David Moyes praises Celtic despite friendly shellacking from West Ham

By Euan Davidson

July 24, 2021

West Ham United boss David Moyes made an emotional return to Celtic Park today. Having grown up a Bhoys supporter, Moyes spent three years in the Green and White as a player.

Now a manager of significant repute, Moyes had been tentatively linked to the Celtic job in March [Daily Record]. However, he ended up finishing sixth in the Premier League with West Ham, and is keen to build on his successes.

Today represented an opportunity for his charges to gain some fitness and find form. They certainly did that. 6-2 it finished, with ex-Celtic winger Armstrong Okoflex even getting on the scoresheet. However, Moyes was in a complimentary mood after the game.

Moyes told football.london:

“We got a lot of goals which was good from that point of view. But look, we needed the workout. I thought we were pretty good for periods of the first half, it was a tough game in the first half.

“At the start of the second half, Celtic were better for 10-15 minutes and then we got our fourth goal after they made it back to 3-2. After that, the game sort of ended a little bit then, but overall it was a good workout for us, it was another tough game for us.

“We are a bit behind the Scottish teams at the moment in our preparations and obviously, we are waiting on quite a few players coming back as well. So we are trying to give ourselves a chance at the moment. This was a really tough game for us, Celtic played very well.”

West Ham boss David Moyes strikes diplomatic tone on his return to Celtic Park

Fine, admittedly, there are truths here. Celtic did start brightly and positively. Ryan Christie was getting some excellent touches, moving the ball on well. Liel Abada was driving at defenders, combining to decent effect with Odsonne Edouard.

Callum McGregor’s goal was sumptuous, and he looks confident with the armband on.

But it’s safe to say not everyone would agree with Moyes’ assessment. Least of all Chris Sutton, who blasted the board on Live TV.

Photo by Jeff Holmes/Getty Images

Obviously, this was a friendly. It was never going to have the feel of a European night at Celtic Park, whether it had been full or, as it was today, at an 18,500 capacity. The intensity just wasn’t there. You’d hope that in a competitive scenario, Celtic will be far better than they showed today.

Fair play to Moyes here. It’s not as if he was going to start laughing at us, or chant “easy, easy”, but he’s probably doing Celtic a bit of a service by saying it was a “tough game”.

Maybe it was, in parts. But for Celtic fans, there were some very worrying signs indeed.

In other news: the man Ange Postecoglou wants to keep at Celtic