I watched the first semi-final on my own in a bar which had a pirate internet feed of BT Sport. I enjoyed a couple of cold dark ones from St. James’s Gate. The first Guinness is quite bitter to the taste but not as bitter as the unreconstructed knuckle-dragging Hun who was spewing invective from an adjacent table. Each and every Celtic player was deemed ‘a cheating cunt.‘ There were kids in the bar watching the Chelsea v Watford game which also ended 4-2. He carried on regardless. In my younger days I would have told him to ‘shut the fuck up‘ but even though I can still handle myself – I continue to box at a local club where my annual membership costs a mere £1 which includes a pair of second-hand gloves – I had come for a quiet beer and had no desire to get barred from the best sports bar in town bar none. I have experience, from my bar steward days, of deploying a wrist lock against a pint glass used as a weapon. I knew exactly what I would do if it kicked off.
Rangers recidivists cause trouble wherever they roam. The also try to blacken the reputation of the Celtic fans. Some in Munich were so fulsome in their praise of the support that they wondered if they could be hired. I applaud each and every one of them despite the best efforts of Robert Grieve and his ilk to suggest they were singing pro-Isis / anti Lee Rigby songs, which was changed in the second edition to pro-IRA songs. Grieve was just making it up. Did he ask Brendan Rodgers if he was facing a mid-life crisis as a bet with his Hun colleagues at The Sun? This title is still boycotted in Liverpool for the appalling lie that the victims of the Hillsborough disaster were robbed by fellow fans as they lay dead and dying on the turf. Is Kelvin MacKenzie the most odious man in the history of British print? If he were to walk around Liverpool’s Albert Dock redevelopment he would be left in no doubt of the local people’s anathema. Of course on balance it should be stated that he was briefed by the Police who were engaging in black propaganda apropos the Liverpool support. The Police wanted to portray the supporters as the lowest of the low who had brought the carnage on their own heads.
What kind of individual watches a game to hurl abuse at the object of his ten-in-a-row nightmares? They are called Rangers Lite supporters. I started watching this game as a neutral but in defiance of the knuckle dragger I chose to actively support Celtic and was on my feet to celebrate Dembele’s brace while staring at the hand-made WATP tattoo on his beer drinking arm.
As to the game itself it did not quite ignite for me. I could not fault the players who provided a six goal thriller, but the atmosphere was flat due to 10,000 seats, that Hibs insisted on, remaining unsold. They should have been returned to the SPFL and put on open sale at Celtic Park. Motherwell, whose eyes are not bigger than their stomach, took a modest allocation. Lite had no difficulty selling their 38,000 allocation. If I were Neil Doncaster I would be calling Rod Petrie to give him a flea in his ear.
Were Celtic good value for their 60th domestic game without defeat? Yes they were. It would be churlish to suggest otherwise. However I was surprised that the Hibs keeper could not do better with Lustig’s goals. Were the dreich conditions to blame for his poor handling? Giving Celtic two soft goals of a start was only going to end one way.
I note that other sites are blaming Clancy and his assistant for the penalty decision. However the real culprits are Boyata who was caught in possession; and Boyle for his prowess in simulation. It took several runs of a slow motion camera to see Boyle dragging his foot prior to going down. Boyata knew he was being ‘done’ but he should not have put himself in this invidious position in the first place. The penalty decision was a rare beast in Scottish football. It was a genuine honest mistake.
In yesterday’s piece I stated that I fancied Motherwell today. I will also watch this game as a neutral but with a quiet hope that the underdogs, Motherwell, prevail. The look on the foul-mouthed bigot’s face would be priceless if the caravan ground to a halt and the gypseys with their stolen trophy trinkets had to face the dogs that had stopped barking and started baying.