STUART ARMSTRONG today contemplated lining up with his Celtic teammates at Ibrox on Saturday without captain Scott Brown, who deservedly won the man of the match at Hampden on Sunday.
Armstrong had one of his quieter games in the Scottish Cup semi-final as Brown ran the show. Callum McGregor of course grabbed the spotlight himself with his sensational pass into the Sevco net early in the match.
But for all the creative flair of Armstrong, McGregor and Tom Rogic in the Celtic midfield, the one man that allows them all to play is the skipper. Armstrong made all the right noises. The team could go there on Saturday and there would be others who could come in should Brown’s appeal against his sending off up at Ross County be rejected.
So this evening the Celtic players will be absolutely delighted that their captain is available to play at Ibrox but instead will miss the match at Parkhead against St Johnstone and the Friday evening away trip to Pittodrie in 3 weeks.
Looking back on Sunday’s comfortable 2-0 win over Sevco Rangers, Armstrong wasn’t ready to say it was a stroll in the park.
“I wouldn’t describe it as an easy game, as they never are,” he said. “It was a big game, a big semi-final and a lot of pressure on it, and I thought we played very well and controlled the game in parts and got what we came for – a place in the final.
“You can never predict how a team will play but it will be a tough place to go. They will want to win as much as we do and it will be tough. We don’t really think about the opposition in the sense that we think more about ourselves and how we can best operate from game to game, and that’s worked quite well for us.
“We don’t think about what each game means, it’s all about playing each for what it is and for three points. When it gets to the end of the reason, we can reflect on it.”
Armstrong is looking for his own treble this weekend. He scored the fifth goal in the 5-1 game in September and last month he opened the scoring in the second league match at Celtic Park against the new club. A goal on Saturday will deliver Armstrong his very own personal treble. Talking about the first goal, he reflected.
“It was a big moment for me as I came off the bench in that game. Making an impact is something you always want to do as a substitute to stake a place in the team. I managed to get into the team not so long after that so that was a big moment for me personally.
“As we have done all season we will take it game-by-game.
“It has worked for us so far so we will stick to that method. Everyone is just focused on training and another big game on Saturday, and finishing the season really well.
“When the season is all said and done, we can reflect then on the positives and highlights of the season, but for now we don’t dwell on statistics, we take it game by game.”