Celtic Park home crowd is no comfort to the Bhoys

21 February 2010 08:34
Celtic will journey across the city next Sunday to face their biggest rivals in what is now the pivotal game in the title race and the fans in the Broomloan Road stand will back the team raucously from start to finish. Now if only we could show the same type of support at home. Celtic fans - 12th man or disgruntled customers?There was less than a minute on the clock at Celtic Park yesterday when this observer heard the first grumbles of discontent. Midfielder Ki hit a misplaced pass around the 50 second mark and immediately earned the wrath of some punters around my seat in section 110. In a show of passion that was radically more misplaced than the pass these fans were howling "that's f****** shocking Celtic","He's sh*te, get him to f***". Ki Sung-Yeung, Asian Young Footballer of the Year, a stranger in a strange land, a new bhoy at the start of his Celtic career, trying to adapt to a new style of football with his new team-mates was abused in the very first minute of the game against Dundee United and having found the day's whipping bhoy early doors these same fans continued to howl at any mistake from Ki whilst ignoring his many positive contributions . Welcome to the Celtic family 'David'.Of course section 110 was not the only area expressing their frustration even this early and the young Korean international was not the only Celtic player criticised during the 1-0 victory over United - I think only Artur Boruc and goalscorer Robbie Keane have exemption certificates - therefore it was no surprise to hear radio reporters ask Tony Mowbray and on-loan striker Keane about the nervous, edgy atmosphere so prevalent at home games these days. To their credit both the manager and the player insisted that they could understand the anxiety emanating from the stands."That's been there since day one, has it not?" said Mowbray. "The team didn't win the league last year and there is an anxiety in the stadium but the players have to deal with that. We have found on several occasions this year that once you score the second goal, the anxiety disappears, the crowd enjoy the event and everything loosens off. We didn't manage to get that second goal and so the anxiety remained. But at the end of the day we won the match and got the points."Republic of Ireland international Robbie Keane, who scored the only goal of the game, insisted that taking on the huge expectations of the support, and the pressure that accompanies those expectations, is part of the deal when you are playing for a club of Celtic's stature. "Sometimes that happens in games," he said of yesterday's nervousness from the stands. "At 1-0, you are always liable to give the other team a chance." continued Celtic's number seven. "But, all in all, we dominated the game and didn't look like losing it but it is important in these kinds of situations to get the second goal. I have been lucky enough to play at big clubs before and the pressure comes with that. You are playing for a club that demands success and, as players, it is up to us to deliver it. We are well aware that people expect us to win these kind of games"We don't have another home match until we play St Johnstone on the 20th March - yes, an entire month away from Celtic Park - but whatever happens elsewhere in that intervening period, and despite Robbie Keane and the manager's acceptance of the situation, wouldn't it be great if the fans were to start that game in a wholly positive, dare I say supportive, manner instead of moaning and howling from the very first whistle? You never know, we might get a better response with the carrot than we do with the stick.