Everyone yesterday was asking me just one thing; is Leigh Griffiths going to be fit for the game today?
I had no idea, because this is the best kept secret inside Celtic Park, or so it seems to me.
The player isn’t talking. The manager isn’t talking.
The assumption is that it means he’s out, but Brendan is not letting slip with a detail. He’s keeping them guessing.
I like the idea. Sow a little confusion. Make them sweat.
By the time you’re reading this, of course, we might already know; that’s the trouble with our instant news world.
Someone’s always behind the times.
But for a full 24 hours Sevco’s manager was unable to properly plan. That’s a victory, and if he’s still not sure right up till the moment Celtic submit their official team sheet it’ll be an even bigger one, especially if the wee man is in the team.
This is a new era at Celtic Park. Brendan has his own process, his own way of doing things, and keeping a lid on the dressing room is clearly part of that. No-one can say, with confidence, what the starting eleven will be today and every permutation is another headache for Warburton, another series of options to chew over … and this from a guy with no Plan B to speak of.
You always knew what you were getting from a Ronny Deila team; it was one of the things that used to drive our fans absolutely mad. Teams could read his tactics and predict his line-up with a fair degree of confidence. That’s not the case here. Even something as simple as who’s going to play as our right back is fraught with peril for them, because you’d approach the match in two different ways depending on whether Lustig or Gamboa starts.
The midfield is a whole other set of problems; who plays in the middle, for one? Does Brendan go with Bitton and Brown, and perhaps Rogic? Or does he go with the grace of Armstrong, the dig of young McGregor? Does the Australian feature at all? Does the Israeli? Who plays out wide? Do you plan for Forrest, or prepare for Roberts?
If it’s young James you plan to deal with his speed, but don’t concern yourselves much with the final ball. If it’s Roberts you try to combat his quick feet, outside the box, and hope he doesn’t get a cross in. With Sinclair on the other side, you simply pray.
And if Leigh is fit, what then? Think on dealing with him, on his own, or plan to go up against he and Dembele as a partnership? Warburton says he will not change his style for this match; that sounds like Ronny Deila style courting of disaster to me.
We’re in the fortunate position of giving this guy more tactical scenarios than his brain can deal with, and, as we’re always being reminded, he came from the City too …
But our manager has him guessing.
Our manager has us all guessing.
It won’t be long before we find out what’s what, and as soon as the team is called I’ll be posting it right here.
In Brendan We Trust.