Football: Celtic are lost in the fog

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The Independent Online
Celtic. . . . .0

Aberdeen. . . .0

Match abandoned 60 min, fog

IT WAS appropriate that what there was of Celtic's match should be shrouded in mist. These are dark days for the poorer half of the country's Old Firm, who appear without boardroom leadership more than ever before.

Lou Macari, the Celtic manager, has had to labour hard to protect his players and keep their minds on work instead of listening to, and being influenced by, the rumours which again surround the club. Depending on whose whispers you take in, the major shareholder, Chris White, may be selling out to Glasgow businessmen or another powerful director, Michael Kelly, might be forced out, but the only thing certain is that Celtic are in an awful mess.

Their problems are not confinded to the boardroom either. If he did not know before, Macari is well aware now that his squad is weak and, in fact, he is prepared to concede that if money is not found for him to move into the transfer market in a significant way Celtic will not be able to compete effectively for the domestic prizes.

All he can do is make the side 'plod' along and that is precisely what they did yesterday against Aberdeen, not that anyone was too clear about what was happening on the pitch. An hour or so before the kick-off a thick fog descended on Celtic Park and by the start of the second half it was difficult to see to the far side. After an hour's play the referee, Hugh Williamson, spoke to both managers, who shook hands and called it a day.

None of the 19,414 supporters - a 10,000 drop on the corresponding fixture last season, which perhaps tells the story of Celtic fans' current disillusionment - were disappointed because they had not seen much in the way of good play. The first half was scrappy and all of the players will be happy to come back at some future date and try again. Maybe they will remember that fans are supposed to be entertained.

The last time a match at Celtic Park had to be abandoned because of fog was in 1975 and Hibernian were leading 2-0 at the time. That was particularly hard on the Edinburgh side because they lost the replay.

Although short, the afternoon was not without cost to Celtic who had Peter Grant carried off on a stretcher and Wayne Biggins also injured. Aberdeen's David Winnie was another casualty of a first half played behind the shroud.