Well that was tough to watch at times.
Let’s be honest, if any other side in the country made as many first team changes as we did today they’d have lost that game. I laughed last night hearing BT Sport commentators refer to Sevco coming out of their “injury crisis”; two players out does not equal a crisis by any standard known to man. We have, at various times this season, had a half dozen players on the treatment table and I don’t mean the likes of Kranjcar, I mean first picks, guaranteed starters.
Today we played a midfield stuck together with sellotape. Eboue was playing for the first time in months. There was no Brown, there was no Armstrong, there was no Rogic. McGregor was in and so too was Ntcham, who has been getting some stick from some of the stupider people on Twitter for a few weeks now. Today he was very good and scored the goal.
Our defence was the textbook definition of “makeshift.” Gamboa played for the first time this season. We had big Nir in his unfamiliar defensive role. And I bet you had forgotten what De Vries looked like, right? Or that he’s actually not a bad keeper.
And still we got through it. On an off day. With half a team.
There’s a mental strength in this squad which I’ve never seen at Celtic before; it really is remarkable. It doesn’t matter how many changes we make, or how unsettled the squad looks. The players rally. They work hard for each other. They believe they can win.
And we had to win today because our two draws – both at home – in this campaign have allowed Aberdeen to play right on our tails. They took care of Neil Lennon’s plucky Hibs team today, at Easter Road, which is no small feat. They will push us hard.
I am glad for that. Someone has to.
It made the last ten minutes or so there pretty tense. That’s not a bad thing though. It keeps everyone on their toes, and that’s how we need to be right now.
This record just goes on and on and on. There are still some difficult games this month – a top of the table clash at Aberdeen and a League Cup semi final amongst them – but when we can turn in a display today that was well short of our best and still win … yeah, this is a team that’s going to take some beating. We showed we could raise ourselves when we needed to with big wins at Anderlecht and Ibrox, I have no doubt we can do it for Hampden and Pittodrie.
The question is, can we do it in Munich?
Cause friends and neighbours, that’s next up and our hosts prepared for our visit today by sticking five away in their game. They are ready for us.