By Kieran Muir
Every Celtic fan would agree that it hasn’t been a good start to the season, sometimes unacceptable and hard to stomach, especially the embarrassing issue of being dumped out of the Champions League twice. Sitting sixth in the domestic league table didn’t help issues either and poor performances, in particular at home against Motherwell and the defeat at paradise by Hamilton, left many questioning the position of manager Ronny Delia.
One area the Celts have been more stable(ish) is the Europa League. The hoops, sit top of the table, all be it tied with Salzburg and just a point in front of Zagreb, as they go into tonight’s clash with Astra who sit pointless at the root of Group D. Off the back of Saturdays brilliant performance against Ross County, this really is the time for the team to step up on a more consistent basis and take us to European football after Christmas without any further ‘hangover’ scenarios which could seriously dent our league standing. If the Bhoys secure the three points in tonight’s game, then you would expect them to keep it together and get us out of the group come mid-December.
Sunday, however, sees Kilmarnock come to Celtic Park and they will provide us with a good test which we must pass, anything less simply won’t be accepted. Getting a consistent run together is key, now more than ever and it’s an opportunity that the team and manager have to realise and take.
Take yourself back to the season 2011/12, a campaign in which the manager Neil Lennon was 45 minutes away from quitting the job at Rugby Park and Rangers were 15 points in front by Christmas. The hoops were also in the Europa League and at the time it was the squad’s first outing in a proper European campaign, a chance to build, win the first league title in four years and as it would turn out it plant the seeds to qualify for the Last 16 of the Champions League the season after.
If Ronny makes the correct decisions in terms of team selection and one or two players get their heads sorted out, this could be a reasonable season given the circumstances, but shooting ourselves in the foot and taking one step forward and two steps back is going to leave us manageress before we know it.
All green tinted glasses will be on paradise tonight, hoping this is where we move on for the rest of the season – even if Ronny Deila does think that tonight’s opponent would be top of the Scottish Premiership if they played here (sorry Hamilton). So let’s hope that the new regime can make us proud on a regular basis.
C’mon the hoops!!!!
Do you think we will push on and leave the poor form behind?