If the Celtic first team travel to the other side of the Clyde a week on Saturday and produce a similar display to the young bucks then it would be pretty safe to say that 4-in-a-row will be guaranteed. It was a game that the Celts only needed to draw in order to claim the League flag but from the early minutes of the match it seemed obvious to the 3,000 away fans in the 4,000 crowd that we wouldn't need to get out of second gear to gain a victory over this poor Hun second eleven.
above the rest at Ibrox yesterday.
Photo by thehoopster
This was the first time that many of the watching Celtic fans had watched Paddy McCourt in the flesh for a full ninety minutes and they were not disappointed with the ex-Derry City man who gave a man-of-the-match performance. Coach McStay promises that things will get better for McCourt if he can stay injury free and reach peak fitness. "Paddy is a real talent." he said. "What we have to do is work on his fitness. Once we get him closer to match fitness then something might give. Those who come to our games and the fans who watch Celtic TV will tell you Paddy is a delight. Getting him through a game such as this helps. He enjoyed himself.
McStay also envisages McCourt having a big say in the destination of the SPL title as we approach the final five league matches. "Bringing on a fringe player who can help win the title is a big part of our job." said McStay. "It might be Paddy, or someone else, who can provide the spark. At the moment I see him coming off the bench because he doesn't have the capacity to play 90 minutes. He has vision, touch and can come on when teams tire. Paddy is the type of player you have to free. He's a Lubo Moravcik type. He did well today but in other games he's been magnificent."
"He has the ability, vision, everything really." added the coach. "The only thing lacking is stamina. But what he doesn't lack is self-belief. You wouldn't want a one on one with him. Defenders fear that. Could he have an impact this season? I think so. He's never had a constant run. He has an injury affecting the middle of his back and that can crop up again. In the close season he will have a programme specific to him so by August he could be a regular."
Simon Ferry scored the only goal of the game in the 71st minute with a scorching volley past a helpless Allan McGregor and then he picked up a yellow card for removing his top and waving it at the empty Govan stand. After his injury woes over the past few years the youngster's exuberance was perfectly understandable. "It felt brilliant to score that goal, it was a great ending to the day," said Simon. "I've been back training for three months now and I've used this season to get fit."
- Photo by thehoopster
Ferry has been named in a few first-team squads recently as manager Gordon Strachan has acknowledged the hard work and determination shown by the young Celt. "I didn't think I was going to play so to come back and play five games and get in a few squads has been great," said Ferry. "Gordon Strachan has been really encouraging and hearing some of the things he has said to me has given me a massive lift and, come pre-season, I will be trying to get in the team and play."
"I've been at Celtic since I was 11, so it's a long time." he added. "I will speak to the manager at the beginning of the season and if he thinks I should go out on loan then I will listen to him. If he thinks I will challenge for a place then I will stay. But if I can stay fit then I feel I am ready to play."