18 Days that will define Celtic’s season – and possibly the January Transfer Window…
Now that the interruption of the International Break is over, we can start talking about football again!
Starting on Saturday, Celtic have 6 games in 18 days that will go a long way in defining our season and will possibly greatly influence our spending in January.
We have 3 SPL games against Motherwell in Paradise (Sat 15th October); Ross County in Dingwall (Wed 26th October); and Aberdeen at Pittodrie (29th October). We should be looking for 9 points from these games.
Our closest challengers, Aberdeen, Hearts and St Johnstone, have potentially tricky games in that period and I expect all 3 to drop points. That will allow us to open up a healthy gap of probably more than 6 points with a game in hand. At this stage of the season that is a significant gap which I expect to increase before the turn of the year. We are well on the way to 6 in a row, and these next 3 games should continue that progress.
Working on the basis that it would need a monumental disaster to lose the league, this puts us in a strong position to pursue the treble. Our next obstacle will be to secure the first trophy of the season, the League Cup. The Deid Co Tribute Act (nominally known as The Rangers) stand in our way. OK, that may be overstating it a bit; we meet them in the semi-final at Hampden on Sunday 23rd October. Based upon their lack of talent in either the coaching or playing staff; our vastly superior squad; and the fact that we easily pumped them 5-1 in September, I fancy another easy Sunday afternoon stroll. The sideshow that should follow will, I imagine, be highly entertaining:
• Who will be the Escaped Goat now that Joseph Francis is banished to the Naughty Step?
• Will the Magic Pratt finally lose his “RESPECTFUL” persona?
• Will Senderos and Hill still be chasing shadows on the Monday?
• Will Glib & Shameless be checking out the ground as an option when they are decanted from Ibrox?
• What “illegal” activity will Jabba the Gut invent for the following week’s back page of the redtops?
This list could go on and on!
That leads us to the 2 (some would say most important) games against Borussia Monchengladbach at Celtic Park on the 19th of October and at Borussia-Park on 1st November.
These 2 games will define whether or not we have European football after Christmas. Borussia have 0 points from 2 games and we have 1. By beating them at Celtic Park, we will be travelling to Germany knowing that this would mean a draw in Germany leaves them having to beat Barcelona AND Manchester City to have any chance of finishing third. If we beat them at home and draw with them in Germany even a win and a draw in their last 2 games would see us finish 3rd with 5 points. This is based upon on the head-to-head results between the teams and is assuming we lose both our final games.
So these are 2 massive games for the Club. When Monchengladbach come calling next week and face the stunning atmosphere inside Celtic Park, they could easily freeze. If we start with the same intensity as we did against Manchester City, I would expect to beat them; they don’t have the same quality as Man City so will find it difficult to press us back as Man City did at times.
Success over the next 3 weeks will put us in a great position in the trophy hunt and add another couple of million to the Champions League money through gate receipts and points bonuses. The prospect of the extra income from the ECL and from (at least) the Europa League will leave the Club in a stronger position and will (hopefully) loosen the purse strings for Brendan Rodgers to strengthen the squad in January. Even getting into the Europa League from this CL Group will show prospective playing targets that Celtic are a club that are progressing well and can compete effectively in Europe; it makes us an even more attractive option.
Now I’m not suggesting this will be another Seville Season, but I would be hopeful that if we get through to the Europa League we could potentially reach the quarter- or semi-finals with favourable draws.
Brendan Rodgers and his coaching staff have instilled great belief in this squad; something that is even more remarkable after the 7-0 drubbing in Camp Nou. The players have belief, so should we. We could be sitting pretty at the start of November; let’s get behind the Bhoys and keep the faith!
Written by VFR800 for CQN. If you would like to write a feature for CQN please email firstname.lastname@example.org