Ange’s press conference yesterday was excellent. I am going to focus on a couple of different aspects of it, but this article will focus on his dismissal of the drum-beat from across the road on who might and might not be available for them.
As I said yesterday, nobody at Celtic is falling for this nonsense for one minute.
He is fully prepared to face a full-strength team and all of his preparations are being made with that in mind. He treats all this chatter about who might not be available to them as contemptible white noise.
He and the team are focussed. They aren’t buying any of it.
I said the other day that we wouldn’t be.
Yet it you look across the road you see a certain smugness.
They believe they’ve pulled some sort of stroke here, as if this is something that wouldn’t have dawned on anyone else.
It was an obvious stratagem, and especially at a club which has tried to cynically manipulate every element of this crisis.
It’s difficult to understand where this obvious satisfaction of theirs comes from.
Do they really believe that seeing Kent or McGregor or Tavernier in the team will change in any way the way we set up to play?
Their fans actually think this will give their own players a lift.
Except their players already know who’s available and who isn’t.
There will be no “morale boosting” return of the manager if he turns out to be available for the dugout either … they’ll all have known this for days, leaving only shock value.
And nobody at Celtic will be surprised far less shocked.
It all seems a bit naff, a bit desperate.
If this was us playing these games people would wonder why we were bothering.
People would think it was pretty tragic.
Ange certainly thinks so.
He dismissed it a matter of no relevance at all.
He understands that when you are resorting to this you’re short of answers elsewhere.
He knows too that one thing and one thing only will decide this fixture … if we turn up and play to our best we’ll win.
That will be true irrespective of who they are able to put out on the park.