Make or Break – Ten Days To Rescue The Season
I’ve had well over 100 hours to come to terms with Saturday,but frankly I won’t get over it till I fall over it. Not a shot on target,and barely looked like managing one either. A team selection and formation that had me crying into my beer before the game even kicked off,and a group of players with as much desire and fight as Denis Healey’s famous dead sheep. Well,we have about 250 hours now to get things back on track.
We start tonight with our first Europa League group stage match,at home to AC Milan. That campaign continues in a week’s time with a visit to France to play Lille. As luck would have it,both teams are currently top of their respective leagues despite the presence of some genuine giants of the game in Juventus and PSG. Crikey,that Pot One placement really worked the oracle for us,didn’t it? We really do seem to pull the short straw every season in the quality of opposition that we get in these competitions,but heyho,them’s the breaks. We know who we are playing and we know why we need to do.
Of course,in this season of all seasons,I think it’s fair to say that Europe comes a distant second to the main prize,and that is our pursuit of the fabled Ten In A Row. But that is not to say that we simply write off the European campaign. Even though I’m not holding out much hope for it,we really need to get our mojo back and soon,and those two games,with little pressure on the players and management,should be just the place to make a start.
Don’t get me wrong,I’m not expecting much from them,but what we need now,what we should all be demanding as the absolute bare minimum,is two decent performances of the kind that puts a smile back on our faces and restores some pride. And more importantly,some confidence.
The importance of these games pales into insignificance beside the importance of the two domestic games we face,both of them Sunday kick offs against Aberdeen. The first one is at Pittodrie and is in the league,and this is already a league campaign where every game has taken on the status of a must win affair. We have already squandered the initiative to our despised rivals,who will be buzzing and on a high after last Saturday. Four points in front,albeit a game more played,and we can’t afford for them to put daylight between us and them. So,indeed,a must win affair. Especially as there is the small matter of us playing at least one and hopefully two Scottish Cup ties in the coming weeks,and even if we win all our games between now and then,there is every chance that we could be ten points behind them come the start of December.
Not a good place to be,and particularly not in a season which could see the campaign curtailed with the title decided on a points per game basis.
The final match of the four in question is of course the delayed semi final from last season’s Scottish Cup,and we want to win that tie plus the final to give us that glorious fourth successive treble. Hell knows,I could do with something to smile about,that’s for sure! Two decent performances in Europe and two domestic wins might just about manage that.
So how do we go about it,and more to the point,how did we get to the stage we are now in where there are even questions like this being raised? Well,you’ll all have seen our displays so far this season,and frankly they’ve been little better than shambolic and uninspiring,with the exception possibly of the Hibs game. Why has this happened?
Well,there are a lot of injury problems-which is nothing new to Celtic,of course. The incidence and regularity of them really does raise question marks against either the training methods or the playing surfaces at Lennoxtown,even if we all know that the casual violence our players face on the pitch in most games is probably a factor too. There are also the Covid-19 absentees,which have affected our squad disproportionately-and as I’ve said before,it is wishful thinking to imagine that the players who are suffering from it will be back and fighting fit right away. Playing James Forrest every match when he had a stress fracture in his foot is rank bad management as well as being completely unnecessary.
Some of the new signings are taking their time to settle in,while some of our longer serving players have been significantly off the pace so far,and our insistence on playing three at the back looks a tad risky if we only have two fit and experienced centre backs available. Up front,our talismanic Frenchman has been unrecognisable this season,Griff needs to get his finger out,while Klimala needs to realise that he isn’t going to score goals if he keeps dropping back to our half of the pitch. Ajeti has simply been unlucky,having picked up a hamstring injury just as he was making the spot his own,while Elyounoussi,what can I say that you’ve not said yourselves?
But that’s not to say that NL is blameless here either. Far too often already this season,he has presented us with a team sheet that has us scratching our heads. And then putting needles through our eyes as the game goes on. Frankly too many of the people we put our faith in every time,be that management or players,have been stealing a wage this season.
It has to stop. I don’t know what is happening in their heads at the moment,but they need to get their focus back. They know damn well how important this season is to the fans,to the club,to their own place in history. It’s high time they showed that they cared,high time that they put in a shift in a professional manner.
The malaise,the rot,call it what you will,has to be consigned to the bin. It has gone on too long already.
Above article by BMCUWP. If you have something to get off your chest,let us know and we will publish it. Mail MAHE