Posted on Friday, 1st March 2013 by admin
After Neil Lennon talked about how the next three games would ‘define our season’ I doubt he would have expected the team to put in such a poor performance in Wednesday’s defeat to Motherwell, but now it’s time to get over that as the players face arguably the biggest game left of the season, away to St. Mirren in the Scottish Cup.
I know some people will say Wednesday’s trip to Turin is more important, but let’s be honest here – we’re out of the Champions League. Tomorrow is more important as will ensure the season still has some interest for it’s last two months. Add Neil Lennon’s poor domestic cup record and the recent defeat to St. Mirren in the league cup, the weekend’s game is one which is very important.
The team selection will be interesting, as you’d think changes will be made from the team which performed so poorly at Motherwell. Kelvin Wilson is back, but will Efe Ambrose be paired with him? Ambrose has played poorly since coming back from the AICN, the only other option is Rogne, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Wanyama was played in defence. Izaguirre will probably start despite the fact he was posted missing at both goals on Wednesday. In midfield it seems obvious that Joe Ledley will come in, and James Forrest – our best player against Motherwell – should also start. For some reason on Wednesday, Hooper and Stokes did not play one minute of the game together, that has to be rectified against St. Mirren, they must start up-front.
As for our opponents, we know how dangerous they can be, as they demonstrated in their well-deserved 3-2 league cup semi-final win against Celtic in January. Paul McGowan will be a big threat from midfield and both Esmael Goncalves and Steven Thompson will be a handful. Rumours are that St. Mirren sold 1,000 tickets for this game alone on Thursday morning, but them and their fans will be well up for the game, but will Celtic be? That’s all down to the manager.
If I was Neil Lennon I would prioritise this game far more than the Juventus game, as at least we have a chance of winning the Scottish Cup – indeed we should win it, but our form in cup competitions has been so poor at times you wouldn’t be surprised if we lost tomorrow. If we do exit the cup tomorrow then this season – Europe aside – will have proved to be a disappointment, as we will have thrown away two more trophies without any real competition. The pressure could also be on Neil Lennon if we lose, as winning 3 trophies out of a possible 10 isn’t really good enough. But let’s hope these questions are saved for another day, and Celtic get through tomorrow to give us a chance to put right some recent wrongs at Hampden.