Bits and bobs

Greg Taylor, wearting much of the pitch, during Celtic’s 1-0 win at St. Johnstone.

A lot has been said about the game on Sunday at McDiarmid Park — or maybe it should be referred to as McDiarmid Bog from here on in — where Celtic eked out a 1-0 win thanks to a goal by either Chritsopher Jullien or Ryan Christie sealed the game well after 80 minutes. In fact, it deserves special mention that the club overcame the elements AND Bobby Madden to advance to the semifinals of the Scottish Cup.

But others have talked about that, so we won’t go into it here. But I will point your attention to the celebrated Sandman of Celtic Noise fame, who has published his ratings on the St. Johnstone game here, which — say it with me — are worth a read.

Instead, I think it would only be fair to share a few observations over the last week or so while we prepare for the Tony Macaroni Gang . . . I mean Livingston, on Wednesday.

Cameron Harper: Burger aficionado

A little known, nearly under-the-radar announcement on Twitter last week revealed that Celtic reserve and California dude Cameron Harper signed a shoe deal with Nike recently.

But that’s not all. In addition, Celtic TV featured an interview with Harper during halftime of the St. Johnstone game, which is now available to Celtic TV subcribers on their page (EDIT: Celtic TV, in their infinite wisdom, put the interview on YouTube here).

Harper’s polite manner and California cool came across well in the interview, and the highlight — at least for me — was when he was asked about his favourite food. His answer, at least for us Californians, is clearly a no-brainer.

Hamburger heaven: The In-n-Out Burger sign at the La Mirada franchise in Southern California.

In-N-Out Burger. For those of you who have the misfortune not to live near one of these burger joints, they make fantastic burgers and fries — an animal-style double and fries (a 3X if I am hungry), along with a root beer float, hits the spot for me — and the Southern California phenomenon has reached northward to San Jose and San Francisco, and beyond. So thankfully, Cameron, we’re covered up here with what was once a purely Southern California phenomenon.

Now if only there was a way to get an In-N-Out franchise located in Glasgow . . .

The Ghirls are all right

While the bhoys were slogging around McDiarmid Park on Sunday, the Celtic FC Women battled windy conditions to take a 4-1 win over Spartans FC in Edinburgh and assuring their spot in the quarterfinals of the Scottish Woman Premier League Cup.

American Summer Green started the scoring after taking a pass from Natalie Ross at the 40-minute mark. Sarah Ewens, Kathleen McGovern and Josephine Giard also scored for the Ghirls in Green.  

The victory put the Celtic FC Women atop Group A heading into the cup playoff. A full report can be found here.

Come on, you ghirls in green!

A few years ago, Leigh Griffiths tied a scarf around an Ibrox goalpost after a Celtic victory there.

The power of the scarf

The story goes that Leigh Griffiths, after a win against Glasgow’s other club on their home ground a few years ago, tied a Celtic scarf around a goalpost at Ibrox. Popular or not — and apparently the football authorities were not pleased with Griffiths at the time — the subtext here is that the scarf is more than just a clothing accessory.

It’s a symbol.

It marks the fact that you belong to something greater than yourself. That first scarf is your pledge of allegiance. The scarf, and the symbol it represents, associates one with their club — and our scarf associates us with the greatest club in the world, a club like no other — and it almost becomes part of you over time; the older the scarf, the more cherished it becomes.

Much was made of a lad chucking his scarf onto the field after the disappointing Copenhagen result last week, and rightfully so, as outlined in this article in The Celtic Star. In addition, you also might want to watch this video, released around Christmastime, capturing the essence of the scarf.

Honor the scarf.

The comic gift that keeps on giving

Generally speaking, I have a rule — a rule that I’m going to bend here — about writing about other clubs on this blog (unless, of course, it relates to Celtic, however directly or indirectly), especially the other Glasgow club in the Premier League.

However, the continuous slapstick which seems to be part and parcel of their very existence since their formation in 2012 is sometimes impossible to deflect or avoid.

And let me be clear: I abhor rumour-mongering — its comic value aside in this case, I don’t think any of this is true, as funny as it might be — but it’s too good to pass up.

Remember the hubbub about someone tampering with brakes under Alfredo Morelos’ Lamborghini, where that paper-thin tamperer turned out to be, most likely, a private investigator trying to put a tracking device on the car at the behest of the pregnant Señora Morelos, who suspected her husband was straying from their bed?

