It is a quirk of scheduling that between now and the World Cup break, that we have three games at Celtic Park and two at Fir Park Motherwell, the first coming during rush hour this evening. After a straightforward win over Hibs on Saturday, we embark on what looks like a challenging run of fixtures.
Four of the next five games are on the road: tonight’s League Cup game, Hearts on Saturday, after Shakhtar at home we play on Livingston’s plastic, before an evening in Madrid. Four wins and a draw may be enough!
If the players want a wakeup call on the dangers they face tonight, they need look no further back to the 2-1 win at home to Motherwell at the start of this month. Motherwell created little but managed to score before forcing Callum McGregor into a late foul, which he was red carded for. We can expect as much of a robust challenge tonight.
League Cup fixtures draw the eye less than those in the Champions League, or in a tight Premiership race, but that changes on the result. Win, and we have a Hampden occasion to look forward to, lose and we open up a whole new front. We have won six of the last eight League Cups. Prior to this period, it took us 38 years to win the same trophy six times, a period of frustration still not exercised.