Having rested nine players from Sunday, last night’s result and performance was inconceivably good. There were several star performers but I thought Anthony Ralston and David Turnbull put in shifts that may go below radar, but were both outstanding.
Callum McGregor made the most of his freedom to move forward to catch the County defence sleeping at a corner kick. The unlikely amount of space he had inside the box was punished with remarkable simplicity.
Giorgos Giakoumakis did what Giorgos Giakoumakis does. He was a handful for the home defence throughout, taking some industrial treatment in the process, but got his goal and could have added more.
Sead Haksabanovicat hasn’t played in 12 weeks and only signed with Celtic a week ago. I did not expect to see him until near the end of September and, during the game, was adamant his was on the subs bench only to help him integrate with the squad.
I am happy to put a caveat before what I’m going to suggest, specifically, this Celtic team could make you or I look good, but what an impressive 15 minutes we saw of him last night. He is direct, can cross and shoot, and was always available. He is a player.
You and I have been doing this stuff on deadline day for a long time. Never have we been so chilled out. Never has the Celtic squad looked so complete. Never have the “just one more player would guarantee the league” brigade been so prosaic. In that time, we have seen a lot of great Celtic teams, several sides that progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League and completed four trebles.
For years, Callum McGregor played more football than any other player on the planet. He coped admirably, but this did his development and longevity in the game no favours.
Oliver Abildgaard is a defensive mid in the peak of his career who may become the third capture from our development club in the east. Whether he arrives or not, you have never seen as comprehensive a Celtic squad.
One more thing, as Columbo used to say. I am very familiar with the precarious finances across the city, which continue to underpin our second successive Generation of Domination. But even I’m surprised at their lack of transfer spend so far this window. Has financial realism finally reached Ibrox after 34 years of havoc?
Let’s not tempt provenance, there are hours left and all this strategic stuff will feel inappropriate if the result doesn’t go our way on Saturday (it will only feel that way), but despite A Europa final, Champions League group stage and all those player sales, this window indicates the depths of their problems.