Well, there’s possibly a twist in this sordid tale, according to more than one source, true or not. But as the “story” goes, the PI was not hired by Señora Morelos, but by none other than Ryan Kent, who suspected the striker — in more ways than one, maybe? — was seeing either Kent’s girlfriend or ex-girlfriend, depending on the “story” you’re following.

The amusement never ends with that bunch.

And now, on to Wednesday’s game. Mon the Hoops!

’67 in the Heat of Felton appears on a regular Tuesday/Thursday schedule, often with game observations following Celtic matches.

Focus, focus, focus

Taking a look at all that’s going on in Scottish football over the last couple of weeks, it appears that distractions are rearing their ugly heads and overwhelming the general public in general, and football fans in particular, in tsunami-sized waves of falsehoods.

To recap:

Celtic fans tried to kill Alfredo Morelos. No wait, that paper-thin perpetrator under Fredo’s Lamborghini is actually a private investigator hired by Morelos’ pregnant wife to place a tracker on his car to keep tabs on him.

So, let’s deflect.

Sky Sports — let’s turn on the Sarcasmatron and see what it calls them . . . it says “a paragon of sport journalism” — produces an interview with a player who can’t understand English, yet he claims there’s racist abuse directed toward him at Celtic Park. But wait: Those subtitles aren’t exactly a match to what he’s saying. In fact, they’re arguably not even close.

The total weight of this disingenuous behaviour could stun a team of oxen.

Thank God for Michael Stewart, who has both the gravitas and the courage to tell the truth, taking to heart the Latin phrase, Fiat justitia ruat caelum — let justice prevail though the heavens fall. To his immense credit, Stewart is doing what journalists should be doing everywhere, but sadly aren’t; especially in Scotland, apparently.

As a former journalist, I can go on for days here regarding how important Stewart’s statements are and the heroic nature of the stand he is taking, just by merely highlighting the truth. But I will spare you.

You’re welcome.

The Dynamic Duo: Leigh Griffiths hugs Odsonne Edouard after Edouard’s opening goal at the 9-minute mark at Fir Park. Celtic went on to beat Motherwell 4-0.

But speaking of the Motherwell game . . .

All distractions aside, what I did want to write about today was yesterday’s game at Fir Park, where Celtic got off to its usual meticulous start in the first half, going into the locker room with a meager 1-0 lead, and came out of the gate in the second half like gangbusters, ending the game with a 4-0 score, and a wider goal differential in its seven-point lead in the table.

Rather than do the usual “five takeaways,” I am going to make this brief, sort of.

During the transfer window, we had a flurry of greeters bemoaning the fact that we need [fill-in-the-position-of-your-choice-here] or we are doomed to extinction. This while ignoring that there really was only one blemish on the season so far, on Dec. 29. One misstep that has seen us atop the league virtually all season and accomplishing one of three steps toward the Quadruple Treble so far.

So I am going to assume they will go contentedly silent now. Maybe.

It’s not only the obvious things that set us apart atop the rest of the league, like the tandem of Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths — twin strikers from separate mothers — working like a well-oiled machine at the front, or how the crowd in the 3-5-2 midfield is seemingly flawless in their ball-handling, moving the ball efficiently up the field. It’s not only Fraser Forster rejecting everything that comes remotely near him in goal.

It’s also in the little things, too: Patryk Klimala and Stephen Welsh both showing promise; the former showing speed and skill in two brief stints at the end of the last two games, and the latter having a good game in his debut. Tom Rogic and Jozo Simunovic getting back up to speed; especially the latter, who has put together back-to-back adequate games as a starter. And then, to add to the returning wounded, Ryan Christie showing some flash in the Motherwell game, starting the Christie to James Forrest to Callum McGregor goal in the second half.

But wait, there’s more. Mohammed Elyounoussi is training and will be back soon, followed by Hatem Elhamed and Jeremie Frimpong. Once we’re back to full strength, we should be unstoppable.

Most importantly, what someone needs to do, or should have done, immediately after the final whistle at Fir Park was to wake up Peter Lawwell and have him sign Forster immediately after the game. For life. Right now. As great as our backups are — and both Scott Bain and Craig Gordon are top-notch, even though we haven’t seen them all season — neither one of them is making these same saves. The Wall is in his own class, in his own league, in his own universe.

