only to discover that somebody at STV had forgotten to put two bob in the meter. Either way,I’m just grateful we are playing Ferencvaros and not Ferenc Puskas-the way we are playing,he’d beat us on his own,and he’s been dead for years.
Let’s not pussy around here. We’ve played four competitive games and played brilliantly well in the two home games. But we’ve been woefully uninspiring in the away ties. Tonight we are at home,and it remains to be seen if that trend continues. I certainly hope that it does. The early goal will be vital,as it seems to settle us down somewhat,fail to get one and our lack of a Plan B becomes increasingly apparent.
Players seem unwilling to make that imaginative and bold move,try something different. We shuttle the ball aside,a square ball here,a sideways pass there. A distinct lack of the killer incisive pass between the centre back,or inside the full back. We can discuss until we are blue in the face whether we should be playing the ball to feet or into space,but we need to learn an important aspect of the game,and that is that defenders hate having to face their own goal while chasing the ball. Almost all of them are in a comfort zone with their back to goal and up against an attacker facing the same way.
But scoring early? It might well make all the difference. It’s like a massive weight has been lifted off the shoulders of the players. They probably feel the burden of expectation more than the fans do-after all,many of us have been here before,and there is still the outside chance that some of us may live long enough to see our club winning nine in a row for a third time,with another chance to make it ten. But the players won’t,their careers don’t last that long. Maybe we might be better playing without fear,not too bothered about being seen to make a mistake when you try something different.
I make no bones about it,folks. I don’t know what the answer is,I cannot understand why we are so eye-numbingly tedious to watch at times,not given the quality that our players are capable of. You tell me why they seem to hide their light under a bushel so often. But I do know that tonight is a time for men,a time when the Celtic jersey will not shrink. You can insert your own Castore joke here,but it is no laughing matter.
The season starts tonight. It’s time to get real.
Above article by BMCUWP.