It isn’t an example of Stockholm syndrome that lies behind Moritz Bauer expressing sympathy for Jordan Jones.
There is a more prosaic reason why Celtic’s on-loan Stoke City full-back goes beyond simply harbouring no hard feelings towards the Northern Ireland winger over the wild and wilful lunge that earned him a red card in the closing moments of the champions’ 2-0 Old Firm derby win at Ibrox a week past on Sunday. Bauer is patently a decent sort.
The 27-year-old Austrian international was fortunate to walk away from a potentially season-wrecking challenge. Perpetrator Jones did not, hobbling off with ligament damage after his crowd-pleasing clatter went horribly wrong. To the Celtic defender that is a source of genuine regret. Even if there looked plenty, he refuses to believe there was true malicious intent in the challenge and feels that Jones atoned as best he could by phoning the next day to apologise.
“I’m sorry for him because, whoever you play for, no-one wants to see an opponent injured. I was lucky because I wasn’t injured but I don’t think about ‘what if?’ because that doesn’t get you anywhere – it’s a waste of energy,” said Bauer, whose Celtic debut that day as a substitute was “something special” that “couldn’t have been better”.
“I think it showed character on Jordan’s behalf that he took the trouble to call me and say he was sorry. As bad as his tackle was, it was good that he made the effort to do that. I’m pleased with that reaction.
“I’ve played in other derbies and I know how emotional things can get. This was a great fixture and everyone could see there was so much tension involved during the build-up and these kind of things happen – when you’re losing 2-0 at home it can be frustrating. I don’t think that tackle would have happened in the first minute.
“He had also come on as a substitute and sometimes you’re not really into the rhythm of the game. We’re all good and we can move forward. I’ve made bad tackles during my career, although I’ve never been sent off… and I was surprised when I saw the red card for Jordan because it hadn’t hurt that much at the time.
“You don’t plan on making bad tackles. They happen because of your momentum… or because you are tired and your timing is off… or because you are frustrated. And just being one second late can make it look ugly. But I don’t believe there are too many red-card tackles where players deliberately go in to hurt the other guy.”
The impression that Bauer made at Ibrox wasn’t restricted to appearing impervious to injury. He exhibited a booming throw-in that was later clocked at almost 37 yards . He doesn’t see the tactic being one a passing team such as Celtic will employ as regularly as his parent club Stoke famously did courtesy of ultimate specialist in this depertment Rory Delap.
But Bauer does concede it can be a handy weapon to have in your armoury, for which he can thank an under-18 coach at first club FC Winterthur in his native Switzerland, Bauer also holding Austrian citizenship through his father.
“When I was converted to a right-back as a youngster the coach said that as important as dribbling and crossing was to wingers, the throw-in was vital to the full-backs because almost every ball that goes out is for the full-back,” said Bauer.
“At Stoke City I spoke to Rory and even he said it’s a difficult skill to teach. A bit like golf, it’s more about the technique and timing than the power.
“When you are under pressure you can throw the ball in the other half but I joked that it’s maybe the strong Scottish wind that made it fly so far!
“It’s good because if you are 1-0 down at the end of a game then you can get the defenders into the box and create some chaos. It’s a good asset to have.”