David Potter’s Reflections: “Leigh Griffiths delivered that special free kick”


Posted By kevingraham

Posted in Articles, Match Reports

Not in all honesty the best game of football that I have ever seen in my life, but that takes us up to 64…and counting. I think we always felt that a winner would only come from a set piece and that it would need something special to do it. Leigh Griffiths delivered that special free kick. It looked to me as if it were going way over the top, but it dipped just at the right time. A fine piece of judgement from a very gifted player.

The truth was that we never really looked as if we were going to break down that very stuffy and determined Ross County defence. Brendan played it cool here, and his post-match interview was fair, probably giving three reasons why we didn’t win by a larger margin.One was that we had just come back from an International week which had taken some players all round the world; another was that Ross County deserved a lot of credit  (I’m sure that Celtic-supporting Owen Coyle will do well with them in future) but the third reason was maybe the most valid, namely that the pitch was distinctly sub-standard with the grass even looking as if it hadn’t been cut properly. This always works against a team like Celtic who can play free-flowing football, and enjoy doing so.

A draw looked like what we were getting for long parts of the game. We certainly should have had a penalty in the first half, and Olivier Ntcham had hard luck near the end, but it was never a game in which it looked as if someone simply had to score. And I think that Celtic deserve a fair amount of credit for grinding out a victory, and for having that extra something which, frankly, wins League titles. Ross County look to me like a top six team, certainly a great deal better than St Johnstone two weeks ago, for example.

So where does this leave us? Our rivals had worse days than we had with Aberdeen in particular being slaughtered on the radio for being so bad. We are now six points ahead – no room for complacency, of course, but it is a good position to be in, but three other competitions now appear. The Paris St Germain game would be a nice one in which to advertise our improvement in the European context, and of course, if we get more out of it than Anderlecht do against Bayern Munich, then we have qualified for the Europa League. But it is not the most important game. That has to be the Scottish League Cup final next Sunday at Hampden against Motherwell. Motherwell won today and won very well, the radio told me, so we must not underestimate them. They will be up for the game, and they are a very good team indeed. So should Brendan wrap a few players in cotton wool and not take them to France? Possibly, but don’t overdo it. We want to look good in Europe as well.

Today was also Scottish Cup day. The draw is on Monday, I believe, with ties to be played on January 20 the first day after the winter shut down. Whether it is Formartine United or Hibs, Peterhead or Aberdeen, we must be prepared for them. There are three Rangers (there might have been four. but Berwick were defeated) in Cove, Brora or Glasgow (yes, yes, I know what you are going to say about them not-existing any more and that we should call them Sevco or something). Cove or Brora would give us problems more problems than the other one, I think, judging what my Hamilton Accies supporting friend told me.

You always feel that the undefeated Scottish record has to go sometime. But need it? If we play professionally and well, we can keep it going yet for a very long time. And it would be particularly awful to lose it in a Cup final.I feel that if we beat Motherwell three games in a row, it would make us look very good indeed for the rest of the season. Let’s just take one game at a time. Hampden next week is the first priority. Green and white on silverware looks good. Go for it, Celtic!

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