Football is all about the creation and utilisation of space. The first thing Leigh Griffiths did to create the goal last night was leave space in the box for him to exploit. If Leigh occupied the traditional centre forward position, there would have been no space for him to leave his marker and the goal would not have happened. This is a striking example of football intelligence.
Until that moment, Celtic were disarmingly impotent. Too often this season we have been dependent on opponents making a defensive mistake, and, if like St Mirren they don’t, we look laboured.
It was difficult to assess Filip Benkovic against St Mirren on Friday, he was never pressed and was skinned once, but you could see what all the fuss was about last night. The Croat looks the real deal: fast, good in the air and comfortable on the ball. He will take more responsibility in the weeks to come.
Celtic improved when Brendan Rodgers abandoned his initial plan on 57 mins, replacing Tom Rogic and Forrest with Scott Sinclair and Mikey Johnston. Almost immediately, Callum McGregor burst into newly available space (my word of the day) in the box. From then on Rosenborg were under pressure. The entire stadium knew the game was there to be won, we just needed our chief goal-scorer on the field.
When managers break transfer records for a player they are keen to play him, but leaving Odsonne alone inside the box isn’t working. We have options for Rugby Park on Sunday, but our treble goes on the line at the League Cup quarter-final at McDiarmid on Wednesday. We need to be ready for it.
I’m nine days from the Great Scottish Run half marathon, which I’m totally unprepared for. The ‘Why did I say I’d do this?’ thought has occurred, but you know why. If you and I cannot do our best for the Celtic FC Foundation, we are missing a whole lot of what it means to be Celtic.
The Foundation means we can connect right back to that hall in Calton in November 1887, when Bro Walfrid said, “Let’s form a football team to help feed the poor.” This is where we came from and, if you and I have any say in the matter, it remains a central part of where we are going.