Number 2 Blues

My Auchenhowie mole has informed me that the appointment of Jimmy Nicholl as Murty’s adjutant was not universally popular. Kenny Miller, who had proffered both a nod and wink to a blind horse thought that he was a shoe-in. Kenny, at 38, knows that his playing days will soon be at an end. He was hoping for a leg-up at Auchenhowie’s Lunar Laboratory (still howling). When news broke Red Hand Nicholl was on his way there was a real ‘stooshie.’ Electrolyte drinks were airborne. Mothers out having post-prandial perambulation with their progeny (how’s that for aliteration) were quick to hide toys and mobiles from the enraged Ibrox stalwart. Dummies were secured.

No-one buffs his brown brogues more fastidiously than Ulster legend Nicholl. He may have been born in Canada but his roots are in William of Orange’s old stomping ground. Oscar Wilde was not the only historical figure who enjoyed ‘feasting with panthers.’ I plan to look at Kincora in a special piece. I will be spending the next few days engaging in research. I will leave no stone unturned. If my research leads to the very top of The Establishment food chain – Westminster and the Monarchy – so be it. I will name ‘names’ and take individuals with big reputations to task. I will peel the paint off their walls, including those from Derry.

I met Nicholl at a fundraiser at Bannockburn Juniors in McQ’s. The late great Tommy Gemmell was also present. Two men who drove many miles at their own expense to support grass roots football. My friends and I paid £25 a plate.

The sumptuous meal – provided free by joint-proprietor Joey – was not as succulent as a meal once enjoyed by James Traynor. With Level 5 posting a mere £45,000 in pre-tax profits, his lamb in 2018 may be mutton. I wonder who Traynor found to pull his cracker at his Xmas party? Gout and Guile are uneasy drinking partners.

I digress. Kenny may have been a one-man whirlwind but it did not upset the Lite squad, many of whom were bidding farewell to the Ibrox faithful. I watched the game with long-term reader and contributor Left Side Red. As an Aberdeen man he hates Rangers and their bastard offspring Rangers Lite with a passion. But even he had to give credit where it was due. Lite wanted it more. They wiped the floor with Celtic in the second half. During some robust discussions at half-time, one of Miller’s WhatsApp group incited his colleagues to play the second half as if it were their last.

Brendan Rodgers was happy with a clean sheet. He had Craig Gordon’s knee to thank for that. Murty, as anticipated, emulated Anderlecht/Hearts with a high pressing game. Scott Brown and Dembele were man-marked. The former was not allowed time to take a touch and boss the game.

Sinclair was back to his best. His dangerous crosses deserved a more prolific striker than Dembele. The striker was a yard late to every penetrating incursion by Sinclair. McGregor’s shooting from distance was as woeful as it was wasteful.

Rodgers had better have a rethink during the break. If Dembele can be punted for £18m he would be well advised to take it. He is a shadow of the player who scored 32 goals last season. He has not been the same player since his injury. Netting eight this term is not good enough. Sinclair is being singled out for missing a sitter but this was more than offset by his overall performance. Lustig is more than a day and a dollar short.

It was worth noting that Murty’s team was patched up to start with and he had to make running repairs. If Celtic cannot prevail against Heath Robinson confections their Europa League ambitions will be short-lived.

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16 thoughts on “Number 2 Blues”

  1. Forget about Europa League. Something has to give, this team is mentally and physically exhausted.
    In the ‘90’s Alex Fergusson with his excellent squad could not do four tournaments plus internationals. Something had to give so he deliberately threw the FA Cup first game to minnows to get out of it.
    Celtic’s priorities are clear:
    1. Win the SPFL Premiership. Do not risk ten in a row.
    2. The Domestic Treble. Back to back trebles will not be achievable for 50 years.
    The Europa League threatens the above two priorities (three tournaments). Its piss poor income. Get out of it at first chance to avoid risking the domestic treble. The money has been made in CL.
    I expect CFC players to get through February with some renewed vigour but crash March, April and May. 4 tournaments is too much.

    Miller is very much expensive surplus to requirements. He is not going to learn the management trade at Sevco. Murty is doing that.

  2. And a damn fine evening it was !!! Stories told , memories revisited and a pretty poor game commented on . All assisted by Belgian lager , Speyside Malt and Finnish vodka . Wishing you and all other contributors and readers a very healthy and prosperous New Year .

  3. Celtic were very poor. It’s obvious that a play maker of the quality of Moravcik is badly needed. No Celtic player should panic the way some did yesterday.

