London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 1991-92--> All for 19911005
<-Page <-Team Sat 05 Oct 1991 Celtic 3 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Herald ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Joe Jordan <-auth James Traynor auth-> Jim McCluskey
[M McNally 2] ;[C Nicholas pen 45] ;[T Cascarino 68] Tony G Cascarino
2 of 002 John Robertson 12 L Premier A

Cascarino mirrors Celtic's problem Striker trying too hard to succeed


7 Oct 1991

SINCE Celtic's decline -- and anyone who says there hasn't been one is either a victim of the ostrich syndrome or a member of the Parkhead side's board -- many people have struggled to come up with new ways of summing up the club.

The attempts have ranged from the downright rude to sublime, even fanciful, notions.

Watching Liam Brady's team hold out against Hearts, who suffered their first premier-division defeat of the season, it was necessary once again to muse on the club's difficulties.

Celtic had taken the lead despite the inevitable defensive lapse, this time by Derek Whyte, who allowed John Robertson to take away the ball and score.

Rarely is life for this team straightforward or simple.

Then a most bizarre thing happened.

Tony Cascarino scored.

Celtic's supporters were delirious.

So, too, was the striker, who, since his £1.1m transfer from Aston Villa, had been unable to strike.

Many had thought they might go to their graves without seeing Cascarino put a ball in the net, but the big fellow's moment arrived after 67 minutes when Celtic were leading 2-1 but not looking entirely sure of themselves.

Charlie Nicholas, who had scored his team's second goal from the penalty spot three minutes into injury time added on to the first half, went off feeling the effects of an injury sustained in European competition and Cascarino was released from the dug-out.

He was on the pitch only a minute when Tommy Coyne scampered down the left and squared the ball.

Cascarino was waiting in the middle in front of a gaping goal and it mattered little that he almost missed.

The ball went in.

The nightmare was over.

Actually, it was merely entering into a new phase.

Four minutes later Craig Levein was standing in Celtic's penalty box, a hand clasped to an eye as a linesman signalled to the referee, Jim McCluskey.

After consultation Cascarino was ordered off and Hearts awarded a penalty.

Robertson, whose exquisite finish after having made Whyte look foolish equalised Mark McNally's first goal for Celtic, missed the penalty and Hearts stumbled towards a 3-1 defeat, but his uncharacteristic lapse from the penalty spot was not the most significant incident of the afternoon.

Cascarino's brief appearance deserves closer scrutiny because in him we have another way of looking at his club.

It might well be that this one player can be used to describe Celtic's problems.

In Cascarino Celtic's struggle is given shape.

He has been trying too hard and hasn't always been relaxed enough to take make the most of of his opportunities.

For a dreadful second it looked as though in attempting to make sure the ball would go in after Coyne had set him up perfectly he almost placed his shot wide of a post.

Cascarino appears to be on edge, which is understandable given that he has been coming through a goal famine, and, as we know now, he is prone to, shall we say, lapses in concentration.

In him are mirrored all the problems slowing Celtic's progress under Brady, who was not at all happy with the second of his striker's penalty box contributions.

"Cascarino will be disciplined," said the manager.

"It'll cost him.

It'll hurt.

It won't be insignificant." Brady sounded as though he meant business, but his mood would not have been helped by the nature of the match which he described as "a bit of a roughhouse." He was also honest enough to admit that Celtic were fortunate to have escaped indoors at the interval

2-1 in front.

Hearts played some exciting football in the first half and deserved more than one goal.

"Yes," said their manager, Joe Jordan, "there were many times when we had the ball in their box and should have scored."

The Tynecastle side's rhythm was altered slightly, but crucially, when Ian Baird had to go off after little more than half an hour.

He had been injured in a tackle with Mike Galloway and his place was taken by Steve Penney, a fair player in his own right but not with the same threat as the strong-running Baird.

His presence troubled Celtic's defence, which remains decidedly frail, and although Brady's players deserve credit for having beaten Hearts, who had come to Glasgow as premier-division leaders, the suspicion is that they will not be able to go on and claim the championship unless the back line is strengthened.

Gary Gillespie, Whyte, Dariusz Wdowczyk, and McNally appear to misread one another's intentions too often and as a consequence an alert enough opposing attack can take advantage.

The main culprit could be Whyte, a player who is not fulfilling the promise he showed a couple of years back.

He and the others must be a concern for Brady, who must bolster this part of his team before too much longer.

The fact that Celtic are still in Europe must help because foreign competition is a powerful source of revenue and the directors should already be assuring the manager that any money generated by involvement in the UEFA Cup will be released to him for new players.

Hearts, of course, are in the process of manoeuvring themselves into a position which would allow them back into Europe and on all evidence so far they look as though they will achieve that objective easily enough.

However, they can't afford to relax because they must play Aberdeen at Tynecastle on Wednesday night.

The Dons have joined Hearts at the top of the premier division, which gives their meeting added spice.

Jordan is hoping those players injured at Parkhead, Dave McPherson (knee), Baird (ankle), and Levein (eye) will be fit enough to play.

Taken from the Herald

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