Forster needs to be Celtic for life.

The same applies to Edouard as well. Though he’s under contract until the end of the 2021/22 season, he needs to be kept around at all costs. Chris Sutton is absolutely right when he says Edouard is “the closest thing to (Henrik) Larsson I’ve seen in a Celtic jersey.” If anyone on the planet can speak with authority on this topic, it is Sutton.

One more thing

Kristoffer Ajer and Christopher Jullien might be getting slagged a bit on their defensive lapses in the Motherwell game, and there is no argument there — Ajer’s missed tackle could have sullied the clean sheet that Celtic came away with had Motherwell scored. But they didn’t. And to their credit, Kris and Chris are always in communication, and you can see them discussing play during the celebration of Edouard’s first goal.

Additionally, Motherhell — sorry, Motherwell — clearly have worked hard on consistently being a team of hammer-throwing Steelmen; no secret there. They also happen to be third in the Scottish Premiership table, which makes them first-of-the-also-rans behind Celtic and Glasgow’s other club. They’re third in the table for a reason, and on Wednesday, taking advantage of Celtic’s defensive lapses is probably the main reason why they lead the rest of the pack.

Now, for the rest of the season, let’s focus.

Focus on our positives far, far outweighing our negatives, because they do. Neil Lennon has been nothing short of masterful in handling suitable lineups in the face of multiple injuries. Focus on the two prizes needed to complete the next treble; one cup down, one cup and the league championship to go. Focus on the fact that, despite all these infantile shenanigans going on in Scottish football drawing away everyone’s attention (and we’re not even going close to the disciplinary garbage the SFA is pulling), Celtic is playing its best football in quite some time and, barring any disasters, we should prevail.

Focus, focus, focus.

Interview: The Celtic Star/Celtic Noise’s Sandman

Let’s take a page from Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” . . .

Submitted for your approval: During each Celtic game, Celtic fans on The Celtic Noise forum banter on about the game – good, bad or indifferent – and once the 90 minutes are up, the forum goes silent as they wait.

Like actors and directors of Broadway plays impatiently waiting for reviews on the evening of the premiere, the Celtic fans remain on tenterhooks while the ratings of the forum’s literary lion – the Sandman – are put together and posted shortly after each game.

While on the break with no games to rate, and with another transfer window wide open, Sandman – the one person who has made us all look at Olivier Ntcham and see Samuel L. Jackson – agreed to a Q-and-A session with this blogger.

So get ready to enter The Sandman Zone.

Larry Cafiero: I know you value your anonymity, obviously, and very little is known about you, other than in some of your ratings you have touched upon some legendary debauchery, for which I salute you. However, is there any biographical information you’d like to share with the Celtic Noise and Celtic Star readers?

Sandman: Hmm … Fan, family man, philanderer, libertarian, prestigious wideboy, fortune-hunting misfortunate fool, boss, owner, player, player, dole-bhoy, jungle-bhoy, wealthy, skint, creative nihilist, alter-egoed egotist, ambitious hermit, gregarious party animal … There’s been a number of parts played, reinventions, and landmarks laid … Above all, I reckon I seek peace and abundance, still out of reach as I crash along a rocky road, potholed with haphazard fatalistic events dictated by chaos. At every turn, spike, low or loss, there’s been Celtic, and often baseball – me and Sam Malone and the Sox….

Still, my wife once looked like Yenneffer the sorceress – those were the days, give me back a a decade and a half or so … And my kids are smart and healthy, and I still got my wits, ocassionally; gold is not all that glitters.

LC: I am also going to assume you have been a Celtic fan all your life, and we will be talking about that next. But I wanted to ask you something I had heard in conversation with some of the regulars on The Celtic Noise early on when I first came on last winter: That you are a professional journalist who writes under the Sandman nom-de-plume to write what you want, as opposed to writing what you have to. Any truth to this rumour?

