Players For The Big Occasion?


Tomorrow sees us in our usual early slot for an away match in the CL,which will at least allow the faithful in Madrid a chance to have a few beers afterwards. I hope they have a wonderful night,one to remember and to which I will return shortly.

The weekend though once again gave us “the curse of the commentator”,or in this case,of the plank who writes the articles on a blog. I said beforehand that I thought that Collum was the best of a bad lot amongst the refereeing fraternity in Scotland,and then Sunday arrived! I recant that comment after his abject display that day,and although he might just be the best of a bad lot,I had paid little heed to how close he is to the median. He is an average referee at best,which should be viewed as an insult when you consider the rest of the Scottish referees. And he is still a spineless gutless wonder.

Of course,there are many better referees in Scotland. They just don’t seem to get the game time and exposure that the long-time whistlers have monopolised for so long. The reason escapes me.

Briefly,to the game. If a side,even at home,reckons that their best chance of a result is to have two banks of five against the visitors and either hit on the break or simply not hit at all and hope for a 0-0 draw,who am I to argue? Especially as Livingston did indeed hit us-often. The fact that those hits were illegal,that is neither here nor there. That they were allowed largely without sanction by Collum,that is something for which we can only guess his reasons.

But I’ve got a fair idea,as we all do.

Ange’s subtle dig about only taking penalties in training worked surprisingly quickly,though I think we can say that G-Mak should be included in the practice sessions. Much as I love him,of course! Few people around me thought ours on Sunday was a penalty,and nor did I. But with about ten minutes remaining,totally on top and two goals up,it was an easy decision for Collum.

There you go,you’ve had your penalty so STFU about it in future. Difficult to argue,but anyone who thinks we would have got it ten minutes into the game at 0-0 is kidding themselves on.

Kyogo continued his improvement with a terrfific finish,and is clearly not the type to let his head go down. (Hopefully too,he will shrug off his surprise omission from the World Cup squad) Even after missing a great chance in midweek,he looked well up for this. Greg Taylor capped another MOTM performance with a strike from outside the box while the keeper was probably unsighted. And Jota marked his return after a few weeks off.

These are good times domestically,and they would be good times in Europe too if our performances there were rewarded with the results that they have deserved. But we all know that is not the case. We play Real Madrid tomorrow,a side who unfortunately have not yet made sure of finishing top of their group. The stats tell us that we have scored with 3 out of 68 attempts on goal,which is shocking at any level.

In Europe,it is profligate and costly. Tomorrow must be about maintaining those levels of performance and vastly improving our conversion rate. I’d settle for three attempts and two goals,but wouldn’t we all! Ange will have drilled the need for improvement into our side,to keep it tighter in midfield and at the back,not to give the ball away so easily. That is easier said than done,but do so we must.

Real are European champions for a reason,but they are not invincible. There will be a significant away support there,having put a lot of time,effort and expense into the trip. The players will match that effort on the pitch,and then some. But effort does not come with its own reward at this level.

Even in a “dead rubber” of a match,one where the result will have no bearing on our final position in the group table,there is a lot to play for. I am looking forward to it,our last game in Europe until next season. It will be a difficult task for the players,quite possibly a difficult watch for the fans. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world!


Above article by BMCUWP

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Latest from JOBO’s POTY Competition.

