Through the most testing times: illness, injury and international absences; incredibly, Celtic managed to narrow the gap at the top of the table to two points. Newco’s lead can be shattered tonight. By their own decision making earlier in the season, they travel to Celtic Park to play before an exclusively home crowd under a Glasgow night sky.
Ange Postecoglou still has challenges. Callum McGregor was injured against Alloa and may be risked. Daizen Maeda played for Japan in Tokyo yesterday, I doubt we have had a player play on successive days in 80 years, and never at opposite ends of the globe, but he is likely to feature tonight.
Matt O’Riley and Reo Hatate will be crucial to our performance, neither has seen anything like the atmosphere or pressure they will experience tonight. I expect Reo especially to be kicked and elbowed from early on. He will receive no protection from the referee.
Win, and the world is their’s. Celtic would go top of the league with Tom Rogic, David Turnbull, Christopher Jullien and Kyogo Furuhashi still to return to the squad.
Newco are better than the string of Scottish clubs we have beaten by a single goal recently. Before shipping three extraordinary goals against Ross County on Saturday, they conceded only once in nine domestic fixtures. They are top of the league and champions for a reason, any presumptions about tonight on our part should be dismissed.
Enjoy yourself tonight. If you are there in person, play your part to the fullest until the last kick of the ball. Make the most of the night, the lights, the stadium and the hurt you felt last season.