Yesterday we won 2-0 against Motherwell in what was an accomplished, sexy performance where the score could have been much higher but for the heroics of their goalkeeper. There wasn’t a moment during that game where the final outcome was in doubt.
In the run up to the game, I read every comment made by one of our players.
Much of it lavished praise on team-mates and on Brendan Rodgers. The rest was about discipline. About focus. The players are doing well on the pitch because they have extraordinary drive off it. These guys have dedicated themselves to the task like I’ve never seen before.
One of the criticisms I had about Ronny Deila’s Celtic was the way there appeared to be a real indiscipline in our dealings with the media. Even as performances on the pitch tanked, too many of our players were running off at the mouth in front of the press, telling the rest of the world they were going to do this and do that.
I hated it, and it’s especially annoying when the people making such bold predictions can’t deliver on them. How many times did we do that last year? Twice would have been once too many, and I lamented it and the way our manager appeared to allow it.
This season, there’s been none of it. The players and the manager, everyone at the club, has been all business, the way it should be. There’s none of the indiscipline of latter years at all. At Celtic Park the focus is on doing our talking where it belongs; on the pitch.
Not so elsewhere, where two wins on the trot have given the Sevco players all the swagger of Barcelona. They think they’re ready for us on the basis of beating Thistle and Inverness; this time next week we’ll be viciously dissuading them of any such notions. But that their players – and the manager too, by the way – think this is a valid view and something they should be shouting about in the media should be all the motivation our players need to whip them.
This site hasn’t focussed overmuch on the cup semi-final since the draw was made, and I don’t particularly feel as if it’s an issue I need to cover when we’ve got a much more important game coming up in midweek. The Champions League tie takes precedence over the Hampden match, and every Celtic fan would agree with that. Win that one and we’ve got a great chance of being in the Europa League at the very least.
The cup semi-final will get the focus it deserves after that game is out of the way, but I felt I had to make some comment on the idiotic chatter coming out of Ibrox this weekend. These guys just never learn, and to be talking the nonsense they are after a couple of SPL wins – and I watched the Inverness game and wasn’t dreadfully impressed – is ridiculous at best, and at worst an open insult to our team. One of their players even said they would “be ready” for us this time, as if the last game was the equivalent of a school-yard race where we jumped the gun and left them standing on the starting block in puzzlement.
There’s an undercurrent of indiscipline in such remarks, one that has been wholly eliminated from the attitudes at Celtic Park. We go into the midweek game on form but cautious, and professional, and focussed only on doing the job.
The contrast couldn’t be greater.