After the Bolingoli debacle broke, you will remember reading that Newco could be 11 points clear before Celtic kick a ball. Sure, Celtic had two games in hand, but 11 points is an ominous stretch. We need not have worried, as Livingston kept a clean sheet against Newco in the next game; their lead grew to 9 points, still a stretch, but one we could close by winning our games in hand. That starts tonight, when we face the first catch-up game, against St Mirren in Paisley, with the tempting prospect of being able to go top of the table, on same games played, by Saturday. Quite a turnaround from a potential 11 point deficit and credit to the way Celtic stuck to task during a turbulent August.
I hear St Mirren’s 3-0 defeat to Hibs did not reflect the balance of play. It came immediately after they lost all three keepers to Covid isolation, while stand-in keeper Zlamal only met his new team-mates on the day of the game. After starting the campaign with two wins in the opening three fixtures, the bottom half of the table has closed in on St Mirren. Their three goals in the campaign so far earned two wins (Livi, Accies) and a draw (County), an extraordinary return for such a paltry tally. No one has scored fewer in the league.
Fortified by the comfortable win in Dingwall, Neil Lennon will deploy the same formation tonight. The most interesting call will be whether Olivier Ntcham retains his starting place ahead of Ryan Christie. Squad management will also be a consideration, eight days from our Europa League qualifier.