Socrates MacSporran

Socrates MacSporran
No I am not Chick Young, but I can remember when Scottish football was good

Thursday, 2 November 2017

A Good Performance, But - Celtic Still Lost

TUESDAY NIGHT being a special date for us as a couple, I had to take The Farmer's Daughter out for a romantic meal, so, other than seeing a score flash on-screen as I left the restaurant, I had no idea what was happening at Celtic Park.

Kingsley Coman scores the opening goal on Tuesday night

Apparently, Celtic played well and were unlucky to lose – well, that's the opinion of the stenographers, who are, I suspect, contractually obliged to soft-pedal if Brendan's Boys – the media darlings of the moment in Scotland, lose in Europe. The same stenographers were obliged to go in hard on poor old Pedro by the way – that's the way it is in the Scottish media, where you play by the rules or you don't get to play.

Celtic lost, they will depart the Champions League at the end of the group stages. Of course, they may well, should they, as they are well-placed to do, finish third in the group. Having already beaten Anderlecht in Belgium, there is no reason why they should not win again in front of a packed out Parkhead to clinch the consolation prize of a place in the last 32 of the Europa League.

Mind you, assuming they get there, some very good clubs will also accompany Celtic into that second-tier competition. Advancing to the sharp end will not be easy.

Some might think I am being hard on Celtic by writing this – others, from the Celtic Family, will doubtless claim: “Ach! Socrates is a Hun”. No, when it comes to any Scottish club in Europe, I am a fan – I want Scottish clubs in there competing at the sharp end.

But, I do not see why anyone at Celtic should be happy to have the Bayern fans and the German media praising the fantastic atmosphere at Celtic Park; why we should accept a pat on the head and “hard luck.”

The late Kevin Cadle, a winner who never believed in hard luck for coming second

There is an obituary in The Herald today, on former Scotland basketball coach Kevin Cadle. KC was a winner, his motto was never accept good over best. He once ripped into his Team Solripe for being happy with a single-digits loss to the then all-conquering MIM.

I kind of get the impression, Brendan Rodgers is a bit like that. I doubt if he is telling his Celtic team: “Well done, in holding Bayern to only one goal.”
Let's get back to winning in Scotland, and, if we can win with style, all the better.

KILMARNOCK, far less Rome, was not built in a day, so, for all the high expectations we locals have of new Kilmarnock boss Stevie Clarke, I fear we might have to suck-up a few downers, such as Tuesday night's 3-0 loss to Hibs, before the club is back where we want it to be – Top Six.

Those fans posting on facebook this morning were remarkably upbeat about the game, several making the point about how well the team played, and how unfortunate they were around the box.

Killie fans have always been notoriously unforgiving, perhaps worn down by constant unfulfilled promises from upstairs at the club – hence 'Paper Roses' as the club theme song. Nice to see the new boss not being immediately castigated after a heavy home loss.

WHAT a smashing bit of business that was by Brendan Rodgers – getting Kieran Tierney onto a six-year contract.

Kieran Tierney playing for Scotland, getting him on a long-term deal was great work

Young Kieran is, even now, one of the hottest properties in European football – a 20-year-old, already a fixture in his national side, with lots of Champions League and Europa League experience; great going forward, able to provide crosses, or go on himself and score. Such a talent will be on the watch list of all the big European clubs, yes, even the big Spanish and Italian ones.

By putting him on such a lengthy contract, Celtic are sending-out a message – yes, he's for sale, but, he will cost you dear. A win-win situation for player and club.

Celtic will know how much he is worth, and they will also know, that valuation can still go up, and, they can afford to hold-out for the right offer. A second win-win.

MY COLLEAGUE here in the Sports Philosophy department at the University of East Ayrshire – Aristotle Armstrong, Scottish Rugby Philosopher - was allowing his over-vivid imagination to run riot today.

The old fool noticed that new Scotland boss Malky Mackay has decided, while he's in the hot seat, the Scottish football team will, like the national rugby team, prepare for games at the new Oriam High Performance Centre, on the Heriot-Watt University Campus in Currie. This means, this coming week, for at least a couple of days, both national squads will be in-residence at the same time.

Now, moving to Edinburgh might not go down too-well with some of the Lap Top Loyal, who tend to feel lost when they go east of Harthill, but, as old Aristotle suggests, maybe a discarded relic of the more-innocent days of Scottish football can be revived.

There used to be, up until I think, the early 1970s, an annual fun match at Hampden Park – Queen's Park v Rugby Rovers. The Rovers were a team of rugby players with a feel for football, and, over the years, one or two Scotland caps participated in these games.

The rules were, it began as normal football, but, the first time the ball went out of play after one hour, a rugby ball was thrown on and, anything went. Cue chaos.

Why not a wee fun game this week? Mind you, I can see Scott Brown having to amend his normal tackling mode when taking-on Finn Russell in midfield. In fact, I could even see Stuart Hogg being transferred to the football team to play the Dutch. While, with Jonny Gray and Tim Swinson in central defence, we could maybe defend corners and crosses.

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