Hearts manager Daniel Stendel was quoted as labeling Celtic figure Andy Thom as his “idol”, before spending the afternoon doing the Hoops a massive favour.
Stendel was born in East Germany and looked up to the ex-Celt. Thom, who signed for Celtic back in 1995, went on to win the League Cup in 1997 before being part of the historic 1998 championship-winning side.
Stendel watched on as Thom played regularly for East Germany, making 51 appearances for his national side. And to follow it up, he then helped Thom’s former club with a fine 2-1 win against Rangers today.
Speaking about Thom in comments picked up by the Scottish Sun, Stendel said the following:
“I was born in East Germany and Thom was my idol. He was maybe our best striker so he was an hero for me and my own country.
“He is also a coach and some years ago he was youth coach with Hertha Berlin and we played them in a cup final and we won!”
Stendel provides Celtic with a vital confidence-booster
Say what you will, but our campaign will now contain a constant glance at our rivals’ results. Rangers took the trip to Tynecastle this afternoon (arguably their first tough game since winning at Parkhead), and crumbled under the pressure.
What makes the win so vital is that Celtic will now be top of the table outright when Rangers catch up on games played. It’s a massive morale-booster for the club, and spirits at Parkhead will be raised after that game today, regardless of whether we’re involved or not.
It also couldn’t be more timely when you look at the fixtures coming up. Celtic travel to St Johnstone on Wednesday night – the first of six away games in our next seven matches. Four of them will come in the Premiership. What motivation the team will now have to hold their lead over the Ibrox side.
It’s also the first time a team outside Celtic have managed to turn Rangers over this season. For our own title ambitions, that’s a priceless thing to see. With Hearts still bottom of the Premiership, it’s positive for us to see that sides can get at them outside of ourselves.
Moving forward, this will mean nothing if we show the same weak mentality that Rangers did. They consistently seem to bottle it when they have a chance to have a shot at the top. Had they caught up with games in hand and won them, that’s what would’ve happened.
So a big thanks to Stendel for a big pendulum swing in the title race tonight. Here’s hoping we can now keep the confidence flowing on Wednesday.