Big Game Hunting
Looks like the board and nearly everyone else called this wrong when they requested that the SPFL put tomorrow’s game as far back in the calendar as possible,with a view to fans being allowed back to watch matches by now. It is the last match in the original eleven game round robin before the next cycle begins,and if anything the chances of fan attendance grow ever more remote by the day-or the latest official update.
No-one can make any plans to do hellish much these days,with new restrictions now being introduced with little more than a 24-hour notice period. I could have been in Scotland for a fortnight at the moment,but changed my mind five weeks ago now,fearing the worst. Where am I gonna stay if two households can’t mix together-the garden shed? A total screw up by various executive arms of the governments we foolishly empower at the ballot box,even if only due to the lack of serious opposition. In addition to the game going on during a lockdown period in Scotland,with pubs closed entirely across the Central Belt,nobody thought to take into account that tomorrow’s match would immediately follow an international break. With all the travelling which that entails.
Nobody saw it coming,they will tell you. And I’ll tell you that these pages informed you all as early as March that Euro 20 would have to be postponed due to the outbreak,and that there was a very high probability that it would be put back till 2022 to ensure a finish to curtailed club competitions in this present season.
I couldn’t get a bet on that at the time as the bookies were shut!
So we are where we are,and as always,we play with the hand we are dealt. As it stands,we have lost four players during the international break,all of whom would certainly have been either playing or on the bench. Additionally we will definitely be without Forrest,and even if Ajeti and Jullien return,they are likely to be way short of match fitness. And it’s not as though we can blithely risk them and worry about the fallout later,as our next two matches are against Aberdeen-one in the league,with the second being last season’s delayed cup semi final,going for our twelfth consecutive trophy.
To read the newspapers and various online sites,watch the telly,listen to the radio,it seems to be a foregone conclusion. The huns are the best team in the world and we are rubbish. Casually ignoring that we are outscoring them and have a higher points per match ratio. Of course we are a weakened squad due to the international fiasco,who wouldn’t be weaker by losing players of their quality?
Overlooking one simple fact,that it is only Celtic who have players of their quality to lose in the first place.
How many of us have said that there isn’t a player in their side who would be guaranteed a slot in ours? My money is on Neil Lennon still having the players available to beat the best that they can muster. From what I can see,they are at full strength,and they even have their top referee in charge. Doubtless with wee Toryboy running the line. They can do their damnedest,and even in adversity like this,I’m confident that we will prevail.
Celtic teams in the past have faced bigger obstacles than this. That big display of The Greats that wraps around our stadium is testament to the simple fact that Celtic Park is a home of legends,a place where a footballer can earn his name in the pantheon.
Nobody will let us down tomorrow,because the players know how important this is. They know that a win tomorrow-against all the odds-will deal a huge blow to the mentality of the visitors. A win tomorrow will knock them back,it could be a blow which brings their usual New Year paralysis forward by ten weeks and puts us a huge step closer to our ultimate goal of ten in a row. And two wins at Hampden in the upcoming weeks will give us Treble Number Four as well.
No point in crying into our pints-even those who are lucky enough to still be able to go out for one. Celtic Park is a place of legends,and these players already know what it takes. There’s room on that display for a few more faces.
It’s up to the players to earn it.
Above article by BMCUWP