S: Nope. None. I’m better than those “professional journalists” in the SMSM. Lazy hacks. I occurred because of their limp prose and tired rhetoric. And I been beyond them, did the time, out in the back o’ beyond brothers – once in the days before the interweb there was a screenwriting UCLA corresponcence course, scripts and a couple of novels that sooo nearly made it, pipped at the post, long story, found my way back in time to stay sane. -ish…

LC: Let’s talk about Celtic. Though you’ve been on the Noise since February 2018, I am going to assume that you’ve been a lifelong Celtic fan. Do you have a favourite Celtic moment in the club’s history?

S: May 9, 1998. The Hun ten, stopped dead by an unlikely rabble of journeymen in Hoops led by an affable mop-heided Dutchman, gilded by the greatest of all dreadlocked predators.

Three things about that day – one, a guy with an open bottle of champagne on the walk to the ground, chastised by some as possibly jinxing it, let me have a swig and it was like imbibing some infectious joy; either that or he had herpes, but in the moment, who cared?

Two, the sun broke through the light cloud covering as I passed the roundabout at the retail park, just about to angle down what was an unkempt bit of ground at the time towards the Stein end. I remember the feeling of warmth, calm, reassurance it was all going to work out okay; we had to win, had to. We were going to. An epiphanic moment.

Third, the Larsson. When he took the ball inside in that 3rd minute i was on my feet and the flashing thought was for him just to hit it, what the fuck else had we to lose? So I bellowed it, like thousands of others, no doubt, and he did, and it zipped into the net and the stadium exploded. and the fucking universe was on its way to being righted for the first time in a decade.

Nothing has, or will, beat that perfect day. My ex-girlfriend who was with me at the game, on the pitch after it all, too – she knew the significance of that Larsson moment; when our time together was drawing to a close and temperatures were high with ire, she would be reminded of the event, that mhan, his deeds of wonder – “No woman will ever make me feel like he can… So on yer way.”

LC: What are some of the high- and low-points of your life as a Celtic supporter?

S: High, as above, along with other notable victories, the Celts For Change revolution and the coming of the messianic McCann in 1994 – such relief and victorious exhaltation at the club pulled back from the brink of extinction. That was a period when things went beyond mere sport – it was a triumph over the dark arts of Scottish societal institutions, whose members, in their forelock-tugging pomp infest the machinery of civil justice, and had us under the heel of their royal blue jackboots for some time; so long, in fact, they may have just gotten too cocksure and loosened the pressure enough for us to raise one last stand. Those were the dark times, the ultimate lows, but they underestimated the rebels with a cause and the schadenfreude has been joyous ever since.

Physical low – herded in a treacle crush out of Falkirk’s Brockville primordal swamp early nineties after we lost and the local drooling, pig-humping Huns-without-the-haycart turnip fee were chucking bricks at us. Bricks from their own crumbling neolithic hut of a ground. Lucky nobody died that day.

You, Larry, will have realised with your interest in Celtic, that Scottish society is not all Hollywood good cheer, whisky and nobility. Never exemplified better than through the medium of soccer; then again, perhaps the Hollywood allegory is true – it’s been like Star Wars, the rebels v the evil empire.

LC: As for the ratings after each game, how did the idea for a game-by-game report come about?

S: The banality of those hired hacks. Cut and paste monotony. Surely liven it up for yourself at least … The often plain incredulity at fellow fans opinions; players berated, blame attributed, the story of their game not a truth as I saw it … so write up my own take and post it on a blog. But not in tired convention; develop something to read with a cup of coffee, something I might enjoy glancing through myself; but of course that meant gloves off, language expressive.

Rules- never mock the afflicted or anbody with a condition outwith their control, but as for belief-systems, ideologies, pretentions, delicate sensibilities (hello CQN!) – fuck off. Funny is funny, language an effective tool of the imagination, apologies not a consideration. I basically write them to amuse myself; if others like it, great, if not, scroll on.

LC: You clearly have a knack for unique names for our players and gaffer – how did you come up with those?

