This time last year the league was in the bag, as it is today, but we had Champions League football to look forward to in the coming days, and would ultimately go on to win the Scottish Cup. The Champions League is always going to be a hard place to measure progress for a club seeded in pot 4, last season it was hard enough to Benfica, a pot 2 team who were eliminated by Celtic but still progressed to the Europa League final.
Domestic cup performances for Celtic is a more accessible measuring tool. After home defeats to Morton (good grief) and now Aberdeen we may well ask, what went wrong?
It was evident from early in the second half that whatever match plan we had was not effective, and despite the introduction of fresh faces, the performance didn’t improve. Aberdeen defended outside their box very effectively, making it difficult for Celtic to play the kind of passes which Samaras released Stokes with to score early in the game. Forrest found red shirts blocking his path whenever he got going. Commons had a day when nothing sparked. Possession was cheaply conceded throughout as Celtic continued to ask the same question of the Aberdeen defence.
While we are playing in in impoverished Scottish football Aberdeen represent the strongest possible opponents. They are second in the league and were the last team to score against us on merit. Yesterday wasn’t a fluke result, it was deserved and marked the progress of Derek McInnes’ team.
So where does this leave us? Celtic remain imperious in the Premiership, the fact that they’ve not tasted defeat against a weaker team there, or conceded in 11 games, is historically impressive, but against the best of the rest, there are question marks, as there will be for Champions League qualifiers.
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