Trust me, it's the not the stifling New York heat this time but will someone please take my temperature, 'cos I'm not sure if it's a misguided notion of a time honoured tradition or just the modern way but when Celtic travel half way around the world to get gubbed 3-0 by a team I've never heard of, the Yokohama Marinos, AFTER the season proper has already kicked off, then someone has to tell the suits at the club that "You Can't Have It All". A wrecking ball of a result in what was little more than an exhibition game to generate revenue has knocked the team off kilter after what was a good performance against Kilmarnock, and that doesn't bode well for the team talk the Saturday night before the game the next day against R*ngers Lite. I recognise that Strachan fielded a team largely made up of squad players, but players like Riordan, Sno, Marshall, Virgo and Thompson should be knocking on the door of the first team. I can't believe that a player of the quality of Thompson is now considered a bit part player. Surely he would be a valued team mate in any team?
It doesn't matter if Quinn has warned against so-called "offensive chanting", 'cos if the team are seen to be the subject of a bit of a mauling on Sunday, you can be rest assured that the Celtic fans won't be chanting "Na Na Na Naaa" as a stop gap replacement for a "sack the fucking board" style chant. Quinn strikes me as one of those type of Chairmen who, in the same vein as Doug Ellis and Ken Bates, will at the first sign of pointed and *cough* robust criticism get all pouty and issue press statements to the Celtic fans along the lines of 'everyday I love you less and less, and any more sniping from you lot in the cheap seats and I will be doing an offski with the biscuit tin money'.
On the subject of Glasgow Celtic and loving someone less and less everyday, that numpty Nicky Campbell has an article in today's Guardian on the subject of the Lisbon Lions. In fairness to him, he doesn't come across as so unctuously smug as he usually does on the radio, tv, 99% of his print journalism and in real life, and he does give proper homage to Jimmy Johnstone, the majestic wee player who combined dazzling football skills with pug ugliness a full forty years before Rooney and Ronaldinho became the nightmare of those ad adgencies who have the brief of marketing the beautiful game and having those two featured prominently in any of their ad campaigns.
On reflecting on the special quality of those players who made up the 1967 team, Campbell quotes
Bono Jim Kerr, who writes of his family: ". . . laughing at the audacity of them. The gallousness - their cheek all against the odds. Jimmy Johnstone turning opponents' legs to spaghetti . . . " and there is no denying that when you see old footage of Jimmy using his nifty footwork to turn a defender this way and that, you can only conclude that if he hadn't become a footballer the wee gem would have been born to be a dancer. Campbell also makes mention of the McNeill and Gemmell in that team that came to fruition when Britain was still listening to Radio Caroline - yes, I know Campbell's former alma mater, Radio One started in 1967 - but a Lisbon Lion that deserves special mention on this blog is Stevie Chalmers - the scorer of the winning goal in Lisbon against Inter Milan - if only because my Dad's proudest moment in his employment history was that for a few years in the late sixties, he was Stevie Chalmer's postman, and remembers delivering his wages to his door every week to be signed the time Chalmers had broken his leg and was off training.
This coming season there will no doubt be a period of a nostalgia-fest for that great team from forty years ago, and like Campbell's piece, comparisons will be drawn between then and now. Stein legacy lasted well beyond 1967, continuing into the mid-seventies and but for a ferocious battle against Atletico Madrid in the 1974 semi-finals where, by common consent, Celtic were muscled out of a deserved victory, they may have capped it with another European Cup victory; this time against Bayern Munich, led by the great Franz Beckenbaur, 'the Kaiser'. Chiefs, the lot of them, despite being unable to bookend Stein's tremendous achievement that year.