S: Fun. Often poor interpretation of their correct names – sorry, Pingpong – sometimes organically evolving from some other bit of insanity: “French Eddy” is mine. Mine ; it always draws a smile when I hear some fan use the nickname on camera – I concocted that when half-cut and I couldn’t remember the correct spelling because he was still relatively on the fringes so I had it down as “French Eddy” and attributed it to Griff calling him that because he was “French and sounds like Eddy,” as Griff couldn’t pronounce it. Sorry to Griff, too, though I might have been closer to the truth than I imagined …

Does the Muthufucka needs an explanation? I was in the pub surrounded by bewildered cohorts the day that one popped into my head – couldn’t believe I was the only one who saw Samuel L. Jackson in a Celtic shirt. Thankfully, once I’d segued that one into the Sandman ratings I found out I was not alone …

As for “Lennony” – well, “Lenny” is too pally for criticism, and “Lennon” – bizarrely – became a sneering term of contempt used by the rather dry type of supporter who deemed from rumours of his return that he was not “their” sort of Celtic manager; cursed before he set foot in Paradise again. Green Huns, you know, they exist in the penumbra of gloryhunting’s blaze …

Sad to see Sonic The Hedgehog go, however. Still, there will be new entrants to mangle.

LC: If you could, please, take us through the process of watching the game, making the ratings, and presenting them in such a prompt manner after the game.

S: Start neutral, dismiss selection bias until I see what the chosen bhoys have to offer, have expectations but account for variables – luck, treatment, involvement, teamwork, mental toughness – the basics of assessing any pro player’s game.

Throw in whatever insane humourous or otherwise lucid connections, often lurid, conjoured along the way, noting it all down in lulls on my phone or keeping it in my heid – easier if it raises a smile. Can be laying it out at half-time, summarising mentally before the final whistle, tapping it into my phone or PC soon as I can while the event is still fresh – find it more honest to get it all down with emotion involved; plenty of time for discourse in days after a big event, I like to have the sense of immediacy in the ratings, even if I call them wrong or harsh: example – gave Jamesy a 0 v the huns; unusual but far as I saw he was treading water and neglecting his responsibilities in a huge game; Honest reaction, though – important or there’s no point.

Problems occur if there’s beer involved and a pub pass on offer after-match. Shit got serious once I agreed to put them on The Celtic Star after every game; you get people asking for them, the pressure mounts …

LC: We have another transfer window coming up. We had a good transfer window last time, but how do you feel this one will go? Do you think, as some suggest, it might be better to sign players we already have on loan, like Elshagyonlassie – sorry, Elyounoussi – or Forster, or should we look for new talent?

S: The Wall, yes, he’s been a revelation. If we can muster the millions Southampton may suddenly realise they want, and satisfy his wage demands. New talent is a summer project thing. By all means snap up what’s available but we need to nail a couple of Ready Player Ones – proven talent that can fit in and drive us to the NINE.

LC: So the outlook for the rest of the season: Are we on course for 9 in a row, and/or a quadruple treble?

S: When we go again, we go to the finish and the Hun will not slacken off; one thing Slippy G has changed is their mental toughness; we need to be right at it and give them a real shafting to get some self-doubt into their thick Zombie skulls. Our players have shown they thrive on pressure like this. They have been 90% at it since July but have sold themselves short at vital times – something they have gotten away with in previous seasons. Now they’ll know that is no longer a hedge; bets are on and nobody’s cashing out.

If they are deserving champions, nine in a row winners, quadrophenia treble legends, then they’ll do it. If not, they’ll have blown a once-in-a-lifetime chance for immortality among thousands, millions maybe, worldwide, for generations to come. If that is not a motivating factor in a young man’s life, then they’re in the wrong business.

I expect them to do it. The NINE at least. I’ll be disappointed and surprised if they fail, because they have shown they possess the talent and class to overcome the Hun stoicism and the inevitable witchcraft that attends implementation of the game in Scotland ; whether they can combine and apply it every game for the next twenty or so will be the defining conundrum of their careers and our Celtic-supporting existences.

LC: Anything else you’d like to add for the readers on both The Celtic Noise and The Celtic Star?

S: Yeah, the site and forums are good, pretty vibrant; keep using and recommending them. Also, drink more Stella, eat more greens, and may the force be with you. Always.

Sandman, back on it. Soon.

Oh, Hampden in the Rain…

Celtic goalkeeper and demigod Fraser Forster and gaffer Neil Lennon hoist the Betfred Scottish League Cup as champions of the Scottish League after Celtic defeated The Rangers 1-0 at Hampden.

There I was, laying in bed on Sunday morning looking up at the red 3:45 on the alarm clock. The internal alarm clock always says, “Get up, it’s game day” at this time, despite the fact that 5,000 miles away, the game is starting in another four hours.

