That’s a blow, because when he’s been in full flight this season my namesake has been virtually unplayable. It opens wide the door for a return to the starting eleven for Patrick Roberts, which wouldn’t exactly have most fans mourning.
Yet that seems predictable to me, and we’ve played Sevco three times this season – and won them all of course – with essentially the same system and the same team. It looks certain that their interim boss will still be in the dugout for the game, and I am willing to bet that he will have studied our wins so far and he’ll line up to play against our usual team. He doesn’t have the experience to anticipate, or prepare for, anything else.
If we alter our tactics for this game we will take Murty completely by surprise.
There’s an obvious change that can be made in those circumstances; play McGregor (or Roberts himsef; why not?) on the left, Brown and Armstrong in the middle and Sinclair on the right and start Leigh Griffiths. Two up front will be more than their defence can cope with. They will have enough trouble trying to keep tabs on the majestic Dembele.
Play our second striker and they’ll fold early.
I trust Brendan, of course. Just because we might start with the usual tactics it doesn’t mean we would necessarily finish the game with them; as the weekend showed, this guy has an unerring ability to see what changes need to be made to turn a match on its head. He will have Murty (or whoever is “advising him” in the background) sussed within ten minutes of the kick-off and even his little tweaks will leave his opposite number at sixes and sevens.
Speaking of which … Frank McAvennie reckons we’re good enough to go beyond those numbers and break a scoring record against them. I wholly agree, but it’s unlikely to say the least. An early goal and you never know what might happen. If they lose their discipline I wouldn’t rule anything out. But surely they would be good enough to resist that?
Yet this Celtic team is the most ruthless I’ve ever seen. They will smell blood in the air here, and the chance to hammer nails into the coffin of this side will be too good to resist. They will want a high scoring game. They will be playing for one.
Putting Leigh up front with big Moussa can only help meet that objective.
Go on Brendan.
You know you want to!