Good evening, friends.
Just like our last visit to The Spaghettihad we managed to play or football despite the underfoot conditions and came away with a really comfortable win. Decent performances from all 16 players that took to the carpet and good to see Jota return with another goal to boot. And what can you say about our left back. Marking his 100th appearance in the hoops by scoring for the 2nd domestic game in a row Greg Taylor is Swiftly becoming a cult figure for our fans and is probably the best example we have of a player who has improved (and continues to do so) under Big Ange. And, by the way, Greg’s goal was pinpoint accuracy, going for the gap between 2 players, followed by the nutmeg on their keeper was precision in the extreme!
Not sure how many of you would also have realised that an unbroken run came to an end yesterday. For the first 18 games of this season, just one player had appeared in all of them. But yesterday that ended when Ange decided NOT to call on the services of Daizen Maeda. For the record there are now 4 players who have appeared in 18 of our first 19 games – Maeda, Abada, O’Riley and Mooy.
Celtic have now completed 19 competitive fixtures this season, winning 13, drawing 2 and losing 4. With 53 goals scored and 19 conceded.
As for the voting, my thanks as always to the 78 who emailed me their choices. There have been 2 previous games this season where the man of the match achieved almost universal approval. When we beat Ross County in game 2, Jota was mentioned in 60 out of the 61 emails received (98.4%). And in the 9-0 demolition of Dundee Utd Kyogo got the nod from 84 out of 86 voters (97.7%). But following yesterday’s game we have a new record with the Man Of The Match (his 2nd MOTM award in a row) being proposed by 78 out of the 79 voters – an approval rating of 98.7%. And who was it? Well, the total votes cast for each CELTIC player (with my own choices – 3 Scots! – asterisked) are as follows –
Hart: 0
Ralston*: 18
Carter-Vickers: 13
Jenz: 13
Taylor*: 78
O’Riley: 7
Hatate: 23
Mooy: 45
Forrest*: 2
Kyogo: 26
Haksabanovic: 7

Abada: 0
Turnbull: 0
Jota: 5
Giakoumakis: 0
Abildgaard: 0

And so, the top 5 players receiving POINTS for the game against Livingston are –
Taylor – 5 pts
Mooy – 4 pts
Kyogo – 3 pts
Hatate – 2 pts
Ralston – 1 pt

In terms of the overall standings, I found another minor arith error from the home game against Motherwell a few weeks ago. I had mistakenly given Taylor a point at the expense of Kyogo. I’ve corrected the points accordingly.
So after 19 games the overall standings are as follows –
43 points – Hatate
33 points – Taylor
26 points – Jota
24 points – Carter-Vickers
22 points – Jenz
19 points – McGregor
14 points – Mooy
13 points – Abada, Giakoumakis, Kyogo and O’Riley
12 points – Juranovic
9 points – Welsh
8 points – Bernabei
7 points – Haksabanovic
6 points – Ralston
5 points – Forrest
3 points – Hart and Maeda
2 points – Turnbull
0 points – Abildgaard, McCarthy, Siegrist and Starfelt

We now look forward, I’m sure, to a real good test in our next game when we visit the home of the reigning European Champions, Real Madrid. I don’t think there’s any question of Ange resting players but rather he might do all he can to reward his 16 best performers with a chance to take to the field in the Santiago Bernabeu. And it’s one final test in Europe with Ange no doubt adopting his usual style and going toe to toe with one of the best. Kick off is on Wednesday evening at 5.45pm.
Hail Hail!!


Hart, Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Jenz, Taylor, O’Riley, Hatate, Haksabanovic, Jota, Kyogo, Abada. That’s what I’d start with and would hope that we score a couple, what we concede is another matter!



All the players you list are regular starters these days,but I’ll disagree with one or two.

I’ve been very disappointed with Juranovic this season,particularly his defensive “work” in Europe. He is continually caught out of position. And while I believe that Haksabanovic can play equally well in midfield as he does up front,I think we need a player like Mooy in the side-but in a more defensive role than recently.

Not that I’m gonna try to second-guess Ange,of course. He has done pretty well so far without asking my advice!

Jobo Baldie

Good morning, friends. And buenos dias, amigos to anyone lucky enough to be reading this from Madrid.
Currently, I only have two wishes for tomorrow evening. The first is that we put in another good European performance. The second is that we score a meaningful goal at a stage in the game where it’s justifiable to jump about – e.g. we take the lead, or equalise. Not too much to ask at the end of a campaign where, in my opinion, our performances deserved a better return than just 2 points.



Those were the two I swayed on, like you though whatever the gaffer chooses will do for me.

