With 52 minutes gone in the recent game against Rangers at Celtic Park, Artur signalled to the Celtic bench that he would need to go off. The circular rolling motion of the fingers telling them and those who witnessed it, that he’d picked up an injury and would not be able to continue. The coaching staff alerted Lukas Zaluska, who stripped off his tracksuit in readiness to take the field. Then one more Rangers attack, a corner won but it came to nothing. Artur placed the ball in the six yard box and walked towards the referee, pointing pitch side in the direction of the dugouts. That was it for Artur, the end of his season. The end of his Celtic career? We wait to find out. He turns to the Rangers supporters behind the goal and blows them a kiss, as he strolls off the pitch to a standing ovation, that’s our Artur. In one national newspaper the next day, it claimed he turned to the Rangers supporters behind the goal and gave them a “menacing” stare, before spitting in their direction. “One more sorry act from a player who Scottish football will be glad to see the back of, after years of similar shameful acts”, it went on to say. Garbage, he blew them a kiss, he’s a ‘character’, is that not what the press are always telling us we are crying out for in the Scottish game?
We should have known how the season was going to pan out for Artur and Celtic as early as the 26th of August – the night we lost to Arsenal in the Champions League down at the Emirates. Having won 2-0 at Celtic Park, with a goal that bounced off William Gallus’s back (can’t stand that guy) and an own goal from Gary Caldwell, Arsenal were pretty much home and dry for the group stage. However Celtic acquitted themselves well in the opening 27 or so minutes in London, Artur keeping Celtic in the game with a couple of fine saves, one particularly outstanding save from Bendtner. Then it all went wrong.
This how the BBC website described it at the time……..
“Eduardo was the central figure when Arsenal did score after 28 minutes – and he was very much the villain in the eyes of Celtic’s travelling fans when he tumbled theatrically as he went around Boruc in the area. Spanish official Mejuto Gonzalez infuriated Celtic by pointing to the spot, and Eduardo stayed cool despite the protests to send Boruc the wrong way to effectively put the tie out of the reach of Tony Mowbray’s side.” “It’d be fair to say Celtic keeper Artur Boruc will not be sending Eduardo a Christmas card this year. The Croatian skips into the box and goes down next to the keeper, though it looks like there is minimal contact at best.”
It wasn’t a penalty, we all know that, UEFA banned Eduardo after a video panel reviewed the incident, though they later quashed the ban on appeal!!
Apart from this game, as I stated earlier it has been a pretty unspectacular season for Artur. None of the flag waving, mock hand claps to opposition supporters, the one finger salutes to Rangers fans, the letting in of ‘squigglers’ v Hibs or anything else that springs to mind. Some blamed him for the goals at Ibrox, in the first Rangers game of the season but he was cruelly exposed on both occasions by – what was becoming increasingly obvious to us, the Celtic support – a defence, that even by Celtic standards was not up to the job in hand. Also I mentioned earlier that at the time of writing this, I was totally unaware of any members of the CU Top ten players of this season. I would be surprised if it contained many defenders, perhaps Andy Hinkel & or Josh Thompson but that would be it, I would have thought………..We’ll see.
I do have to confess a particular soft spot for Artur, he is my favourite player (I know…. at nearly 43, am I not a bit old for that kind of thing?). Through a mutual friend he has helped me out a couple of times, he signed a large colour photo of himself with the words “To XXXX. Best Wishes Artur Boruc” for my son and, he managed to get me a ticket for one of Celtic’s away Champions League matches in season 08/09 and, refused take any money for it. It is through this friend I have learned that Artur is no longer the party animal he once was. Gone are the days of regular party/drinking sessions in his Partick flat, with his Polish buddies, while celebrating victories for Legia Warsaw. These have been replaced with sitting at home in his large house in Bearsden, watching TV with his girlfriend.
In summing up his season, I can remember a good save here, a fantastic stop there but no outstanding match, no cheeky penalty goal, like the one in last year’s CIS Cup Semi. He did though, manage to win the save of the season award for his stop from Hibernian midfielder David Wotherspoon’s long-range strike at Easter Road on August 30. His season was not as memorable as his first or second seasons at Celtic but by the same token not as infamous as 2008/09, when he seemed to appear on the front pages, as often as the back. He has lost his place in the Poland squad, although I’m pretty sure he will win that back, at just 30 years of age his best days should still be ahead of him. I would imagine the prospect of playing in the European Championships in his homeland in 2 years time, will be incentive enough to bring Artur back to his best. My mark out of ten for Artur for the season just past would be 7/10 – could do better but then that’s because I know he can.
I for one, hope that those next two seasons leading up to Euro 2012 at least, are played out in a Celtic goalkeepers jersey but if they are not, I and most Celtic supporters will wish him well wherever he plays. I have heard from our mutual friend, that he feels maybe now is the time to move on but then again, I was told that this time last year. He chose to stay and refuse offers that came his way because he didn’t want end his career at Celtic with Rangers as Champions, maybe that will make him stay again this season, time will tell. The choices on offer, have so far not appealed enough to him….the one team he would dearly love to play for is Barcelona. He might see a move to Spain as a stepping stone to his ultimate goal.
Wherever he may end up, we will miss The Holy Goalie and he is certain of a warm reception, if he ever returns with a different club . But Artur, keep blessing yourself, if that’s what you want to do………………IT IS NOT A CRIME.