I turn, lie awake and then try closing my eyes, begging my system for a few extra hours of sleep. No such luck, it’s game day.

So, I’m up. Today’s game is like no other this season — the Scottish League Cup, which now as a first name, Betfred, thanks to sponsorship– being played between the club like no other versus the club that really shouldn’t even exist.

Shower, suit up, coffee, and let’s put on the F.C. St Pauli game before sunrise to pass the time (sadly, they lost, and generally they’re having a pretty mediocre season so far). Breakfast? No. Too nervous to eat. Coffee, black, will have to do for now.

By my count, the game was 96 minutes and 47 seconds of abject terror and unmitigated aggravation until the final whistle. You’ve all read the game reports by now, no doubt, and naturally here’s The Sandman’s ratings for the game which, as always, are worth a read. But as usual, I have five takeaways from the Betfred Scottish League Cup final, which Celtic won 1-0 over The Rangers as follows:

1. Sign Fraser Forster right now

Oh. My. God. If anyone deserves a statue right now, it’s Fraser Forster. It could be simple: Not a statue of the man, arms aloft, awaiting a corner, but just a brick wall in front of a goal mouth. Simple and quick. His play today was the stuff of which legends are made. That said, like signing Neil Lennon the day after the Treble Treble, Peter Lawwell needs to open the tin and get Fraser Forster signed as a Celt right now. I don’t care if it is past 11 p.m. in Scotland as I write this, wake them both up, offer The Wall a king’s ransom, and keep him in the Hoops. The icing on the cake in Sunday’s game, or the jelly with the ice cream, was Forster’s fantastic save on El Muffalo’s non-penalty penalty. Poetic justice and karma came together and were wrapped with a nice bow.

If Lawwell balks, let’s start a GoFundMe to raise money to sign Forster. I will even put my car up for sale and donate the money. I would gladly use public transit exclusively if it meant keeping the kind of goalkeeping that Forster provides game in and game out for Celtic.

2. Jullien utilise son pied, pas sa tête

Irony. It’s when Christopher Jullien spends much of his time using his height advantage to try to score headers game after game after game this season, only to hit the back of the net Sunday with a flick of his right foot for the only goal in the game. And it was a beauty. What adds to it is the wailing and gnashing of teeth by The Rangers complaining that he was offside through their tears. He wasn’t. You see, cheating only works one way, The Rangers way, and this, my friends, is a perfect example of karma.

3. Morelos so wants to be Edouard

First thing first: A shout-out to Jeremie Frimpong, who was one of the bright spots for Celtic for the better part of 60 minutes or so, until the referee had nothing better to do than red-card him. In fact, there’s one video of Jeremie mixing it up with Alfredo Morelos, and the lad is not backing down. Pure Celtic, that Jeremie.

But wait, look at that video again. What’s that on Morelos’ hand? Does he have his hand taped up like . . . hmm, which other striker in Scotland has a hand injury and has his hand taped up? Poor Alfredo, so far from God and so close to Celtic, against whom he has yet to score, even when the referees try to help.

4. Some quick math

A quick one for our friends who are mathematically inclined:

10 Celts > 11 Rangers

Class dismissed.

5. Meanwhile, in the Lustig household …

Before the game, there was a nice post from Josefin Lustig on Twitter about how she and her husband, KAA Gent defender and former Celtic policeman Mikael Lustig, were going to enjoy a day off together and watch the game. Of course, when El Muffalo missed his penalty shot, this was the scene in the Lustig household, which goes to show that Mikael’s heart is still green and white. I still miss the Mad Viking playing for the Hoops, and I don’t care who knows it.

Last, but not least, this is the top candidate for my Christmas card this year (yes, I know “Seasons” needs an apostrophe, but I can fix that later). Thanks, BT Sports!

We had a bad game today, but we still prevailed. That’s why we’re champions. On to Cluj later this week. Hail Hail, all.

Moment to moment

Brown 90+2 — This speaks volumes.

Breathe.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Whew.

After today’s game with Hamilton Accies, I am going to forgo the usual “five takeaways,” because there is really only one. And while I will always suggest taking a look at The Sandman’s ratings on The Celtic Star, there is really only one thing (well, two actually) to say about today’s game.

Scott Brown: Captain. Leader. Legend. Demigod.

That really says it all.

