All posts by Peter Mannion

Celtic Scottish Cup Success – A long time coming

Success at last for Celtic under manager Neil Lennon as the Hoops lifted the Scottish Cup on Saturday after convincingly beating Motherwell by three goals to none.

A soaking wet day at Hampden was the scene and both teams emerged, the west of Hampden in a card display of the Motherwell crest, with the East filled with green and white stripes and a four leaf clover inset, the fans had shown they were up for it, next it was the players turn.

The wet conditions proved to be tricky for both teams, as slide tackles came flying in from everywhere, Celtic players Ki sung-Yeung and Daniel Majstorovic both being booked very early on by referee Calum Murray who looked set out to be in for a tricky game and was faced with a free kick shout by Celtic as Motherwell player Stephen Craigan seemed to push the ball away from the box, after falling to the ground, the appeal was denied however. Then Majstorovic seemed to try and catch a ball cleared up the field and can be seen as lucky to not get a second booking.

Ki Sung-Yeung opened the scoring on the 30th minute scored a low powerful drive into the right hand side of Darren Randolph’s net. It was a superbly struck shot which stunned both sets of fans as it did not look like it was coming.

Motherwell responded instantly with Gavin Gunning showing that he could strike a ball like Ki, and rattled the crossbar which was unlucky not to drop down over the line of Fraser Forster’s goal.

The second half started off slowly and both teams failed to get a proper grip of the game, both passing the ball about and not making much of it, until Celtic left back Mark Wilson drove the ball at the goals which took a messy deflection and ended up crossing the line, despite the best efforts of the Motherwell defence to clear it away and an own goal was given against Stephen Craigan, which could be seen as karma as he probably shouldn’t have been on the pitch after his handball antic earlier on. Celtic were two up and looked ready to take the title, they just needed one more to guarantee victory for the Glasgow side.

And Charlie Mulgrew was the man to score that goal. On the 88th minute a free kick was awarded just on the edge of the box, Mulgrew, who has been criticised throughout his career at Celtic placed the ball and stood back, taking a while to line up his shot. Known at Aberdeen for his free-kick taking abilities he was expected to curl it into the right corner but in fact bulleted it straight through to the right corner, taking both the wall and the keeper by surprise who had no chance of stopping the thunderbolt. It was a remarkable goal and one that send the Celtic fans into party overtime TV pictures showed the scene of the full Celtic end doing ‘the huddle’ with BBC commentators claiming that they felt unsafe due to the shaking of the stand.

The final goal took all the fight that Motherwell had out of them and they passed the ball around as they waited for the final whistle to go; when it did this meant Celtic were champions. They hadn’t won the cup for four years and it was their first trophy for over two years. The relief and delight of the Celtic manager and technical team was evident. After what could be seen as a very disappointing season for Celtic they have finished it with some silverware, now Celtic fans will wait with baited breath to find out the future of their manager and his staff and many of them hope that the Celtic board will grant Lennon a new contract as he looks to build on his recent success.  

 Simon Kermack
http://twitter.com/#!/KermackS 

Celtic manager attacked on touchline

During Celtic’s 3 0 win over Hearts on Wednesday night, a Hearts of Midlothian fan ran along the touchline and tried to attack Celtic manager Neil Lennon, failing to do any damage to the manager.

The incident happened just after Celtic ‘s second goal when Lennon was standing on his own on the touchline celebrating, when a fan jumped out of the stands and ran at Lennon, before being pulled aside by Celtic coach Alan Thompson and brought to the ground right in front of Lennon’s feet. Lennon appeared shocked however appeared to give his attacker a mouthful of abuse before returning back to his technical area as the ‘fan’ was handcuffed and taken out of the stadium.

Lennon has had to deal with abuse, death threats and even live bombs being sent to his and other Irish players playing for Celtic’s houses however this is the first time in recent memory a manager has been attacked on the pitch.

There are growing fears around Parkhead that Neil Lennon’s one year rolling contract may not be renewed due to the severity of the situation surrounding both his personal life and now even his job on the pitch and Chief Executive Peter Lawwell informed fans that himself and Lennon will hold talks at the end of the season to discuss if Lennon will be Celtic manager next year.

The game had other incidents with wing back David Obua being sent off for throwing a punch at Celtic left winger Charlie Mulgrew. Kris Commons was also sent off for Celtic after scoring and celebrating by going into the fans, receiving a second yellow card.

The win for Celtic means that Sunday will be a title deciding weekend, with Rangers playing away to Kilmarnock while Celtic host Motherwell at Parkhead. If both teams win then Rangers will win the league by one point, helicopter Sunday awaits Glasgow but will it be Lennon’s last game in charge of the Hoops?

 

Simon Kermack
http://twitter.com/#!/KermackS