PAUL JOHN DYKES:
The outpouring of frustration on social media will subside, whilst the disappointment of dropping our first points of this season will be temporary.
Meanwhile, delusional news ramblings of our south side rivals’ brilliance… their resurgence… their irreproachable Anfield apprentice manager… will perpetually reign supreme following their 5-0 drubbing of Aberdeen.
But we’ve heard it all before, and we’ve learned to live with it, treating it with the same disdain as I, Ludicrous did in their ridiculous but brilliant Preposterous Tales single, which gained indie prestige in 1987 by making it into John Peel’s Festive Fifty (Rangers were probably number one).
If you haven’t heard Preposterous Tales, then give it the four minutes it demands on YouTube:
Will Hung of I, Ludicrous could be speaking directly to the Scottish journalistic sycophants as he sings, “So come on, let’s have some more yarns,” while Preposterous Tales could conceivably be the Scottish media’s theme tune, as Celtic continue on their quest for nine-in-a-row – a quest that, this afternoon, took Neil Lennon back to the abode of his former employers…
Despite a relatively poor Easter Road record in recent times (no league wins there in the last two seasons), Celtic would have been rightly confident of leaving Leith with their seventh consecutive league win.
So what went wrong?Listen to the latest episode of the award-winning A Celtic State of Mind
Heckingbottom’s Hibs – who had been toothless for most of this campaign – decided to roll their sleeves up and give us a midfield battle in the form of Scott Allan – a player who was nowhere near being an established first-team player at Celtic Park. That Allan managed to entice Kevin Clancy into flashing a yellow card at Scott Brown for daring to literally get touch-tight on the Hibs midfielder was bad enough, but that was the least absurd refereeing decision of the afternoon.
That accolade could go to one of two stone-wall penalties that Celtic were denied. The impressive Bauer and hardworking Christie were both clearly impeded, but Clancy and his acolytes waved Celtic’s protestations away.
The awarding and scoring of one of those penalties may have prevented closer inspection of some of the other reasons for suffering a 1-1 stalemate – the introduction of Jonny Hayes over Tom Rogic and Mo Elyounoussi when we were trying to unlock the Hibs defence; James Forrest and Callum McGregor being off the pace; Ryan Christie being moved to accommodate Olivier Ntcham, and being less effective for it.
But we have had numerous days like this throughout our Treble Treble crusade, and there will undoubtedly be a few more.
Despite being far from his best, I awarded Ryan Christie with my Man of the Match to a backdrop of scathing Twitter responses. I felt that Christie was tireless in his efforts despite being switched positions in-match. He scored the equaliser, should have had a penalty, and never hid despite failing to reach his now expected high standards. In the closing 20 minutes, he looked to me to be the most likely to win us the match.
We have now inspected what Hibs have to offer, and this should form the blueprint to our game-plan in the League Cup semi-final in November. Similarly, the fact that we have 180 minutes against Cluj under our belts should also assist us against the Romanian champions on Thursday night as we return to Europa League action.
Easter Road remains something of a bogey ground for the Hoops after they could manage just the one goal and the one point against Paul Heckingbottom’s well organised side.
Despite clear individual and territorial superiority, Celtic had only a Ryan Christie strike to show for their efforts after a Christian Doidge shot had been deflected past Fraser Forster by Kris Ajer to give Hibs an early lead against the run of play.
The Celts threatened to grab a winner during a period of sustained pressure towards the end but the second goal wouldn’t come.
🍀 A CELTIC STATE OF MIND
⭐️ Man of the Match
🏆 Hibs 1 Celtic 1