Big Audio Dynamite

Hard to argue with what Ange has done, but if I could change one wee thing, it would be how we set-up at corners (For)
Leaving JJ standing by his lonesome on the halfway line while everyone one else goes forward, isn’t working in Europe.
Teams like Real are way too slick not to take advantage of our openness (Some might say naive)
I’d leave one DM and both FB’s, as it would mean we could cover breaks on both sides.
Also agree about JJ’s positional sense, but not sure if he is just following instructions, so don’t want to be too hard on him.
Have absolutely no fears about the game, other than the fact we are playing the European champs in their own backyard. ☺
Proud of the team this year, and would absolutely love it if we got anything from the game.



Our performances have been acknowledged by the opposition and by most of us too. Though they will probably have sneaked beneath the radar elsewhere. They say God loves a trier,hopefully we might see that tomorrow.



Good point. We don’t win the ball often enough from our corners to take the risks at the back that the inevitable fast break up field causes.

Who’d be a manager,eh?

Jobo Baldie

Clearly the manager of the Japan National team hasn’t been swayed by the opinions of the ‘Sencel’ population. Maeda called unfortunately the world cup but Hatate and Kyogo miss out.
Some folk may put the ‘good for Celtic’ slant on this but I’d still prefer as many of our players to get the recognition they deserve. And it can make watching the World Cup more worthwhile.

Morning all

Disappointed re Kyogo and Reo H being left of the Japanese World Cup squad. No injuries for them now they are not going and alll thst but it might get them down Reo only has the one full cap so I suppose he won’t be too surprised but Kyogo has been a regular in their squad for a wee while now so he will be gutted. Even more surprised however that Daizen Maeda is going as he he has not been a fixture in their team whilst he has been mostly disappointing for us since those misses against Rangers in May.

Josip J has disappointed me too – at the first Hearts game in August my mate Ray- the Waldorf to my Statler- said we should be cashing in now (before the last transfer deadline) as he reckoned that he is likely to be distracted by agents, rumours etc if he stays. Juranovic is a class above Ralston at their respective bests but at the moment I think we play better with the Scot in the team.

Have a good day.



Morning all,

I agree with your team, apart from Haksabanovic whom I would swap with Mooy.

Regarding the Japanese World Cup Squad, I agree with Jobo 👍 I want to see as many Celtic players at the Tournament as I think it would give an added interest.

I’m also worried that the omission of our players from the Japanese World Cup Squad, might hinder us in future signings as any potential signings may think it may hinder their future international careers.

Enjoy your day and “ Be careful out there !!!”.

HH 🍀🍀🍀


Bobby – great read buddy.


Broadly agree with your team:

I’d see Mooy starting in middle and Haksa in place of Abada

Would change Hatate & O’Riley immediately, if they show many signs of stray passing.

Gonna be a tough night- they will want to put us out of reach of any points asap.

Jobo – now willing to bet Taylor will top your charts by end of season



Yes,GT’s improvement over the last 15 months has been incredible. As ATHINGOF BEAUTY frequently pointed out in NL’s time,players need and want to be coached.

And with a good coach,all they need to do is listen and learn-and put in the hard yards!

St tams

Well that’s the first part of the journey to Madrid completed safely, considering the way my son drives.
At Liverpool Airport waiting to depart for Alicante .




Bring us back a result,or at least a stick of rock.


Should be easy for modern coaches to appraise a players strength and weaknesses with all the analytics from technology available.
The days of saying get into them are gone.
At the moment our midfield could do a better job of seeing the forwards runs.
Maeda could have a better first touch.
Ralston needs better positional sense and patience
Our central defenders need to move ball quicker.
Confident all will improve under this coaching regime.

Neil Lennon was never a coach but a motivator in his first stint but by his second stint the technical aspects of the game had passed him by.
That not one player improved under him was testament to such.

