We are in the pre-Pentecostal time before Jesus came back. If ever I needed convincing that we have been temporarily abandoned, Hamilton versus Celtic was enough to persuade me that we are currently sine deo. “Out for lunch”, says the sign on the Pearly Gates. How could He let this day happen?
Firstly, there’s Hamilton. God love the place, but it isn’t conducive to an enjoyable Sunday afternoon. Its best feature is that you can see the way out from the way in.
Hamilton manager Martin Canning looks like the star of a fairytale where a tractor is turned into a human, only to find that he didn’t fully appreciate life as a tractor. Much like a John Deere, he always manages to get his team out of the sticky mud of relegation trouble. I actually have a theory that they sold one of their stands to the devil in exchange for eternal life as a knife-edge survival club. But that’s no existence for a club, and they should have known that there’s always a catch with a cursed monkey paw.
Hamilton get a hard time of it. People say they have no fans. And they’re right, they have no fans. What? I didn’t say it was undeserved. As a club, Hamilton Academical not only sound like they are named after a Lanarkshire prep school, but their stadium is called the SuperSeal Stadium. Fuck sake.
BT hadn’t even imported their scoreline onto the screen before Dembele was bewilderingly through on goal, ready to initiate the best opening since Citizen Kane. A croaky rendition of ‘Rosebud’ almost spilled from my lips, but I managed to hold back on knocking over my Leigh Griffiths snow globe. In terms of beginnings, it was more vintage Senderos than vintage Welles. Moussa should have done much better with the chance, although the keeper did do well. Excuses on Twitter included “he didn’t have a feel for the ball yet”, and “it was too early to take a chance like that”. I don’t know what those mean either.
It wasn’t long before Celtic made up for the missed opportunity. Callum McGregor – a.k.a the Scottish Philipp Lahm – popped up with a 360-no-scope-consider-urselves-rekt. Is there a more satisfying finish than Calmac’s precision-strikes? Your man could never.
Celtic controlled and looked a threat before Rakish Bingham – the best-named man in Scottish football – took control of a ball over-the-top and, to his credit, made it 1-1 with a very cool finish.
At the beginning of the second half I was in the middle of thinking of a joke about how Scott Sinclair was missing just like Liam Neeson’s daughter in Taken. Thankfully, he delivered an inch-perfect cross to spare us all the serious use of that joke. Leigh Griffiths, fresh from loitering and drinking Relentless at Hamilton Central, slipped away from the beard-baldy guy and scored what would turn out to be the winning goal. The header was simple enough, but Sinclair’s cross was perfection – almost worthy of Strauss soundtracking.
The overall picture of the game was a controlled performance from Celtic. They were largely dominant in possession although they often struggled to break the lines of an opposition intent on playing nine men in and around their own box. This has been the story of Celtic’s season, and injuries haven’t helped the team improve in terms of the fluidity of movement required to break these teams down.
I must say I think I drew a short straw having to write about this game. It finished half an hour ago and I literally can’t remember anything that happened from the 46th minute onward. The only thing that comes to mind is Sinclair’s backwards header, which was a real testament to his hairdresser which, I’m only guessing, was Victor Vezza’s in Shawlands.
Other than that, there was very little to report in what was one of the dullest halves of football I’ve seen this season. I feel like I’ve been at war and the trauma has blocked out my memory, because that’s about all I’ve got.
I just keep thinking about Hamilton.
Surely we’ve destroyed all of their horcruxes by now? They can’t keep saving themselves or exploiting the dark arts to do so. Maybe it’s like Harry Potter, and the last horcrux is inside ourselves? Do we need to part with our own material being before facing our foes for one last time?
There’s a question for a Sunday afternoon.