That's why we`re champions

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That's why we`re champions

Postby jimbob » Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:25 pm


Saturday was one of those days.

Sixty minutes of huffing and puffing. A refereeing decision, that as right as it looked at the game, we knew was going to dominate the headlines no matter what the final score. In the end, we won 3-1, extending our  winning run in the league to 11 games, and in the midst of an injury crisis which was bad enough last week but now is defying all logic.

Yet it hasn't derailed us. A similar run of games, with an injury situation far less severe than our own, destroyed Rangers title ambitions at the end of last season. They had seven games to play, alongside a congested European and domestic fixture. We won our seven, they stumbled and fell, dropping points across the boards. Our own congested fixture list has seen us win every domestic match, not simply the eleven in the league. As with last year, this is why we are Champions.

Before the report, let's get out of the way the elephant in the living room, the 15th minute challenge by goalkeeper Artur Boruc. From the press reaction, one would think he had charged from his goal with a straight razor and left the St Mirren player bleeding on the park. In fact, what happened was a little less dramatic and a little less satisfactory for the hordes who wish to see Boruc fall.

The Polish keeper ran for a fifty-fifty ball and, lacking the grace and poise and positional sense of a central defender, looked clumsy as he ran into the St Mirren forward.

Not exactly X-Rated stuff, although Gus McPherson's apoplectic reaction was as the referee took a more measured view than the rabid media experts and assorted Boruc watchers. He flashed the yellow card instead of the red .......... and he had done otherwise it would have been a gross injustice and a downright scandal.

In the present climate though, referees are not rewarded for good sense when it hands Celtic a break. They are pilloried.

In this case, undoubtedly, the right decision was made.

Back to the game though! Yesterday we looked disjointed, until a two-minute, two-goal burst midway through the second half. Until then, it seemed that our last ever Love Street encounter was going to slip away. It looked as if they wanted the points more than we did, and then Giorgios Samaras got on the end of an Andreas Hinkel cross and turned the ball into the net.

Just 60 seconds later, the game was over as a contest, and with one of the finest goals we have seen in an already exciting season. This time is was Samaras who created the goal. He threaded a great ball through to Nakamura, who, playing with a bandage on his knee, caught the ball in the air, controlled it, stepped inside a defender and smashed it past the goalkeeper. As games go, this one might have been a little flat, but that goal was worth the admission fee alone.

In recent weeks, Samaras has been talking about our striker Cillian Sheridan, about he rates the player very highly. Just minutes after his assist, Samaras was replaced by the big Irishman, who in the 80th minute showed us all why the Greek thinks so much of him. A through ball from McDonald dropped at his feet, and he slammed it into the back of the net. We did, of course, concede a late goal, but by then it was moot anyway. The three points were going back to Parkhead.

Next on our punishing fixture schedule is Aalborg, and at no time in our Champions League history thus far have we needed the three away points more.

Can we make it ? To parphrase Barack Obama ............ YES WE CAN ! We are a better side than Aalborg, with better players. Whether this matters or not will be down to the application we show on the night.

Onward then Troops in the Hoops.

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