Jobo Baldie

Been thinking more about my ‘meaningful goals’ comment earlier and looking back through our 5 Champions League games. Had we scored a late-ish goal in ANY of those games I think we’d all have been going a bit mental.
The Shakhtar games are the most obvious. We drew both 1-1 showered still in both games till the final whistle.
Against Leipzig away we fell 2-1 behind after 64 and last a 3rd on 77. But had we scored 1 even at say 88 minutes I’m sure we would gave been thinking this isn’t over yet.
Simarly in the return fixture Leipzig only took the lead on 74 mins, scoring their 2nd on 83. So, again, a goal.for us would have kept our hopes alive.
That leaves just our opening tie against Madrid. On the 60th minute Modric put them 2-0 up but it was only when their 3rd went in on the 77th minute that we knew the game was definitely lost.
In short we ‘only’ fell 2 behind on 60 mins (Madrid), 77 mins (Leipzig away) and 83 mins (Leipzig home).
I hope we get an hour on the clock tonight and be no worse off than 2 goals behind.

Big Audio Dynamite

Jobo, hope you haven’t made any plans to watch Celtic tonight 😉

Great post, buddy.

Jobo Baldie

B.A.D. Oops, yes tomorrow evening.



Those were interesting stats that you highlighted. To me they raise the main issue that has troubled my poor brain since I realised how Ange would have his team play.

Here is a troubling scenario. Losing crucial goals from 60 minutes onwards, suggests that Celtic is losing those games rather than the opposition winning them! If you can see my poor attempt at logic in that statement. Further, it raises the question why do we lose goals so late in games?

One possible answer is that Ange employs a system that simply drains his players, or some of his players, by the time that the game clock gets beyond 60 minutes. In short, the FBs and the midfield have played 90 minutes but the game clock says 60 have elapsed. It is rather like going to the opera and listening to 2 hours of wonderful music and looking at your watch and seeing that 20 minutes have elapsed!

This worry is what prevents me totally buying into Ange as our manager. Yes, I know that is approaching heresy! I do hope that I am wrong.



Good afternoon

Seeking a bit of information to sort out something that has puzzled me, on and off, for 32 years. Those who know Saltcoats may be best placed to help me. Talk of that town the other night as well as the upcoming Word Cup brought the incident I am about to recall to mind.

32 years and a few months ago I was in a seaside town called Pietre Ligure in Northwest Italy. Nearer the border with France than Genoa it feels a bit like something Jacques Tati or Bill Forsyth might have made a gentle comedy in rather than something Dirk Bogarde would have turned up in to let his eye makeup run and it has been my base for the World Cup. It’s a Friday night and I return to Scotland tomorrow- two nights before the inept Leighton had fluffed his lines and despite the best efforts of Uruguay to screw their own hopes up the next day Scotland has been knocked out. I am in the Bar Milo just up from the railway line chatting with some fellow Scots and some Irish lads who have arrived that day- they are playing Romania on Monday in the same stadium and city I saw the two Scotland matches played there. The bar is run by a husband-and-wife team Michele (Milo) and Rosanna who have looked after us royally – when I turned up at 10 in the morning the day before, despondent at the previous night’s result and cursing the wretched Leighton, Milo knew to put a brandy in my coffee. That kind of place.

An elderly couple arrives in the bar. Really old- eighties at least. Well dressed, he wears a light-coloured suit and Panama hat. He looks English but his accent gives him away. He is from Scotland, west of Glasgow. Ayrshire, he tells us. Neither he nor his wife even seem to know there is a World Cup on when we tell him why we are in such a small seaside town. He has a drink and his wife smiles and then he turns his volume up a bit and tells us all he is from Saltcoats. Do we know the song? No.

Saltcoats! Saltcoats!
A fine wee town, a bonnie wee town is Saltcoats!

