Celtic vs Motherwell and the weekend that was…by Jim Craig

Prior to Saturday’s match, Motherwell had been one point clear of Celtic in the SPL table, so a 4-0 victory in favour of the Hoops over such opposition must be regarded as an excellent result. A figure of 63% possession for Celtic is what you might expect in an SPL match at Celtic Park but such domination of the ball is not always reflected in the number of goals scored and the manager would have been delighted by the margin of victory.

He would also have been pleased with the form shown by his ‘newer’ players. Every time a boss brings in some new signings, his judgement is on the line and Neil Lennon would not have been the first Celtic manager to realise that he had bought either someone who had frankly ‘conned’ the scouts sent to see him or a player unable to cope with the pressures of being a Celt or even a complete misfit. On Saturday, all the new boys rose to the occasion and Neil could afford to have a relaxed weekend.

The form of James Forrest in particular must have been very gratifying to those behind the scenes. Through the years, Celtic FC has produced many a young starlet, more than a few of which were tipped for the top. Unfortunately, as Saint Matthew remarked in his Gospel  ‘many are called but few are chosen’. Now, I do not think that the Apostle was necessarily talking about football at the time of his remark but the expression certainly does still apply in the game today. There are many promising boys but few manage to go all the way to the top. James Forrest has always had the ability and it is great to see him now put that talent to its best use. Incidentally, he is also a very pleasant young man, whom I met at a supporters’ function last year; he called me ‘Mr Craig’, which showed respect for his elders but also made me feel like Methusalah!

It is also interesting to check the SPL after only 6 or 7 matches and see some surprising names near the bottom. Hibs are propping up the others, with only four points from 6 matches. There is some dismay among the Easter Road support about the way the club is going and the manager – Colin Calderwood – is under real pressure. As he does not seem to talk much to journalists, there is little sympathy for him among the press corps – never a good situation for any manager. What is that old Scots expression – ‘a jaiket hingin’ on a shoogly nail’?

On the other hand, other guys down near the foot, like Craig Brown at Aberdeen – with only 5 points from 7 matches- and both Terry Butcher at Inverness  plus Peter Houston at Dundee United – whose teams have similar stats – are very experienced and all know how to deal with the media, so I expect each  of them will be in situ for the long haul.


Down south, there are a number of ex-Celts now plying their trade in the Premier League. Kenny Dalglish has spent what by Scottish standards would be a fortune and his side has started the season in reasonable fashion. On Saturday, however, they came up against Stoke City, most efficiently organised by Tony Pulis. From the highlights, the Reds had a lot of possession but just could not find a way past a very competent Stoke backline. By the way, what about those comments by Fabio Capello regarding Andy Carroll and his lifestyle? A footballer having a drink; have you ever heard such nonsense?

Mick McCarthy’s Wolves are in 7th spot while Davie Moyes’ Everton are 10th. Considering Everton’s continuing financial problems – why do wealthy foreign businessmen never seem interested in taking over the Goodison Park club? – Davie does a remarkable job year after year, keeping Everton in a healthy position in the League and usually getting them to the latter stages of the cup competitions.

Paul Lambert’s Norwich are near the foot but that is to be expected with clubs just promoted from the First Division. Last season’s other two in that category – QPR and Swansea  – are in the same section of the table. Paul will be disappointed, though, to lose 0-1 to West Brom on Sunday. Those are the types of games where Norwich must pick up at least one point if they are to survive in what is an extremely tough league.





2 thoughts on “Celtic vs Motherwell and the weekend that was…by Jim Craig

  1. Very encouraging to see young Forrest step up to the plate, Jim. From the highlights I have seen, he seems to have had a very fine game and been involved in most of the team’s good play. Let’s hope he can carry that through to next Sunday in Ibrox. If nothing else, he’s given the Rangers management another threat to think about and try to counter.

    We seem to have many attacking options at the moment whereas they seem quite one dimensional. With Bangura also making his debut and Commons also waiting in the wings to re-capture his form of last season, there is reason for optimism.

  2. Agreed, good to see Forrest stepping up, watched his debut last season in a pub in Donegal, and al elderly Glasgow lady piped up, was about time he got a chance, she is proven to be correct.

    Having only caught the game on the radio, followed by the BBC highlights, it is hard to comment too much, but it looked like Stokes once again linked well up front. Far from first choice with the manager at the moment though.

    Mulgrew does add a better balance to the central partnership at the back, and if he can continue to make the strides he started last season, cut out one or two silly mistakes, he could well turn out a decent centre back. Jelavic if fit will obviously cause us the biggest threat at Ibrox, hopefuly Kayal can keep Davis quiet and cut out the supply.

    Does he drop one of the midfield for a returning Brown, or even go with 5 in there?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s