Posted on Tuesday, 4th January 2011 by Charlie
“GEORGIOS SAMARAS SCORES FOR CELTIC. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO THE MEN IN HOOPS” The words of Sky’s Ian Crocker are still reverberation around inside my head, as is the sound of the Hooped faithful singing along to their Depeche Mode classic.
Yes, Hoopy New Year to you all. Sunday afternoons victory over that lot in their own flea pit will stay long in the memory bank that’s for certain. For weeks I have been looking ahead to the game with trepidation and more than a tinge of fear that we would not only leave Snake Mountain with no points but with our our asses handed to us for good measure. The last few performances at home didn’t sit easy with the vast majority of us and with Sunday’s game approaching us fast it was difficult to see how we could get a result. In all nine players were missing from the squad including our captain, top goalscorer and our new high profile acquisition. In came Samaras and Mulgrew. This did absolutely nothing for my confidence levels as I sat awaiting the match to kick off.
The moment of reflection before the start of the match was a fitting tribute to the 66 fans that lost their lives in the Disaster 40 years ago. A disaster that truly darkened Scottish Football. Both sets of supporters immaculately upheld the 60 seconds or more silence to pay their respects to those who perished.
The only sound that could be heard on the TV during that time was that of an aircraft overhead and I am still waiting on the outcome of Leckie’s investigation to prove whether it was an Aer Lingus plane or not. I’m sure he will fabricate a story to fill his column inches anyway. “Celtic fans watches ticked too loud in their vile attempt to disrupt silence!” Odious little man. Leckie and Spiers can both fu-cough. Anyway I digress.
The match itself was as enjoyable and relaxed as I have ever been watching the derby. I think because I watched more in hope than expectation it was more relaxing. And of course the amount of beer I necked in the build up. I could have all been so different if Lizzy hadn’t done his best Fosbury flop to head McPillocks effort off the line in the opening 5 minutes but after riding our luck a bit in the early stages we settled down and played some really patient football. I think thats where a lot of our success on Sunday came from was that we didn’t go about our business with all guns blazing and leave ourselves wide open to the counter. The only real chance we carved out in the first half was for young Forrest who really could have tried to get a shot away sooner but we will chalk that down to inexperience in the fixture.
With the score 0-0 at half time I really did start getting nervous. The currents were there for the taking. They had nothing to show in the first half apart from the hammer-throwers headed effort but it was at the front of my mind that our second half performances of late have left a lot to be desired. So much so that I had convinced myself that Lenny had stared dishing out pie and bovril to the Bhoys at half time. But within moment of the restart Samaras flick on put Paddy through only for the Messiah to fluff his lines. Maybe Paddy has it in his contract that he needs to beat at least 4 players before he is allowed to stroke the ball home. But we didn’t have to wait too much longer to go ballistic.
Aberdeen’s agent Foster, playing at right back for Rangers, played a deft infield pass to Joe Ledley who wasted no time in hitting a long through ball to Samaras who had left Bougherra and old father time for dead. McGregor…….. hahaha. Sammi rounded the Rangers goallie with ease and had the simplest of tasks of rolling the ball into and empty net. Cue bedlam in the Broomloan, Bairds, the Brazen, my house and everywhere else the match was being viewed by the Parkhead masses. As the Celtic fans, players & bench went wild Bougherra turned and gave McGregor a look of utter disgust that I’m sure the Rangers No 1 is no stranger to.
The second goal was the icing on the cake as The Greek Adonis glided down the wing, into the box before being hatcheted down by the Booger. The comedic value of the Algerian giving away the spot kick pales in comparison to his attempt to claim it took place outside the box after taking 3 steps away from the incident and pointing to the ground. Jamie Ness’ reaction told its own story. I didn’t realise there was another member of The Family Ness that we didn’t know about. Pish Ness! (US & younger readers will probably need to YT that) Anyway, Gorgeous George picked himself up, dusted himself off and slotted the ball home for the win.
Sammi was unlucky not to complete his hat trick in injury time but I suppose that would just have been asking too much. I’m with Harper when he says that he hopes Samaras moves on. He is not worth a new deal and with his contract up in the summer I’d rather get any money we can for him.
There were so many positives to take from Sundays result and performance. Kayal was sensational, he was constantly looking for the ball and looking to spring attacks and at the same time giving the defence the extra bit of insurance that we have been lacking in recent times. The central defence pairing themselves looked strong and confident, Majstorovic was in a no nonsense mood of deal with the impending danger and ask questions later. And the other mob look wafer thin, with the amount of games coming their way that can only play into our hands. They are also in dire need of investment and we could maybe even see their squad deplete still further in the month ahead.
So the new year has came in with a bang. Lets hope for more fireworks before the season is out. Here is hoping 2011 is Lenny’s year.
Until next week
Charlie (twitter @Chic1967 and for podcast and website updates @TheLostBhoys)