  4. 45 mins of better play does not bring in a single pound more. Still lying third and still with no money. No valuable assets. No credit at the bank. When will the Bears stop singing the sash and look at the fumes in the bank. How can they possibly think they can sign players when they cannot pay wages to the current staff?

  5. Noteworthy that the referee carded Griffiths in the last minute for no apparent reason. Would this have been related to a wager previously placed on “6+ yellow cards”?

  6. Celtic had the first half, Rangers Lite the second half with the the draw being the reight result. Celtic do need a No. 10, a right back and another striker. RL need to sell so even a good second half gets them nowhere. Monthly donation made 82B4 and have made this a recurring donation to assist you in providing me with the Premium content. Happy New year when it comes.

  7. Yesterday was CFC’s 38th competitive match of the season and they looked jaded. By comparison, TRFC have played just 27. Nevertheless, CFC should have had yesterday’s match rapped up by half-time but for some poor finishing by Sinclair and Forrest and a string of excellent saves by Foderingham.

  8. ‘I’d like to complain about this football club I bought’
    ‘Ah, the Govan Blue. What’s wrong with it’
    ‘I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it – it’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it’
    ‘No, no, it’s eh … it’s just emerging from administration that’s all’
    ‘Look, I know a dead club when I see one and I’m looking at one right now’
    ‘No, it’s eh … beautiful shirt isn’t it? Look at those stars’
    ‘The stars don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead!’
    ‘No, it’s on it’s way back I’m telling you’
    ‘Look, I’ve had enough of this. This club is definitely dead and when I bought it you said it had been on the go since 1872’
    ‘It has, it’s just pining for Europe, that’s all’
    ‘Pining for Europe? What kind of talk is that? Why did it fall on its arse when it got there then?’
    ‘Govan Blues are always falling on their arse –  you get more penalties that way’
    ‘Listen, I’ve been checking and the only reason this club’s in the league at all is because it was forced in against the rules’
    ‘Well of course it was! It couldn’t go for 55 otherwise’
    ’55! This thing couldn’t get to 55 if you spent 55 million on it. It’s deceased!’
    ‘No, no, it’s just passed out of admin…’
    ‘It hasn’t passed out, it’s passed on! This is an ex-club!’
    ‘Well, I suppose you want a replacement then. The thing is I’m out of Govan Blues – I’ve got a Third Lanark?’
    ‘Oh, fuck off!’

  9. Watching the game made me think that the four goal humping from Hearts was not a fluke as I could see the same Cfc frailties and inability to cope with a high press on display again, albeit Sevco could not score and Gordon had a better game. I would be very concerned about Zenit if I was a Cfc fan. Could be another embarrassing pair of nights.

  10. I hope you have a happy and (more) prosperous new year – in token of which I have sent a wee donation for a dram to toast the bells. I shall continue to support your work with my regular 4-weekly donations when I get paid, with extra donations as and when I can.

    I am not a rich man, nor a ‘professional’ person. I work shifts with long and extremely irregular hours to make ends meet. However, I admire the courage and tenacity with which you have set about the Heraklean task of cleansing the Augean stables of Scottish Football.
    Having identified the source of the corruption in your own beloved Ibrox, you neither blinked sightlessly nor tried to evade the honest attribution of blame. You deserve to be supported.

    Sir (as someone once said): I salute your indefatigability!

  11. As promised John, my normal monthly donation ( ends 1351) followed the bells in Edinburgh. A Guid New Year Tae Yae !

    JJ: Thank you.

  12. Welcome to 2018. There will be no blog today but I will return presently to our award-winning site with some predictions for 2018 and a critique of Celtic. My subscription based site has snagged due to PayPal technical issues but I hope to resolve these soon. I have dropped the entry level to £5 per month, with other options to pay more which will hopefully lead to an average of £10. I anticipate no more than 100 subscribers. I’m also looking at a third site, free at source, for non football pieces. Even though Scottish football shuts down until 23rd January it will be full steam ahead on our award-winning blog.

  13. This site just keeps getting better – thanks JJ and HNY to all on the Speakeasy. As long as I keep my job (which isn’t certain by any means) I’ll be continuing at my current contribution level and hope that one of new formats you have been trialling encourages enough of the waverers on the sidelines to support the site in 2018 such that you feel able to continue through the shitstorm that will surely be Scottish Football in 2018. Here’s to the SFA getting it right up em…

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