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Final Friendly Ends. Hostilities Set To Resume.

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Celtic today wrapped up their pre-season preparations with a very credible 2-0 victory over Rennes at a nearly deserted Parkhead.

Goals from Griffiths and Gary Mackay Steven, both in the first half, took care of the visitors today, and allowed Ronny Deila to try out some of the fringe players before Wednesday’s far more business, the Champions League second qualifier first leg.

So how do we look, overall, coming out of that pre-season?

I have to say, we seem pretty decent.

This was not a typical Celtic pre-season, in that we were all over the place and looking like a team in need of a right good kick up the backside.

The Prague game notwithstanding – where we simply looked a yard slow – we’ve seemed composed, capable and up for the battle.

Don’t forget that we’ve played good games here, good quality opponents, and we’ve looked pretty composed in the matches.

We’ve also eased through our first Champions League round.

There are just a couple of little hairs in the soup.

First is that Ciftci hasn’t scored yet, and with the new Son of Sevco scoring his first two goals today against a shambolic Hibs defence that evidently believed were still engaged in pre-season faffing about, it’s a matter of time before the media starts piling the pressure on him.

’ll have to wait a while, of course, as he serves his six match domestic ban.

This boy has something.

He’s clearly not been brought in to sit on the bench.

He links up well with other players, and that convinces me that the will, sooner or later, see the utility of putting him upfront along with Griffiths, who’s buzzing like I’ve never seen and looks like he could score in every single game.

I’m sure that anyone who was harbouring the slightest doubts about Leigh is over them already, but even I (and I’ve been a huge fan for years) will admit that I’m surprised just how sharp and focussed he seems at the moment.

Ronny is getting more out of him than any ever has, and Celtic will be reaping the benefits for years to come.

I’ve said this before; now one more time for the record.

Leigh Griffiths will be the next Celtic to hit the 100 goals mark.

There are some areas of our team that need work.

We do still need a left back, and the needs to work out what most of us already have – that you have to pair Ciftci and Griffiths together and see how that turns out – and there’s the endless worry over whether big Virgil Van Dijk will be sold … but all in all I think most of us are pleased.

The season ahead promises to be an exciting one.

We’re heading to Azerbaijan in a couple of weeks, and although that was the trip our players would not have wanted are, nevertheless, flying there first class and shouldn’t be looking for excuses for not going through.

Ticketing policy has some fans upset, with this year’s Champions League briefs increasing in price by 25%, which seems a little steep especially when you consider the rows of empty seats that are guaranteed by setting these prices wrong.

We all want to see Celtic Park filled to the rafters for these games.

It helps the players to remember what it’s all about and it unnerves the opposition like else.

Those are small gripes in the Grand Scheme of Things.

We’re about to embark on another adventure aboard the Good Ship Celtic.

This time, short of the treble will do.

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7 comments

  • colin51 says:

    I totally agree with putting Ciftci up front with Griffiths, they could be the perfect foil for each other (especially in difficult European games like this one)

    • Joe says:

      Griffiths is the best striker at park head not so sure of ciftci but worth a try pairing them

  • Jockster says:

    If I had known it was a season ticket game, I would have been there…. Publicity fail.

  • Degsy says:

    Griffiths scored AGAIN today so we can look forward to him being dropped in favour of nadir sebo leading the line and creating goal kicks for qarabag on Wednesday.

  • Degsy says:

    Deila isn’t brave enough to play two up front. He’ll start with nadir sebo and leave the one genuine goal scorer at the club on the bench

  • Matt says:

    Tickrt prices must be set at a level which will still fill the stadium.

    I was at the Inter Milan game in Feb…and even for a veteran of CL games as I am, it raised hairs on the back of the head.

    60,000 x £20 = 40,000 x £30 and 30,000 x £40 in monetary terms….

    But in football terms, when you have an iconic stadium (and one which was made even more iconic recently) the first number is by far the better. Have the balls, Celtic….encourage ALL of us to want to turn up, even though we’re trying to pay for family holidays / weddings / whatever over the summer.

    We’re not tryiing to find the funds to send our spoiled brats to boarding school…not the real Celtic supporters, anyway.

  • Bigeal says:

    Giftci is the real deal, once he gets started he will be a 20+ a season man

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