I’d a look at the fixture list preseason and didn’t expect we’d be top of the table so early, having played only three games with 10 teams having played four, and two of those games coming against our nearest challengers from last season.
But we stepped up to the task. The earlier win at Tynecastle and beating Aberdeen 4-1 on Saturday has issued a warning to all. Bookmakers are offering Celtic’s title odds of between 2/9 and 1/7, and have created a separate ‘Betting without Celtic’ competition. One of Brendan’s jobs will be to remind players that they need to earn the points every time the whistle goes. Defeats come quickly to teams operating at 95%.
Not that we had it all our own way on Saturday. Aberdeen disrupted our rhythm and passing in the middle part of the game. You can see how Brendan has changed the way we use the ball in possession, but there’s still a bit of work to do for it to become more natural looking.
The goals were outstanding. Leigh Griffiths’ effort would be immortalised in song, if one of the Barcelona players due to visit Celtic Park soon had managed it. Tom Rogic’s technique is of particular importance.
Celtic face a lot of packed defences; having someone able to reliably hit an unstoppable shot from around 22 yards changes how a defence will shape up to play us. This is a player Leeds United thought they could buy for £1m recently.
I was pleased to see Dorus de Vries make his debut. He had little to do, and could do nothing about the Aberdeen goal, but if he’s to be relied upon in any of the important games ahead he needed an outing as a Celtic player.
It was equally important Erik Sviatchenko came through 90 minutes with Kolo Toure. The defence is set for some almighty challenges ahead, and will need to face them with little common game-time to allow partnerships to be cemented.
There’s a degree of trepidation for the Champions League task ahead, but pretenders to our domestic dominance beware: evidence mounts that this is a good Celtic team – one which will continue to improve for some time to come.