After losing at home to Newco last month Motherwell comfortably overcame three lower league sides in the League Cup before delivering an excellent win at Rugby Park on the opening day of the league season. They will pitch up at Celtic Park tonight hopeful of catching Celtic with their eye on the European prize.
For Brendan Rodgers tonight will not only be an important cup game he wants to win, it’s another opportunity to improve the fitness of his squad ahead our Summer Cup Finals against Hapoel Beer Shiva, the first of which takes place one week from today.
Having only played 30 minutes so far this season, Scott Sinclair will be behind the rest of the squad in terms of match fitness and may be asked to play 90 minutes tonight. Stefan Johansen is another who could do with a full game under his belt. As for the others, it’s a balance between building endurance but making sure they get enough rest ahead of next week.
Tom Rogic’s new contract has been universally welcomed. I was late to the Rogic Appreciation Society, but it all came together last season. One of the specifics he brings is the ability to shoot from outside the box. Celtic play against packed defences most weeks (Scott Sinclair will learn that the space he exploited at Tynecastle on Sunday will be a rarity), so being able to take a pop from distance offers vital variation.
Keep an eye on Aidan Nesbitt’s progress on loan at Morton until January. Aidan (19) was at Partick Thistle for the second half of last season. Young, creative players don’t get prime billing in the bottom half of the Premiership, so a move to the Championship should give him a better platform to but on his precocious talents.
No mistakes tonight, Celtic.