Well, that and for a minute and 37 seconds, The Rangers™ had thought they had continued to keep pace with Celtic when Hamilton equalized right around the 90-minute mark. That was erased after Brown, off his left foot, scored the go-ahead goal.

The bus ride back from Aberdeen to Glasgow for The Rangers™ fans was probably a very somber one.

I wish to God I had sounded more coherent when the ball hit the net, because all I could do when I jumped out of my chair was just scream, “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Broo0000000000000000000000000ny!” All the while running around the living room, stopping only to do The Broony™ after standing on the coffee table.

But it does makes one think about how special this club is, and how perhaps forces beyond this realm are guiding the club in the right direction. Today’s “intervention” — for lack of a better term — rivals last seasons’s Billy McNeill game against Kilmarnock, where Jozo Simunovic — number 5 — scored in the 67th minute of the game.

Some are calling this a “Scott Brown won the league at Celtic Park” moment, as this article in The Celtic Star outlines, and they are not far off. Realistically, there is a lot more football to be played between now and the end of the season, but if this game is any indication, we are in good hands.

On to Sunday and the Betfred Cup.

15 minutes of fame

Quick, get the net: Me on the balcony wearing what I normally wear during every Celtic game. Photo by my daughter.

Quick note before diving into the five takeaways from the Ross County game: Thanks to the folks at The Celtic Star, yours truly was the “Fan of the Week,” and as such was subject to a brief interview here.

Yes, that’s me. That’s what I look like in my Celtic gear. I’ll just wait for the laughter to die down.

Now on to the Ross County game.

A Takeaway from Aberdeen-Celtic

No truer words were spoken: The hosts at Aberdeen got a high-pressure pumping by the Celts on Sunday, as the Bhoys in Green cruised to a 4-0 victory at Pittodrie.

First things first: My apologies for this late post. Thanks to the power company Pacific Gas & Electric, which had turned off the power in my area “for my safety” on Saturday night (turning it back on again last night), I had to scramble to find a place with power and Internet connectivity on Sunday to watch the Aberdeen-Celtic game.

At 5 a.m.

A shout out to the Satellite Felton workspace, located at the traffic light (Felton only has one, two if you count the one on Graham Hill Road and Mount Hermon — and the former road is named after the actual hill here, not the British Formula 1 driver of the same name), which had both power and connectivity.

Thanks to the modern miracle that is Celtic TV — I am completely serious — I re-watched the game finally this afternoon; the game that I came in late on early Sunday morning. It was as awesome as it was on Sunday morning, but a second look at the game led me to notice something really awe inspiring.

It wasn’t Jeremie Frimpong’s goal, though it was great to see the lad score his first for the Celts, and to see how well the talented young lad is fitting in with the club. He’s definitely a keeper.

It wasn’t the fact that Celtic dominated the game from start to finish. That’s always a welcome sight, no matter who the opponent is. And, of course, thrashing some opponents is better than thrashing others.

But I wanted to go back to the first half, at around the 17-minute mark, where Celtic ended up passing the ball 46 times, by my count, before ending up with a corner. This was not the “death of a thousand passes” that was so loved by the former manager, now at Leicester City. Under the former manager, where 46 passes might — might — have gotten the ball to midfield.

This was pure ball-handling artistry — a game of keep-away that was frustrating Aberdeen — which I hope Celtic will continue during the course of the season. Add to this the 14-pass sequence before James Forrest’s goal — started after a sixth pass was intercepted by an Aberdeen player and his first pass was picked off by Frimpong to start the sequence — and you have a ball-control nirvana that any team would die for.

Also, it was great to see Kris Ajer and Christoper Jullien playing up. Ajer and Scott Brown literally had acres of space to run during the course of the game, and both took advantage of it, while Aberdeen hunkered down in defense in their own side of the pitch.

It’s play like this that make me proud to be a Celtic fan, even if I have to get up before sunrise and, in Sunday’s case, scramble for a place to watch.

Mon the hoops!

Obligatory match report: If you’re not on Celtic Noise talking about all things Celtic, you should be there. Right now. One bonus is the match rundowns from the celebrated Sandman, which are first posted on Celtic Noise, you can find on The Celtic Star here.

Now it’s on to St. Mirren tomorrow at Parkhead. Keep it up, bhoys!