For decades the League Cup was relegated to secondary importance when we had league games ahead. Brendan Rodgers turned this on its head four years ago. Before a League Cup semi-final against Hearts at Murryfield, he rested players for a Europa League game at Leipzig: Morgan, Gamboa and Kouassi started while Christie came on as a half-time substitute for Ntcham. Christie was a half-a-game away from his rebirth as a contender.
You have probably not looked ahead at the weekend’s fixtures yet, but we have a top of the table clash on Saturday. Tonight, however, we are in Dingwall to face Ross County in the League Cup. County are second bottom of the table, having lost to Celtic at home, and away to Hearts, St Mirren and Newco. Their only points came in a 1-0 win over Kilmarnock.
Unfortunately, you and I have too many sore memories of cup exits to Ross County teams. We also remember Celtic pitching up for cup games after memorable wins and getting turfed out (St Mirren and Inverness). We have a genuine dilemma tonight.
Ange Postecoglou also has objectives other than just winning the next few games. He has to prepare a squad for the rigours of the season. This may well mean dropping Callum McGregor for Aaron Mooy, while giving James Forrest, Stephen Welsh, Scott Bain and Alexandro Bernabei a start. We also have to hope Giorgos Giakoumakis is fit enough for an hour anyway.
It is inconceivable that Celtic will not rest players tonight, but the resulting disruption should not be easily dismissed.