After the turmoil of Paris Saint-Germain, Celtic return to domestic duty tomorrow with the visit of Ross County. County won on the opening day of the season but have taken only one point from 15 since. They have been a soft touch for several teams in crisis recently, so in theory, this looks like a straightforward challenge for the champions.
This is the first of two games in the next five days, the other, a League Cup tie away to bottom club Dundee. After this, we go to Ibrox then Brussels. Without wanting to be overfly disrespectful to Ross County or Dundee (or, indeed, overly respectful to Newco), we should have two objectives for the next two games:
Rest limbs and minds which have been intensely exercised by international and Champions League football.
Intensely exercise limbs that have seen little action this season. Specifically Dedryck Boyata, Moussa Dembele and Patrick Roberts.
Patrick could do with a full 90 minutes. He was our best performer on Tuesday, but he’s clearly suffering from a lack of game time. Dedryck has targeted a starting place at Ibrox for months. To achieve this, he will need to play a lot of football this week.
There’s no guarantee Moussa would dislodge Leigh Griffiths from the line-up at Ibrox, even if fully fit, but the Champions League game away to Anderlecht is a different tie. This has to be his target, which leaves little time to build his sharpness.
Perhaps most importantly of all, I would rest Scott Brown tomorrow. The games ahead are simply too important to have images of a fatigued Scott fresh in the mind. Brendan should also consider a place for Lustig, Armstrong and Tierney on the bench.
Win tickets for Ibrox
Celtic sponsor, Intelligent Car Leasing, have given us two tickets for the visit to Ibrox on 23 September to raffle for Mary’s Meals. You know the script:
Over 3,000 children in Malawi and Liberia eat a school meal each day because of the money raised by CQN’ers.
You are improving lives, educating a generation in some of the most deprived locations in the world. School attendance has increased an average of 30%, literacy and numeracy skills improve. Life-long opportunities are enhanced.
To enter the raffle, answer this question:
Which Belgian team will Celtic face in this season’s Champions League?
Please donate a minimum of £5 to this MyDonate page. Then forward your confirmation email with your answer in the SUBJECT LINE to firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to you and Intelligent Car Leasing.
NEW CQN PODCAST OUT NOW, BEHIND THE SCENES AT HAMILTON v CELTIC WITH BT SPORT AND AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS SUTTON – LISTEN BELOW