There was certainly laughs to be had yesterday in the south side of Glasgow.
Now I’ve not been Scott Brown’s biggest fan in the past. Yes, he’s fast, and gets “stuck in” as well as the next simplistic Scottish footballer. But too often I feel he’s disappeared in big games and his ball retention, when it’s mattered, has been suspect. No such criticism today. He and my other whipping boy Mark Wilson were excellent.
Celtic started the second half trailing 2-1 and a man down after their goalkeeper’s red card, but you wouldn’t have known this watching the match. Even with a player sent off it was quite evident Celtic had more footballers on the park. Rangers’ Jelavic, Ness and Davies did their best, but the gulf in class between the two groups of players was there for all to see. Celtic kept the ball constantly and despite their numerical disadvantage had possession 67% of the time.
Having picked up a yellow card Rambo Kayal, who’d played typically well, was withdrawn placing a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of Ki Sung-Yueng, Joe Ledley and Scott Brown – all player perhaps with questions marks over their previous contributions in matches like these. Not any more. Every one of the three was brave, worked hard and showed for the ball relentlessly. They were each individual superb and as a group outstanding. Ledley’s wonderful look up and pass for Celtic’s first goal deserves recognition, Brown’s second gets its own paragraph.
Brown’s goal was a pearler; a left-foot strike so fine even the great John Collins would’ve been chuffed with it. In his day JC used to celebrate goals at Ibrox by drifting into the Broomloan front to be mobbed by his own fans. Well, that just wouldn’t be Scott Brown would it? As his delicious curling effort floated passed his Scotland team-mate Allan McGregor, Brown found himself face-to-face with planet earth’s most hated Senegalian – it was a moment to treasure for ever. The pair had clearly been annoying each other throughout the game, here was Brown’s chance to laugh in his opponent’s face. It wasn’t classy or dignified, but it was funny. And anyway, “dignity” is a concept monopolised by David Murray, Chick Young and Walter Smith – let them keep it.
Moments later FC Dignity’s afternoon went from bad to worse as cheating cheat Steven Naismith attempted cheating his way to a penalty only to be red carded for cheating by the excellent referee Calum Murray. At 2-2 with 10v10 one got impression Celtic could’ve finished off the job, but as Georg Samaras drifted into the corner with the ball late on one couldn’t help get the feeling Celtic wanted to play these charlatans again, back on home soil, and give them a proper seeing to.
Roll on the replay. I know who my money will be on.