And on he went for several verses. He keeps the tune okay, but he is not a good singer. Rosanna has handled the coarse if friendly manners of Scots, Swedes and now Irish football fans effortlessly, but I can see this old guy has her stumped. He is not a troublemaker, and his wife is a lovely wee woman who seems a bit embarrassed that her man might have made an exhibition of himself, but he is different from anything we have come across in the previous fortnight. Whatever, any tension passes as he and his wife blend into the small crowd, and he does not sing again.

I have never heard that song again and nobody I have ever mentioned it to knows it. The only song I can find that mentions this ‘fine wee town’ is ‘Saltcoats at the Fair’ performed by Billy Connolly- a funny but poignant number – and I have often wondered if this wee old man and his song were figments of my imagination.

So, does anybody know the ‘Saltcoats Song’?


big packy

JIMBO67, wait till solkitts comes on, he will know it👍

Big Packy

Let’s hope so. Maybe he can teach us the whole song !




You create wonderful mental images with your wordmanship! I was transported to another time and place. A place that I have never visited and company that I shall never keep, but, yet, I was there!

I can offer no help on the song. I did a quick and dirty search on the Web but to no avail. It will be interesting to see if others come up with something.

Saltcoats? It brings back memories of holidays before international travel became both desirable and affordable.

I grew up poor but never knowing it. We could not, or would not go away to a boarding house for holidays at the Fair. Every year, it was “a day here and a day there” for our holidays. Think how ungreen that was!

Helensburgh was always on the list, by bus, and through Cardross, which always told me we were not too far from our destination.

Strathaven was the worst and, yet, we went there every year. No beach, just boring parks to wander through. Little did I know that it would prove to be home to Bertie Auld and David Fernandez, not to mention a man from the other side, Eric Caldow.

Troon was the favourite. Ayr was only on the list occasionally, but Ardrossan was a regular. And then there was Saltcoats. It had a beach so it was infinitely better than Strathaven, but it was liberally sprinkled with what appeared to be coal dust. Adrossan, sometimes Stevenston, were preferred by this pail and spade. Apologies to those from Saltcoats.

As time went on, we became poorer and even days away shrunk to, perhaps, one or two. Fortunately, I was growing up and holidays with your parents were becoming a stick for your friends to beat your back. Somehow, my caregivers and parents managed to scramble cash together for me to go to a boarding house in Whiting Bay, on the magical isle of Arran. After that, it was an occasional package deal abroad to Cattolica, Port Bou and Ibiza, funded through either summer jobs or me, finally gaining employment.

Each of these provided memories, but, as I look at it now, none as rich as the hastily arranged, “days here and there” when resources were stretched to, and sometimes, beyond their limits.

Now, Jimbo, apart from the garb, I am that old man who can cause embarrassment by singing a song from his memories!

Keep on posting.



Thanks for replying. A very enjoyable read.

As a family our west coast resort was Prestwick- great beach and a pea supper as a treat. People laugh nowadays when I say there was such a thing as a pea supper. I always liked Troon too but Ayr was definitely thought a step down whilst Largs and Inverkip , though lovely places, were not far enough away from Glasgow. Saltcoats and the likes of Seamill were places we just travelled through although I went to weddings in both when I was in my thirties.

We graduated to going to Crail in Fife – a bit away from it all we thought. First Sunday we were there we went to Mass and two rows in front of us was the Bonacorsi family whose kids all went to the same school as me. Love Crail and when I still had a car I still went up now and again.

Sweet memories


Prestonpans bhoys

Good afternoon bhoys and ghirls.

Had a tummy upset since late Sunday, trust me there are better ways to lose weight😵

Anyways…….noticed the DR football wizards were not brave enough to offer a hun defeat tonight, in deed one is going for a win😂


Prestonpans Bhoys
The only thing that mob will win tonight is the Worst team in champions league history 😃


Prestonpans bhoys Craig76

Last week BBC were saying we were out of Europe whereas Huns were still able to qualify for Europa League. All it needed was a 5-0 win at home and they would take 3rd place. A Celtic win wouldn’t do us any good. We’d still finish 4th


The Huns are 200/1 on PP to win 5-0, do I want to lose a pound tonight 🤔 🤣🤣



“A stick of rock…” must be an Ayrshire thing

We had stalks of Rock in Renfrewshire … although we didn’t have any resorts … so we had to go to the coast and our regular place was Croy Bay and it took forever to get there

Definitely stalks of rock it wiz … with a wee black and white foto inside the cellophane.

