Hindsight and all that, but looking back, Celtic’s form slipped in mid-April this year. We were imperious until that point, but even wins, like the Scottish Cup semi-final win over Newco, were not as impressive than the League Cup Final win over the same opponents a few weeks earlier.
The season petered out amid home draws against Motherwell and St Mirren and heavy defeats at Ibrox and Easter Road. The Scottish Cup Final win over Inverness was laboured compared to the League Cup Final performance.
Potency was lost when Aaron Mooy was injured in the second week of March. He returned for the odd cameo – one start and three substitute appearances, but the sharpness was gone. Adding to the issue, Cameron Carter-Vickers dropped out of the team after the Scottish Cup semi-final win in April. Aaron is now gone and it has been Cameron’s turn to put in cameo appearances this season.
Watching our midfield this season, it should be clear to all that the other big absence from the side is Reo Hatate. Callum McGregor has been partnered with two from Matt O’Riley, David Turnbull and Odin Holm. Stacks of potential there but we are missing the laser-like craft of Reo, nor have we replaced the strength of Aaron. Until this is addressed, nothing will change.
This is your timely reminder that Carter-Vickers and Jota didn’t join Celtic until deadline day two years ago. Without that day’s business, Tottenham fans would not be able to pronounce the name Postecoglou right now. We are not witnessing a managerial issue, just the normal process of rebuilding a team, while targeting valued players in demand with others fill their trollies with frees and journeymen.
Our own Mouldy67 has suffered injury in recent years, which stopped him participating in the recent Road to Seville cycle event from Celtic Park to the city we descended upon 20 years ago. I spoke to him last week for the video below and asked about his extraordinary work on behalf of the Celtic FC Foundation and the enormous challenge he is about undertake.
He will complete a virtual cycle of over 1,000 miles, including gradients, to raise money for our Foundation. For a man carrying an injury, it is a magnificent commitment, one that is an example to a few in the modern game. It was a moving insight into where we have been as a community in recent years, and Mouldy67’s take on being a Celtic supporter. I recommend it to you.
You can read more about his story, support his cycling and the work of the Foundation by donating here. Thank you.