I know a few who were indifferent about winning the league at Easter Road on Sunday with the prospect of winning it against Newco this weekend, but it is not how Brendan Rodgers views things.
It doesn’t matter how you regard Newco in a historical context, these games bring an inherent pressure for Celtic to win (and Newco to at least lose while competing) that it would suit the manager to have already won the league before crossing swords with Graeme Murty for the third time in seven weeks.
We should also remember, this is not a Harlem Globetrotters game, where an exhibition of slick entertainment will take place with the result predetermined. We hurt Newco’s players. They have been professionally embarrassed in a very public manner, something which could inhibit their career opportunities – and let’s be clear, many of them will want to move on from Murray Park this summer.
We have to anticipate that they will play better at Celtic Park than they did at Hampden. At the very least, someone inside the away dressing room is likely to say “Lads, can you keep an eye on the big Australian guy?” They have learned several of our stock plays in recent weeks and they have learned what does not work against them. This fact alone will make them better prepared. Napoleon warned his generals not to fight the same opponent too many times, as they will learn all you moves. He had a point.
Scott Brown quite rightly called the prospect of winning the league on Sunday the “sweetest” way, but this is not what you want to hear from players prior to a game. As the captain himself noted after our Scottish Cup semi-final win, do you talking on the park. Opponents use words like this to create a common purpose, especially when they are struggling to find any commonality naturally.
Raffle to play in an 11-a-side game at Celtic Park
An incredible opportunity to play on the hallowed turf at Celtic Park around the end of the current season 2017-18, in Club sponsor Intelligent Car Leasing’s match.
You will be provided with complimentary Celtic kit and receive the full match-day experience including arrival through the front door, access to the dressing room and proudly walking down the tunnel to enter the famous field of play.
Both squads will be managed by a former Celtic player. Date TBC; please note it may be a weekday. All monies raised will be donated to Celtic FC Foundation, a registered Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (number SC024648).
To enter the raffle, make a minimum donation of £5 to the Foundation at this MyDonate page. Then send your donation confirmation email to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The opportunity to play on Celtic Park is just beyond words. I did it a few years ago, the memories will live forever, as will the photographs. The experience of preparing in the dressing room, as so many greats have done before, was fabulous.
You can enter for yourself, or gift the prize to someone you know aged 18 or over. Competition closes at 15:00 this Friday, 27th.
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