Celtic losing this weeks off field battle.
I recall heading into a few derby weeks with injury worries, but this is taking the biscuit.
Not only do we have to worry about a bog standard injury hurting any of our numerous players away with their international teams, but with many camps seeing Covid rip through them we are basically left wondering who next?
Our thoughts go out to those infected, and once again we are making a huge assumption that they as professional athletes will be able to perform to the same level post virus.
However there is no doubt now that this round of international games was a bridge too far. We are seeing sports teams undertake journeys Joe Plumber isn’t allowed to take, and we will now live with the inevitable results.
At the time of writing we are down four players but right here, right now it would feel incredibly fortunate to see only that amount ruled out.
Shane in particular must be a huge worry with his Ireland camp riddled, after visiting three different countries who woulda thunk it.
The club themselves are correct in their assertion releasing players in the current climate needs looked at, but I do have some sympathy with them here in that they have merely complied with the rules but will feel heavily punished.
Hopefully their little plea doesn’t fall on deaf ears.
The players should always be allowed to represent their nation if called, that must be sacrosanct. There is a case to made that Nir should not have travelled after injury, but that’s an inhouse matter.
They are the pawns here and its for the governing bodies and clubs to sort out. But if they prove incapable of common sense decisions that offer a firm degree of protection to those they represent, them the players themselves must make their own decision with regards to their safety.
Now we know the team bubble worked, but the international one doesn’t, any player with a high risk family member must be contemplating withdrawal on safety grounds.
If there are more international games, we should all expect a lot of player shuffling.
The SFA though, talk about bad timing. On the day it breaks they have borrowed 5million from future UEFA revenue, those very games sew chaos and no doubt we will hear some weighty calls to cancel cross border tournaments until a vaccine is freely available.
On the loan itself one wonders just where exactly it will end up, should it help to prop up the lower league clubs or grassroots then fair enough.
But should it simply become more wages for the already too numerous suits that have some title or other over there, that would be an absolute disgrace worthy of an official enquiry.
I don’t recall them automatically accepting wage cuts at the start of this pandemic, despite being very generously staffed with many perks.
Borrowing that sum is a sign things are bad. Remember, they go under we go under, and they ain’t the brightest or most honest.
A huge alarm bell started ringing with the loan news.
And they aren’t very smart as they continue to be easily out maneuvered by the Ibrox folks, plus now they are allowing precedent to be set in regards to the derby.
Should the match go ahead whilst we are without the services of some important first team players then we shall expect the very same should our title rival suffer the same fate when building up to a future derby.
This precedent, once set, must be adhered to without excuses.
Ourselves,,, well there’s plenty times we’ve done ourselves proud in the face of adversity. As my partner in crime succinctly pointed out yesterday the team talk is already written.
Those drafted in won’t be judged on this performance alone, but how many times has a man been drafted in for a big tie only to shine bright, eclipsing the rest ala Marshall in the Nou Camp?
Those coming into the team will realise this a huge chance to stake a proper claim, something many a player will relish.
Our squad is the best in the land, and can cope without four players no problem, three positions in reality when you consider Nir and El Hamed compete for the same spot these days.
If we can keep our keeper and mainstays of defence together ( Kris, Julienne, Shane) that would be a great start.
Midfield has a plethora of options, and Odsonne wasn’t looking too hot anyway, so perhaps the changes we are forced to make aren’t the killer blows some would have you believe just landed.
If anything the pressure has increased on our rivals with these circumstances. Many Tims would say we have nothing to lose now, and a defeat would be placed at Covids feet, unless an absolute collapse of course. If you’re going to lose a derby the first would be best as theres plenty time to regain those points, and if its lost whilst nowhere near full strength then the victor cannot rest on their laurels too much, or claim clear supremacy.
A defeat this weekend would be far from definitive, only a fool would argue that.
However should a weakened rival you believe there for the taking emerge victorious, that victory would resonate much louder bringing most unwanted early season pressure and questions to a dug out that were tipped to lift silverware soon.
We have it all to win here, they have it all to lose. I know which position I would rather be in.
A crisis? Nah. Shuffling the pack merely.
Our starting eleven was unclear anyway plus our new left winger is a mystery to the rival bench.
Patrick Klimala might even start up front and that lad looks seriously hungry,really out to impress, and sits on the shoulder offering something different.
Their defenders might have preferred Eddy, better the devil you know and all that.
Derby week has got off to a hell of a start.
Let’s see what today brings us.