You got the feeling that Derek McInnes was going for the soundbite of the week yesterday when he spoke of his fears of the “caged animal” Ryan Christie.
I understand why he thinks so. Christie was in isolation for the game last week, and he has a habit of performing against the Pittodrie club.
He will be raring to go and everyone knows it.
But to read McInnes you’d think only Christie was the only other player who has been wearing shackles in this Celtic squad.
In their own way, all of them have been wearing shackles.
Performances this season have largely been dismal.
This is a team which is capable of playing the best football in the country, brilliant, blinding, spellbinding football. That we remain well in this race, having lost only once, is the proof of how good we are … even when we’re not on form and we’re not playing particularly well we still get results.
Furthermore, although the Ibrox club gets all the ink we have scored five twice this season and they have yet to do so. Even a flat Celtic team is still capable of turning teams lights out if we a few breaks and score an early goal.
This whole team has been on sabbatical for ages now, and we’ve seen only a couple of flashes of what they are capable of producing; sections of the Hibs game and flashes in the second half on Thursday night. You know we have it in us to be better.
The thing people keep on saying to me over and over again, and particularly in the last seven days since that appalling result against the Ibrox side, is that we owe someone a thrashing, a kind of next-level performance which ends in a blitz.
McInnes is right to worry that we might deliver it tomorrow.
The unchained animal of this team is a ferocious beast, and like a coiled spring we’re just waiting to deliver force and fury and remind everyone who the best team in this country really is.
It will happen, eventually. It has to.
This team is too good and the players have too much professional pride for it not to.
The manager’s record of wins is too good.
Everyone at Celtic Park knows what is at stake here.
As Tom Petty pointed out, “the waiting is the hardest part” and in particular this year when we don’t know how long the season will last and where we can’t afford to fall far behind and then find out.
Celtic is going to give someone a hiding before long … and how good would it be if we delivered that tomorrow, to one of our challengers?
It would settle a lot of nerves.