It is a trip to Lavtia to play Riga on Thursday in the penultimate Europa League qualification round. Riga progressed after a home win over Tre Fiori of San Marino this morning. Last season they were eliminated from Champions League qualification in the first round by Dundalk on penalties, but they went on to beat Piast Gliwice (Poland) and HJK Helsinki, before losing 3-2 to our eventual eliminators, Copenhagen.
If Celtic cannot overcome Riga in a one-off game we have no right to proceed to the playoff round, never mind the group stage, but they will be far tougher than St Mirren. There is a lot of work to do.
After our fractious start to the season we get a chance to go top of the table tomorrow at home to Livingston. Livi are second bottom of the table, above Motherwell on goals scored. Last term they lost only twice at home, so far this season, they have lost the same number from four games, 1-4 to Hibs and 1-2 to Hamilton. The only ray of sunshine came when they held Newco to a 0-0. They are vulnerable and know neither of the teams around them: Motherwell and Kilmarnock are likely to be relegated.
Going top of the table on the same games played, would pass the pressure to Newco ahead of their visit to Easter Road on Sunday. Leagues are won by applying and coping with pressure, attributes these Celtic players have demonstrated they have in abundance.