Them’s the breaks. Every season shall see an element of luck and some of the opposite, Saturday it was our turn for the rub of the green, while happily rubbing blue up the wrong way.
I felt the starting line up really showed our newfound squad depth. Used to seeing Taylor and Jota out on the right, Scales and Forrest were different, with the aim probably to provide the ‘first choice’ duo a bit of rest.
Hatate, Bitton and O’Reilly graced the middle of the park, which is a far cry from the usual stalwarts Calmac,DT and Tam.
Tony slotting in for JJ is another example of first team ready players not only available but deemed suitable by our Greek Australian.
This makes me wonder, does Ange have a starting eleven in his mind, or is the situation fluid with anyone called up on any given day?
I very much like the idea, I recall Potchetino didn’t have a first choice eleven but rather two players constantly rotating for each position.
I’m sure there was an element of withholding some to keep them fresh with Wednesdays huge clash in mind, but given the dropped points earlier in the day and the subsequent enhanced pressure, calling upon several fringe was very gutsy and has backfired before.
Given it was at home and who we play next I understand, but it was almost a bridge too far. Almost.
Now in fairness, the manager couldn’t have reacted to the earlier result and dropped points, nor would I want him to. The team would have been known earlier in the day if not the day before, it would be extremely unprofessional and hurt morale to change things last minute and maybe callup Jota, JJ and Taylor at the expense of others. That we pulled through and delivered the maximum points was vital, but it’s disappointing our starters didn’t impose themselves and score a few.
Ange got away with it and that won’t happen everytime.
I’m not complaining though. We started the first half of the season wobbly, but have started the second half swimmingly with four wins out of four, exactly what the doctor ordered. It was hugely important to approach Wednesday’s game with no further points dropped, task complete.
Others only wish they could say the same.
I don’t believe the title shall be decided by a large margin, not double digits, which makes every dropped point huge in terms of the bigger picture. Saturday’s victory might not be remembered as the game momentum swung, that’s next up, but wins such as that decide the title’s destination.
As for our match winner, he’s like a greyhound, fast out of the blocks. He burst upon the scene as soon as joining, starting the first half of the season spiffingly well, was referred to as a snip and potentially a big profit maker upon departure.
He tailed off, found himself with competition in James, and occasionally warmed the bench.
Many correctly stated inconsistency is prevalent among younger players.
As such there was no reason to suspect he would again explode upon the scene but Boom!, he only goes and starts the second half of the season just like the first!
Haven’t a Scooby why, maybe the competition forced him to raise his game, maybe he’s truly settled into his new life, but if Ange can stop him from tailing off the young Israeli shall become a huge player for Celtic. That in itself brings global footballing recognition, at his tender age the potential to improve is obvious, he has a fantastic platform to both learn and display his skillset.
Jota is clearly going to have a good career and has more natural ability, but he’s not ours. Having thrown us a mixed bag in the past, Dudu Dahan unearthed a diamond in the rough with Liel Abada.
Watching him mature should be a real pleasure.
You don’t need me to tell you which team enters the midweek clash under the most pressure. Beating them while reaching the summit would be a hammer blow.
They had a tough six weeks post break, could have placed one hand on the trophy with a maximum or close points haul, but instead opened the door offering their rivals the opportunity of a never to be forgotten, title swinging victory under the floodlights.
If there’s one thing we know about Ange, it’s that when opportunity knocks, he answers.
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Enjoy your week.