Stokes brought down for spot kick

Twelve yards out….the striker of the ball versus a keeper standing ominously under an eight foot high structure which hosts a net with a width of eight yards. The odds are stacked so heavily in the takers favour, you think the chance of a miss or a save from the gloved one would be a minor miracle.

Yesterday at Celtic Park, within three minutes Celtic had the glorious opportunity to take the lead in the aforementioned manner – Kris Commons steps up as main penalty taker, Gary Hooper, was absent. We have been become accustomed to Commons’ goals being of the spectacular variety and further ranging than the penalty spot, so most felt safe that with a run up and the keeper having to wait until the strike to move – there wouldn’t be much doubt as to the result. Common’s placed his spot kick to the keepers right and his tame effort was parried by Peter Enckleman.

Two penalties so far for Celtic this season and both have been missed on SPL duty. On day one Hooperman’s miss at Easter Road did not deflect from the result but yesterday from that spot kick moment, a heavy burden grew on the game as it wore on tirelessly to a surprising Saint’s victory.  If we take emotions into account, yesterday started like this – Stokes into the box = crowd excitement and anticipation level rises/ Stokes felled in the box = anticipation level rises again waiting for referee’s decision/ Penalty given = Jubilation from the stands – akin to a goal being scored and dejection from the victims/ Penalty missed = excitement turns into heartbreak and the upper hand is now with the heroic goalkeeper.

Neil Lennon added after yesterday’s game “A penalty is a gift and we keep missing them; it is not good enough.” Out of the last five league penalties awarded to the Bhoys – only one has been converted, and that was in the last moments of a decisive game when already 3-1 down away to Caley Thistle. The other major talking point from those statistics was the award away at Ibrox on April 24th last year – we don’t get many there and with seven minutes to go, at nil-nil – we could have wrapped up the three points – and arguably the SPL title.

Out of the ten penalties converted, two were match winners (Daryl Murphy away to Motherwell & Kilmarnock) – and one rescued a point in the last-minute at Hamilton. Out of last year’s converters, only Stokes & Commons were on the pitch yesterday at that point, and you have to wonder why the Irishman after being brought down to win the spot kick didn’t finish the job – he did score the most awards last year with four & as Lennon said -you have to wonder where some players heads are at.  Commons’ appears to be at the dinner table judging by the size of his rear end and movement, or lack of it so far this year.

Yesterday, a goal within the opening five minutes would have been akin to a life sentence for the visitors – and St Johnstone would have been the sacrificial lambs no doubt, no goals and no wins prior to Sunday. Confidence from the spot will now be low and the pressure mounting on whoever picks up the ball next – in these times, a captain usually has to stand up and show his troops the mettle and determination he possesses. Scott Brown is no great goalscorer though, and I would rather see the young Korean Ki given the limelight – probably the best striker of a football from long-range and with a thunderous peg, surely he will have no problem rippling the net from twelve yards. With a team like Celtic, you are more often than not going to be in or around the box and get decisions – so this will need to be addressed sooner rather than later….before they come back to haunt us in May.

  1. […] kick – the oracle that is I also suggested this last month following the Bhoys penalty hoodoo( Ki Sung-yueng slots home a great penalty to open the […]

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