Stopped at Dalry on the way home for fish n chips n Garvie’s or Struthers ginger



A stick of rock was what we called it ooop North 😀


Come on Celtic listen to Nils.

Sort out Madrid!

Stick of Rock. George Formby even sang about the small Blackpool version and what more wholesome endorsement could you think of?



Hmmmmm you guys are making me have doubts here ….

A quick google search this at top –but just about every other entry has ‘stick’

“Facebook › photos
Graham at Halo Homes – Stalk of rock or stick of rock?? Help us out, a radio presenter …
Stalk of rock or stick of rock? … It appears stalk is leading the charge, but apparently it is a Scottish thing to call it this so guess thats no surprise …”

Big Audio Dynamite

Wiz always a Stalk of rock in our house, SeS. 👍


More to the point, who is bringing said Stick/Stalk of rock and where to I sign up for my piece 😃🤣

Big Audio Dynamite

Also used to go out in the street with a bag of sugar, as the lady along the street had massive stalks of rhubarb growing in her garden. That and the fruit that grew along the Clyde meant we were never hungry!

Jobo Baldie

I know it’s not Friday, but….. Put a song down on an album in 1966. Release a new video for it 56 years later. Only The Beatles could get away with this – pretty mesmerising and timeless if you ask me.

Big Audio Dynamite

Any Ayrshire lads know a tiny wee place called KNOCKENTIBER?

big packy

FFS it was a stalk of rock in lanarkshire when i was a kid ,but wee joan being a scouser and living 50 miles away from blackpool called it a stick of rock ,another true story👍


I know of it but not much about what’s there

Sol Kitts

Sorry mate, never heard that one. There was one going the rounds in the late 70s called Tossin in Ardrossan. 😂😂

Sol Kitts

Knockentiber is well known to most of us of a certain age. It’s where Monty’s Scrapyard was, kept most of our cars running for a price we could afford.

Evening all.

I’m going to stick wi a stalk. 🙂



I grew up poor but never knowing it. We could not, or would not go away to a boarding house for holidays at the Fair. Every year, it was “a day here and a day there” for our holidays. Think how ungreen that was!
I grew up rich but never knowing it until later years when reminiscing I told my good lady of fillet steak for Sunday breakfast, lemon sole (fish on Friday) and having the first TV in my stretch of the Gallowgate. All thanks to my gran (the one that got me tickets for the 1960 UEFA Cup Final) who had her florist business adjacent to the Barras.

Consequently, Rothesay was my regular holiday spot as my gran had a flat there and when Butlins Ayr opened up as I got a wee bit older I have great memories of holidays there.

Age 12 my school, St Mungo, organised a trip to Engleberg in Switzerland not long after I started to kick a football and although last pick, I played with Sammy Henderson John Park and Jim? Peacock , all of whom signed for Celtic, in a five a side competition that we won.

Those were the days my friend, we thought would never end la la la la la.



Cycle down that way – there is an old railway line with amazing bridges just before it but don’t remember much about Knockentiber tbh


Rebus out of interest when we’re you in whiting bay and can you remember the name of the boarding house – wife’s family used to own one there.

Big Audio Dynamite

Craig, Sol, Knockentiber is where our family caravan was when I was a wean.
Lots of brilliant memories from there …except i can still smell the cow shit 😊

Sol Kitts

Thanks. I did not imagine it but suspect the old fella might have been taking the Arthur Bliss. Good on him.


Big Audio Dynamite

SeS, I suppose when we were there (Late 70s) it would probably have been even smaller? I actually don’t remember there being a town or anything, just an endless lot of fields full of cows

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