David Potters Reflections:”the game was a good one”

28
Aug
2017

Posted By kevingraham

Posted in Articles, Match Reports

The end result may have been a trifle disappointing, but the game was a good one played in front of a virtually full Celtic Park in good weather with the team well supported throughout. St Johnstone, as we knew anyway, were no mugs and they departed satisfied with their point. Whether they deserved it or not is a moot point.

Celtic certainly deserved all three from their second half performance alone with Scott Sinclair looking as if he were enjoying himself and running AT the goal rather than across it, as several others were prone to do. It was a good goal well taken by Callum McGregor, we hit the bar twice, a reasonable penalty shout was turned down, and I lost count of the amount of times that the St Johnstone goalkeeper beat the ball down with no-one close enough to finish the job. It was hard luck, Celtic, at least in that respect.

Credit also must be given to Brendan Rodgers for making the correct substitutions at half time. I have always been reluctant to join the “We hate James Forrest” brigade, but even his most devoted of admirers has to admit that James did himself few favours in the first half. Olivier Ntcham was also sadly anonymous. He may have been tired after midweek. In which case, welcome to the SPFL, Olivier and brace yourself for a lot more of this. Once again, though, I feel that Celtic have yet to see the best of Jonny Hayes. Profoundly talented for Aberdeen any time we ever played them, but then again Celtic Park and Pittodrie are two entirely different places. Where is the conviction and the confidence that he used to show for the Dons?

There were two villains of the piece today. One was Craig Gordon. It is a matter of some amazement to me that a man who has played in goal at a high level for as long as he has – well over a decade – and who has performed well for Hearts, Celtic and even Scotland, earning deserved plaudits from everyone, cannot be relied upon to kick a ball up the field and get it over the half way line. Whether or not that St Johnstone fellow was offside is really beside the point. It was, frankly, a shocker of a kick out! We have pleaded with him for years to work on this aspect of his game, and it is one of his very few weaknesses. As a shot stopper, he has few equals.

The other villain was of course our old friend Willie Collum. Eccentric as always, he made a bad mistake in failing to brandish a red card to the assailant of Kieran Tierney, and quite a few of his other calls were wrong as well. At least one penalty was denied to Celtic, but you could not say that he was anti-Celtic – there was once in the second half on the stand side of the field when the ball was clearly out of play by several inches, but he seems to be one of these referees who enjoys being the star of the show, and there are few things better for his ego than having everyone shout at him!

The game was never dirty – in fact there was quite a lot of good sportsmanship in returning the ball, for example – and some of the yellow cards were totally unnecessary. The Celtic crowd deserve the utmost commendation for their prolonged applause when the luckless St Johnstone fellow was stretchered off with what looked like a very serious injury. Well done, bhoys and ghirls, that is the sort of thing that makes us different from anyone else!

The result was slightly disappointing, but all in all, it hasn’t been a bad old week. The fact that we are behind in the League race with only 34 games left to be played, is an early reminder that we are not already past the post, as so many of the media have been telling us. If we want seven in a row, we will have to work for it! St Johnstone will give Rangers and Aberdeen some bother, I have no doubt, and will finish in the top six.

And now we have the International fortnight. Forgive me if I stifle a yawn or two. I would love to see Scotland do well and qualify, but…New Douglas Park a week come Friday is more important.

David Potter

One Comment

  1. Posted August 28, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Whilst I agree with most of your commments surely the incident you mention regarding the ball being a good few inches out should be laid at the door of the linesman who was, if memory serves me well, just a few yards away on the line looking at it !

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