The Clumpany is feeling very upbeat about last night’s Celtic performance. It was a joy to watch, albeit against a mediocre and unadventurous Motherwell side whose manager had felt that last season’s drubbings had no bearing on his match preparations…
Free-flowing and creative football whose tactics and formation can be adjusted during the same. What is this sorcery! And Rogic. And Dembele. And something like the real Scott Brown. And Scott Sinclair. Ah Scott Sinclair… As Brendan Rodgers said after the same in his really interesting conversation with the BT Sport pundits, Sinclair is a ‘Premier League player’ and will make his teammates better – i.e.he presses forward with pace and creativity every chance he gets, and causes others to follow suit. In short, he makes things happen.
As one person said on Twitter last night, it was like having Celtic back. Yes it was only one game, but after the hard-fought win at Tynecastle at the weekend there seem to be many more reasons to be positive than downbeat right now if you are a Celtic fan.
People continue to fret – with some reason – about Craig Gordon, and it will be interesting to see what the manager does in response to his apparent form. A talented new ‘back-up’ to create pressure for his place and drive up performance, or an outright replacement as first choice keeper? Whatever the choice turns out to be, I’d be feeling a bit wary if I were Gordon. Which unfortunately is not how you want your keeper to feel before a potentially season-defining Champions League playoff fixture.
Hopefully The Clumpany is worrying unduly!
Another thing which stood out last night was the overall quality of BT Sport’s presentation of the game. Aside from Steven’s Craigan’s brief spell of channelling Neil McCann when ‘analysing’ the awarding of a penalty for Tait’s push on Sinclair, the package was very good.
The difference between BT Sport and Sky’s coverage of Scottish football is like night and day. BT Sport seem genuinely pleased to have the rights to show the games, and want to bring a bit of style and substance to the spectacle while trying to recognise that that game is about more than one club and one ethereal, pretendy ‘same club’.
Sky, on the other hand, only really seem interested in the fake ‘Old Firm’ freak show. And when the circus isn’t in town you get the impression that they are simply looking longingly into the distance hoping to catch a glimpse of its approach.
The different was well-exemplified by the way BT Sport previewed, conducted and analysed last night’s draw for the Scottish League Cup quarter-finals. BT Sport just got on with it and recognised that there were still eight teams left in the competition.
In David Tannerville the build-up would have been about whether we might see an ‘Old Firm’ tie which would be one of many ‘Old Firm’ fixtures this season, given that ‘Rangers*’ are now ‘back’ in the top flight. We would then have heard Tanner punching the wall with frustration when Celtic v Alloa came out of the hat. And once the draw had ended he would have opened Sky’s dour-faced analysis by saying “So, no ‘Old Firm’ tie then, but what do you think the ‘Old Firm’ will make of the draw?”.
Sky’s Oldfirmery is now so predictable and tedious it’s not even worth playing the ‘Old Firm-mention’ drinking game any more. You may as well just neck your Buckie and Bleach before the programme starts. An approach which would also helpfully numb your senses prior to them being assaulted by McCann and his frantically-waved rule book.
Keep it up BT Sport. And keep it up Celtic!
I am now away to practice coping with a Twitter timeline full of happy Hoops fans…