Season Review : No ordinary football club

15
May
2012

Posted By David Potter

Posted in Articles, Guest Appearance

It is difficult to analyse one’s feeling about this season. On the one hand the SPL came back, won by a convincing 20 points (and even if Rangers hadn’t lost their points for entering administration, it would still have been 10!) and the consistency of the team in the winter months was something to be very pleased about. Problem positions – goalkeeping, central defence – have all been dealt with, and if Gary Hooper can produce that sort of form that we saw against Hearts in a meaningless end of season game, in circumstances where it really matters, then we can really go places. Now if only Gary had knocked five past Hearts in the Scottish Cup semi-final…! Which brings me of course to the two major Hampden disappointments of the season. In each case, a late and wrong refereeing decision against us played a vital part – but that is precisely the sort of thing that is going to happen if we are unable to bury teams at an early stage of the game. Yes, I fear that these two games will tarnish this season in our memory in years to come. We also went out of the Europa League – remember that? There was an astonishing lack of anguish and grief when that happened and when Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham Hotspur went out at the same stage, I got the impression that old ‘Arry was actually quite ‘appy! Didn’t you? Celtic were actually knocked out, then allowed back in again before being finally knocked out in the cold months of midwinter. The Thurday night Channel Five trophy, frankly, does not impress me with its silly and inappropriate League structure and it may not have a long-term future. The Champions League is of course a totally different matter, and Celtic must now set their sights on this competition without of course talking our eye off the ball in the Scottish domestic competitions. But to return to the season just ended. Neil Lennon and his team deserve the utmost praise for the way in which they came back from being all those points behind. Much has been made of the game at Kilmarnock in October, but there were other fine games as well. Business- like, professional performances at difficult ground like St Johnstone, Dundee United and Inverness, reliably good home form, that fine penalty save from Fraser Foster against Hearts, that exciting win over the same opponents in February when the Jambos were ripped apart and of course the Joe Ledley header between Xmas and the New Year that put us into the lead. The success was all the more gratifying when one considers that Celtic were obliged to play for large parts of the season without two talented players in Emilio Izaguirre and Beram Kayal. The loss of two players of that calibre woud have floored teams or lesser ability or character, but this side does not lack punch or determination. There were some poor performances at the start of the season – the defeats by Sion, a terrible performance against St Johnstone and perhaps worst of all was a depressing 0-0 draw against Hibs. In each of these games, there was a distinct inability of the midfield to “take a grip of the game”, but after that as the dark days descended in November, the form of the team improved, and there was no looking back. There was some fine players. Fraser Foster will, I hope, be dissuaded from any talk of returning to Newcastle, Adam Matthews is emerging as a world class full back (Emilio Izaguiree already is) and Charlie Mulgrew and Joe Ledley were reliably top class performers. Up front, Jamie Forrest gave a few disturbing tendencies of having reached the limits of his ability – do prove me wrong, Jamies and be far more direct! – Anthony Stokes had a few good days (but also a few bad ones) and much as I want to be carried away with the euphoria of Gary Hooper’s five goals against Hearts, I am still reserving judgement until he does such things in more important games. And there is of course Georgios Samaras – a man who splits the support. I remain a Georgios Samaras fan for he reminds he so much of John “Yogi Bear” Hughes of old – clumsy, inconsistent but, on his day, a world beater. Georgios must endeavour to ensure that his “day” is every day! So a good season was 2011/12 with the two blemishes in the Cup competitions. Those of us who are addicted to bright Hampden days with the sun glinting on silver with green and white ribbons on it were disappointed this season, but the future looks good. Inevitably there will be a few dips into the transfer market. Let’s hope that he have a few reasoned well-thought out buys of stable young men with the right attitude as well as innate football ability. The new men must also know what Celtic means to everyone. This is no ordinary football club!

2 Comments

  1. Graeme
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Something similar for new season would keep the support happy. A taste of the Champions League group stages and the Title staying in Paradise would be brilliant. I agree a Cup victory to finnish off the season in the Hampden in the sunshine would be just perfect (and realistic in my opinion!)

  2. JOE
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    instead of heading up the tunnel after the killie game,the players should have been sent to the fans to apologise.

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