This coming August will be my 19th year as a season ticket holder and 18th year in my current seat in the South Stand. It’s a great seat, diagonally across from the Green Brigade so I am able to get some cracking pictures of their displays with the team in the foreground.
I got my 1st season ticket when I was 16 for £105. My seat in section 115 was halfway up the bottom tier and directly behind the goal in the Lisbon Lions Stand. The reason my ticket was so cheap was I didn’t get the Rangers games as I was the 3rd seat in from where their fans started.
By chance I was able to relocate the following season closer to my two uncles who took me to the matches. My first game was the 7-0 gubbing of Jeunesse Esch and my second one was the 6-2 match. I was an instant hit with the new people around me, and I didn’t need my Mum’s tablet!
In my time as a season ticket holder I have seen the great (Martin O’Neill), the good (Gordon Strachan & Neil Lennon) and the downright ugly (John Barnes is just pipped by Tony Mowbray here). Ronny is Ronny, you can’t label him.
It was the kind of game where you end up reminiscing about those that have been and gone, before you start comparing the current manager to his predecessors.
Tonight’s 0-0 draw with Dundee in a half empty stadium, partly due to the Easter holidays & partly due to the wintry weather we’ve had, put me in mind of Ronny’s side. Mostly because the majority of the squad were Deila players but also because we didn’t seem to have a Plan B.
In the press conference after the game, Brendan Rodgers had a more positive take on the game than perhaps most of those in the stand;
“Tonight was a mix of us not having that final bit of quality in the final third to make a breakthrough and also some good defending by Dundee.”
To be fair to Dundee and that wee nyaff McCann, they did defend resolutely but Celtic were either wasteful or sloppy. Especially in the second half there were times when we did get through the Dundee defence that we were wasteful, Sinclair & French Eddy’s chances spring to mind. There were also times when Armstrong and Ntcham’s shooting from outside the box either went straight to the keeper or were in danger of clearing the Jock Stein stand. Still, none of them are as bad a Carlton Cole!
“Like we’ve seen here a lot of times, teams will hang in there if we don’t make that breakthrough.”
Teams have always come to Celtic Park and defended deeply. I remember Jim Leishman’s Dunfermline getting a 0-1 win while playing 5-5-0. For me, that’s part of Celtic’s appeal, to be able to rise above the anti-football the rest of the teams ‘play’ and defeat them anyway.
Tonight’s repetitive passing from side to side also reminded me of Strachan’s side. However, with Gordon you always felt there was a late goal in the team somewhere. Or as a last resort Naka would get us out of a hole with a magnificent piece of skill or free kick. I didn’t sense that tonight.
Oh for a set piece expert!
But Brendan was having the doom and gloom.
“Listen, six games to go, 10 points clear, a clean sheet for us, some good football but it was just that little bit of cutting edge that we suffered in.”
And he’s absolutely correct. There is so much to be happy about as Celtic fans but 6 draws at home in the league and a lack of entertainment is something I hope is addressed in the summer, if not sooner (#freePaddyRoberts).
The rest of Rodgers interview was in praise of Craig Gordon, the only man who had an easier night than Brendan did. The manager’s part of the press conference only lasted lasted 2 mins 34 seconds. There have been Sportscene highlights of Hamilton Accies games longer than this. In that short time there were no questions challenging him on the substitutions made or why he allowed Scott Allan leave on loan when really he’s the number 10 this side is crying out for! It was like the journalists couldn’t wait to get home either.
On Gordon, it was absolutely right that special recognition should be paid to a man who didn’t think he would play again a few years ago. A man so lost and desperate for a way back into the game that he even trained with Rangers! One hundred clean sheets in two hundred matches is an incredible feat and Gordon should be rightly thought of as one of the best goalkeepers we’ve ever had.
But that achievement was slightly overshadowed by yet another mediocre performance from Rodgers’ side. Two more draws, and they’ll equal the points total from Ronny’s last season, it being already certain that they’ll get less points than Deila’s first campaign in charge. Trophies are fantastic and are the highlight of any season. However, it would be nice if those standout memories are peppered with some thrilling displays at home every once in a while.