Viva Celtic!

The vibe on the Celtic Way had a distinctively Latin feel to it last Saturday.

These two young hermanos Célticos were at Paradise for their first home game.

They have already been to Hampden and Ibrox to see the Hoops put Sevco firmly in their box on two occasions.

Easy…

Even an SFA Grade One match official could see that Seba Ongarelli and his brother Geronimo were having a blast.

They even got my buddy John Fallon to pose with their national flag.

However, they quickly reassured the original Holy Goalie that they supported Independiente and they had no grá for Racing Club.

Diplomatic incident averted…

It was written at the time that Stein’s men played with a Latin flair in 1967 in Lisboa.

Some of the hopefuls had made the trip in a Hillman Imp and I spoke with some lads who are recreating that part of the Lisbon saga.

Now, that really IS a journey!

I arrived back home with this bad Bhoy to add to my T-Shirt collection.

I promised the Argentinian lads that I would wear it in Lisbon at the end of the month!

The Celtic story is an uplifting one.

A club founded by immigrants to raise funds to feed hungry children.

Moreover, the founder was a man who had survived An Gorta Mór as a child.

He burned with the mission that no youngster should ever suffer from an empty stomach.

Of course, such a worthy cause would cost money.

Therefore, setting up a football club seemed like a good means to that end.

This isn’t an Irish in Scotland narrative, but a tale that can strike a chord across the world with big-hearted people everywhere.

When I was speaking with Seba and Geronimo the two brothers instantly got that Celtic was about family.

The match itself was worth the journey from Dún na nGall.

The Big Fella and I were in the south stand to see the first team debuts of two academy graduates.

Young Mikey Johnston stood out in the first half.

My sources over the mountain here assure me that he qualifies to play for Ireland through his Gaobh Dobhair family.

He was snubbed by Scotland this season and I’m told that the FAI are on the case.

Of course, if he is faced with a decision it will be down to the lad himself.

My Gaobh Dobhair fella said that young Johnston models himself on Aiden McGeady.

So he’s definitely one to watch.

Celtic have wasted no time in signing up the lad on a new three-year deal.

The kid has been attracting attention from the EPL.

Smart move Brendan.

The other debutant, young Anthony Ralston looked very solid at right back.

Moreover, the cross that created the goal for the visitors scored didn’t come from down his side of the field.

I got a decent view of him in the first half and he looked a very capable player at just 18.

Brendan can be well pleased with his debutants.

Celtic had five academy graduates involved in the match on Saturday.

It must take a huge amount of self-belief for a lad of 18 to step onto a football field and perform at that level.

I suspect that Donegal man Jimmy McGuinness is playing a useful part in the background there.

He certainly got the county football team here to believe in themselves.

At half time the Argentinian lads were welcomed onto the Parkhead turf.

So, global fan base, an academy producing talent players, modern stadium, great atmosphere.

In Scotland, Celtic stand alone.

Moreover, in Glasgow, the idea of a city rival to the Parkhead outfit is quite simply risible.

It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for the Espanyol of Glasgow.

That’s until you have to interact with their valued customers.

The ambience at Ibrox is, as it has always been, one of seething xenophobic hatred of the other.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Fitba future is green and white.

Sure, they even know that in Argentina!

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