Knuckling Down-And Taking A Break
With our European adventure over till next season,we can now concentrate our endeavours on the domestic front. For three whole games,until the five week break for The World Cup begins! I know,whose idea was it to have a World Cup in the middle of the season,whose idea was it to hold it in one of the hottest countries in the world,etc.
Well,we know the names of the delegates at the conference where the decision was made,though it might be a bit unfair to blame them personally. Most of them would have been under instructions from their own domestic associations about where to place their vote. How many of them decided against those instructions-for reasons known only to themselves-we will never know. Nor why,though we can guess.
Before we look at the match on Saturday,let’s have a wee ponder on which of our players are likely to be in Qatar later this month. I think Juranovic is nailed on for Croatia,and it will give him the opportunity to use the tournament as a shop window. CCV is a probable,IMO,for the USA. O’Riley is a less likely option for the Denmark squad,which also applies to Jota and Portugal,while Maeda has made the latest cut for Japan.
Speaking of making the latest cut for Japan,Reo and Kyogo will be deeply disappointed not to have done so. Kyogo probably has one more such tournament in him,while Reo has his future ahead of him. Each will still be on a stand-by list should any of their colleagues be unfortunate enough to be forced out late. But overall,I think we will only have two representatives at the tournament. (I expect I’ve missed someone out,so please correct that if so) Is this good news for Celtic,or is it a poor reflection on the quality of our squad?
I think it is likely to be good news for Celtic,as we can concentrate on The Ange Homecoming Tour and some light training,while largely giving the players a mid-season breather. By the time the break comes along,they will have completed more than a dozen games since the start of October alone. Everyone needs the opportunity to recharge the batteries,and they should grasp it with both hands. As for the quality of the squad? No,not so much. The way football has been carved up over the last few years means that few players playing in a smaller league will be there-unless that league’s national team has itself qualified,of course.
There’s no shame in only having two players there. There will be sides in the EPL with less than that,I expect. Get the batteries recharged for the remaining months of the season,that is way more important.
But back to tomorrow. The last time we played Dundee Utd was on a Bank Holiday down here,and I was invited over to stay with Mr and Mrs SOLKITTS for the duration. On the Saturday afternoon,we were killing some time before a tea-time visit to the pub when the latest score at Bournemouth flashed up.
Losing by 9-0 at home to Liverpool! Not only an embarrassment,but as I explained to SOLKITTS,bang out of order by Liverpool. Is it fair to pile on the brakes when you’ve gone,say,six goals up and your fans have travelled about 300 miles at great expense-have you seen the price of a pint in Bournemouth?-just to save the blushes of some fellow professionals? Obviously not,because that was the decision made by the Liverpool players. To just go for it and score as many as possible.
My comment that if they scored ten,it would be shameful for both sides soon came back to bite me on the arse though! Yes,Celtic duly took to the field the following say at Tannadice-and scored nine too. My pleasure outweighed my discomfort,I have to admit. Yes,I felt for the Dundee Utd players,but mainly I was enjoying our performance way too much.
Something about that game,which I mentioned at the time,was the number of our goals which came from similar moves on either wing. A player would have the ball around the corner of the penalty box,draw the defenders and release it inside and towards the goal line for an overlapping colleague to fire low and hard into the six yard box. I think we scored six of our goals that day from doing that.
We haven’t seen enough of that directness and quality since. We could do with more of it,for sure.
As usual,there will be no predictions here for either the scoreline or the selections. Ange will have his own thoughts on the latter,and he can’t understand my accent anyway. One or two areas will probably be subject to the latest injury reports,another one or two will maybe be subject to squad rotation,but the system will largely be the same. I’m certainly fine with that!
Saturday gives us a chance to go seven points clear of our nearest rivals,at least overnight. It is unusual for us to play before them,though we did so a couple of weeks ago when we made heavy weather of it at Tynecastle. Nothing taken for granted by this Celtic supporter,that’s for sure,but by concentrating on the job in hand and playing to our best ability,we have the chance to put the thumbscrews on those rivals.
It’s hard enough to get some kip when there’s fireworks going off all night,but it will hopefully be multiplied by the prospect of being seven points behind by the time the weekend is over. Give them another reason for a sleepless night,Celtic. And do it in style too.
Above article by BMCUWP