Random thoughts, cheap shots, bon mots

After Saturday’s win at Hamilton — the pitch where one end is painted with fans sitting behind advertising (and, as I understand it, behind that facade is a practice ground) — I thought it would be good to take a moment to just reflect on a few observations at the outset of this season, which incidentally appears to be starting well.

Like . . .

We’ll win the Europa League, according to Christopher Jullien: You’ve got to love the big guy, even when he’s not goofing off with teammate Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo. He’s settled in to a defense that has been stellar in the past few games, and now he makes what can arguably be described as a huge boast.

Can the Bhoys bring home the Europa hardware? “We will take it game by game and see what it is but if you were to go into our locker room now and ask each of them what their goal was they would tell you it is to bring that trophy home – and I’m just following them,” Jullien has been quoted as saying in the mainstream press.

Whether he is serious or if it’s just a ploy to get his teammates psyched up for the game against French Cup holders Stade Rennes on Thursday, it’s good to see a confident mindset as the default mode for the club.

Odsonne Edouard scores yet again.

I Wanna, I Wanna, I Wanna Be Ladbrokes Premiership Player of the Month for August: A tip of the chapeau to Odsonne Edouard and congratulations to the Celtic forward for winning the Labrokes Premiership Player of the Month for his play last month. On top of an outstanding display as a sub for France’s U21 team scoring four goals during the international break, Eddy has been phenomenal for the Hoops in the start of the 2019/20 season.

Edouard’s press conference, posted on YouTube and it helps immensely if you speak French (despite the presence of a translator, who does an excellent job), Eddy says at around the 9:30 mark that he’s happy to be a Celt and he doesn’t foresee going anywhere, contrary to rumors that have been floating around. Which is good, because we’d like to have you around as long as possible, Eddy!

Lights, Camera, Action: Remember photo day at school? Well, the bhoys went through that exercise recently and had their annual team photoshoot. Of course, as shown here, getting the lads all on the same page and not photobombing each other was no small feat. Watch to the end to see a typical Broony move (and I mean that in the best possible way).

Jozo out, Wizard in: Unfortunately, one of my favorite Celts — and expert Kenny Miller launcher — Jozo Simunovic goes in for arthroscopic surgery on his knee, and it looks like he’s out for about two months. But while he’s healing up, on Saturday we saw the return of the Wizard of Oz, Tom Rogic. While Rogic wasn’t a factor in the game on Saturday, it’s great to see him taking to the pitch and I hope we will see more of him. As for Jozo, get well soon, big guy!

‘Hamburg is Brown and White’ as FC St. Pauli wins the Hamburg Derby 2-0 over Hamburger SV.

Meanwhile, in Hamburg: Yesterday, in the Hamburg Derby at the Millerntor between home club FC St. Pauli and Hamburger SV, the Boys in Brown played a phenomenal game and came away with a 2-0 win. Judging by some of the tweets by Celtic fans I follow, the derby there rivals the one in Glasgow. The Diamond — Dimitrios Diamantakos — scored one for the Boys in Brown and an own goal sealed it. Sankt Pauli looked very sharp yesterday, and hopefully they can carry this momentum forward to upcoming games.

Going out on a limb: There seems to be some trepidation about the game on Thursday against Stade Rennes, especially with some on one of my favorite online hangouts, Celtic Noise. Well, I have absolutely nothing to base this on other than faith in the club, but I think we come away from France with a 2-1 win before returning to Paradise to meet the squirrels of Kilmarnock on Saturday.

[69 degrees. Wildfire threat level today in rural Santa Cruz County: Moderate]

A window closes, a door opens

The bewitching hour for the so-called transfer window came and went, and with a flurry of activity — as Cinderella ran from the ball, leaving behind her glass slipper — Celtic roped in a few more players before the window slammed shut, opening the door to 9 and 10 in a row.

Rest easy, Celtic supporters — especially those of you who only functioned in full-panic mode over the last several weeks (and you know who you are).

We did well.

Arguably Celtic had done well over the course of the window prior to the 24 hours before its closing. Though scouting may be an Achilles’ Heel to be remedied (and quickly), the club didn’t panic and, in retrospect, went about its transfer window business in calculating style.

New bhoys on the block — From left to right, top to bottom: Christopher Jullien, Luca Connell, Boli Bolongoli-Mbombo, Hatem Abd Elhamed, Jonathan Afolabi, Fraser Forster, Moritz Bauer, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Greg Taylor, Jeremie Frimpong, and Lee O’Connor.

Early signings Christopher Jullien, Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo, and Hatem Abd Elhamed have fit into the club nicely and have been contributing over the last several games, and it bodes well for latecomers like Moritz Bauer, who was baptized into the Hoops at Ibrox and showed his massive throw-in talent while proving to be Sevco kryptonite against a now out-for-the-season Jordan Jones.

Additionally wearing the Hoops this season are Fraser Forster — returning to Celtic from Southampton and putting in a solid game between the sticks for a clean sheet against Sevco — Luca Connell, Jonathan Afolabi, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Lee O’Connor, Jeremie Frimpong, and former Killie defender Greg Taylor — bet he’s thankful he doesn’t have to play half his games this season on the rug at Rugby Park any longer — bringing his Scottish League experience to the Celtic backfield.

What’s also notable about this transfer window is seeing who stayed, most notably Olivier Ntcham. At one point, Ntcham seemed to be on the way out, but for now he may be putting on a showcase for potential clubs in the event he wants to move on. I sincerely hope he doesn’t, but if that’s his wish and he wants to play top-notch football to attract suitors, who am I to stop him?

And that glass slipper left at the ball? We’ll have to see whether it fits a championship-caliber player when the next window opens. As of now, after a great start to the season, Celtic looks like it’s in great shape for the season.

[69 degrees. Wildfire threat level today in rural Santa Cruz County: Moderate]