My note taking duties were virtually redundant after a scintillating first half, during which Celtic blitzed St Mirren with a four goal display.
The second half for the most part was slower in tempo and appeared to be drifting towards a sedate finish, or at least it was until both Tony Watt and Miku decided to reignite the desire and the flair during a very entertaining last fifteen minutes.
My full match report will be prepared and added to the site tomorrow but for now I thought I’d break down the performance man by man.
Heres my review of the teams performance and my rating of the players individual displays;
Fraser Forster – The big guy was a virtual spectator but like he has shown since he finally grew into the Celtic number one spot last season, he remained concentrated and made two or three crucial interventions…though only in terms of maintaining a clean-sheet, the three points were never under any threat. (7)
Adam Matthews – Adam had one of those days when he will have frustrated himself, his play was generally very tidy and his touch fairly certain, unfortunately for him he drifted slightly out of the game after the tempo of the first half subsided during the half-time interval. I’m sure Adam would have relished the tempo of the game as it came to a conclusion however he’ll be frustrated at yet another, hopefully minor, injury which prematurely ended his match. Effective going forward and in tracking back. (7)
Kelvin Wilson – Athletic and strong, pacey and composed…this is the real Kelvin Wilson, at least he was during the warm-up. A virtual spectator as Celtic romped through the first half…dealt with the little he had to in an effective and fuss free manner. Here’s to hoping his injury requires nothing more than an ice-pack and an evening of elevation, he and Ambrose look like the best centre-half pairing at Celtic for manys a long year. Tidy days work. (6)
Efe Ambrose – From the moment I first watched Efe in a Celtic jersey I have not failed but to be impressed with his attitude, his confidence and his ability. The guy cruises through games and pushes up to play with the midfield at every opportunity. Pacey and athletic, strong and very, very, VERY composed…the lad is shaping up to be another remarkable find for the club.
Got himself a goal and nearly had another, he and Victor Wanyama often from a distance look like identical to one another, they both are very comfortable on the ball, strong in a tackle and intelligent in their movement, virtually faultless. (8)
Charlie Mulgrew – Fast being recognised as another Mr Celtic. Very dependable and assured, today was just another walk in the park for the lad. His delivery for the Ambrose goal took the entire defence out of the game, the weight of his long and short passing, his flicks and tricks and his set-piece delivery sets him apart from virtually all his peers, quite why he isn’t a first pick for Scotland is beggars belief. Tidy showing. (7)
Victor Wanyama – Where do you start with Victors contribution?!…another collosus in our team and an absolute gem of spot by the terrific Celtic scouting network. Victor cruised through todays game and could easily have doubled his very respectable goal tally of two.
He won every tackle, every header, rarely, if ever, misplaced a pass and his efforts frequently hit the target. His huge leap and his powerful header that nearly shattered the crossbar in the last minute, typified his performance.
An inspirational and utterly commanding display by a player who if he were to be sold on, must be looking to the Barcelona’s, Manchester United’s, Milan’s or Real Madrid’s as likely destinations. Simply class today. (10)
Joe Ledley – Hard working and very effective, today Wanyama may have stolen the headlines but Joe is Mr Dependable and today was no different. Came close to grabbing a goal on a few occasions but really getting another run out and avoiding injury is what most pleased me. Tidy and determined, another good showing from Joe. (7)
Beram Kayal – The lads been patiently waiting on his opportunities of late, much due to the wonderful form of his team-mates during his lengthy injury enforced absences. He took the chance today to show that the old combative and creative player still harbours the energy and the motivation to slug it out for a regular midfield berth. Good performance by a popular player within the squad. (7)
Lassad – He grafted, he showed some very neat touches and his interchange with both Hooper and Watt, caused St Mirren no end of problems. Unfortunately he rarely got a sniff of goal and injury ended his game. There’s lots more to come from the big fella and he should be proud of his efforts which contributed to an entirely one-sided first half performance. (7)
Gary Hooper – The man is a machine, some lovely touches, some clever movement, bags of strength and of pace and to cap it all the best ‘shin and in’ penalty box player in the business. As with many others he could have added even more weight to the one-sidedness of this scoreline with a little more luck on his side. He scored the goal which kick-started the rout, another good day at the office. (7)
Tony Watt – The youngster will never let anyone down with his lack of effort, in fact on a day when he got yet another goal and further enhanced an already well decorated reputation as a nuisance and a serious threat amongst opposition defences, perhaps his only fault was that his inexperience let him become frustrated as the tempo cooled after half-time. He may have spent 20 or so minutes snatching at every touch at the ball and in doing so, frequently he over-played things to the detriment of his team-mates. That however is just the rawness of youth and in general he was awesome again today, he certainly found his second wind and his composure after Miku’s introduction…an impact which reignited young Tony’s composure and discipline.
A fine performance once more. (8)
Emilio Izaguirre – Showed real signs of his return to form after his introduction at the interval. Always willing to bomb forward and now more assured at the back, he set up young Watt’s goal with a lovely teasing hung up cross. The cross begged for a finish to match and so Tony obliged. Good 45 minutes for a very popular player, who I’m glad to say looks like returning to the wonderful talent he was before a very serious injury robbed him of all his confidence. (7)
Miku – A smashing performance. The game was drifting towards a non-event when he replaced the injured Lassad, the tempo had dipped considerably and the youngster Tony Watt looked to be losing his disciplined movement as the shape of the team lost it’s edge. Miku bedded himself in for some 10 or so minutes, as always neat in both touch and in movement, thereafter however he single-handedly lifted the spirits of the team and suddenly Celtic engaged meaningfully in attack again. He brought shape and enthusiasm to the table, very nearly added a goal or two as well. He will be desperate to get his first goal and therefore get that monkey off his back, with performances like this I’m sure the goals will soon be coming thick and fast for the lad.
Intelligent and classy player. (8)
Mikel Lustig – Another player who has over-come the doubters within the Celtic support, Lustig nowadays is unrecognisable to the player who appeared struggling to find his feet in Scottish football last season. Came on late in the game and took no time to look composed and comfortable in both forward going areas and in breaking up any St Mirren counter-attacks. Sound and sensible performer. (6)
Neil Lennon and the management team – Delighted to see the shape of the team today, Lennon and his trusted team took the game to St Mirren and came out as emphatic winners. Again today, the gaffer utilised the strengths within our squad, missing several first picks he used the pace and width in our team to stagnate the opposition.
Indeed, in wide areas there has been a dramatic improvement in the full-backs over-lapping play perhaps this has something to do with the legendary Mr Danny McGrain, who knows a thing or two about that position. Of course it was not a job done since his recent promotion to first team coach but something he has worked upon for quite a while now.
Neil has really learned how to embrace the great individual talents within the squad whilst effectively improving the team as a whole…if only he can find McCourt a more regular route to involvement.
Flawless day at the office. (9)