David Potter’s Reflections: “I’ve had more comfortable and relaxing meals than my tea tonight”

22
Aug
2017

Posted By kevingraham

Posted in Articles, Match Reports

Well, I’ve had more comfortable and relaxing meals than my tea tonight, but  it all worked out well in the end, even though we thought we were going to throw it all away at one point. The lesson must be that you never switch off in Europe. Concentration is of the essence, and there is no such thing as an easy tie in the Champions League… but we all knew that, anyway! Why, then, did it happen?

The first goal was sheer bad luck, and I would not criticise Ajer for that one. Credit should be given to Astana for the second goal which was niftily taken, but the third and fourth goals were simply deplorable from a Celtic point of view. The man had acres of space for the third, and the fourth was a dreadful goal to lose for any team who ever saw Tommy Rogic’s goal in the Scottish Cup final, or indeed the similar goal at Celtic Park last week. Close him down, keep goal side! It should not happen! A few other chances came Astana’s way as well, and things could have gone a lot worse. Why can we never relax when Celtic are playing in Europe?

But the good points are that we did regain control with Ntcham and Brown being particularly impressive. We also took three good goals – and credit to Sinclair, Ntcham and Griffiths, and we could have scored more. Griffiths might have done better in the first minute and he certainly should have done a great deal better immediately before Astana scored their third. That was a dreadful miss, Leigh! (But you know that anyway, don’t you?)

Lustig has had better games, I felt, but the midfield was never totally over run, and I would like to think that if things really got bad at the end, they might have conjured up a goal at the other end. The first half was reasonably comfortable, I thought, and at half time, there seemed to be no real problem. But, as they always say, one brings two and two brings three, but fortunately three did not bring four. But, nothing, absolutely nothing can be taken for granted in Europe. Let’s hope we wise up to this in future, and listening to Brendan’s interview at the end, I think he will. We could certainly do with Simunovich and Boyata back soon. Maybe this new guy will be good as well. And did I hear something about Patrick Roberts?

The TV coverage was not very good with the action suddenly appearing in a different part of the field without much warning, and a particularly annoying tendency to put up captions of irrelevant rubbish in front of the action! But the pundits were good and supportive – a bit of a shock in these racially sensitive times to hear someone being called “Darke” but he commentated well, and Chris Sutton and Jackie McNamara were incisive as always, with even Gary Lineker not being too annoying. Chris Sutton is so much more personable and pleasant when he is not sniping at Stephen Craigen, admittedly a very annoying man who talks as if someone has just stuck a red hot poker up his bottom.

But Celtic have made it, and are back among the elite. Some great nights beckon, and let’s hope we can learn from last night and not make the elementary errors that almost gave Astana an unbelievable win.

And yet am I not being too hard on the team? We have won 8-4 over what seems like a very good side with a particular star in that Twumasi chap. They were a civilised lot as well, and their supporters seemed to be pleasant and decent. Good luck to them in the Europa League. And the referee also had a good game, I thought.

Let’s relax, rejoice, learn lessons and await the draw on Thursday. There is also, of course, St Johnstone on Saturday, a team who have given us a disproportionate amount of bother over the years.

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