Today is a big one for this Celtic side. Not only would it be two away wins in a row in the league, but it will be against one of the SPFL “fancied” teams for this year. Fancied, that is, to take points off of ours. The critics are sharpening their pencils.
The ex-Ibrox players have been pressed for their “opinions” – unbiased of course haha.
Many of them are predicting a hard old day. Motherwell’s manager says he expects his side to win, in the way all managers do when they want to give their players confidence. The Record amplified that comment into their headline yesterday.
You cannot do this job, or indeed be part of this community, for any length of time without realising that we are a ship amidst an ocean of people who do not like us and do not wish us well. Exposure to it, even for a short time, can alter the perceptions even of those who thought we were nuts for all these years. Seeing it from the inside convinces them.
I have never known the atmosphere around us to be this negative or the air to be so filled with poison aimed in our direction. We can go and cry in the corner or we can come out swinging.
Fortunately, we have a guy in charge of the team who isn’t the type to go and cry and in the corner.
So into battle we go instead, knowing that we are capable of taking on all comers. That’s the crucial thing. If we were genuinely a team of a journeymen and strugglers like so many other SPFL sides are, we might not be justified in this hope.
But we have a team full of capable players and a talented boss. We even have a few genuine stars in there, the sort of players who can turn a game in an instant. McCoist might think we’re bang average; I think his own team is no better than that and that only in last season’s frankly weird circumstances could the joker in charge of them have won a title.
The gap right now is six points. I know people like McCoist anticipate our every match at the moment, in the expectation – that word again – that it will increase. Many of us still go into fixture cycle expecting it to shrink. Do I think Hearts will do us a turn today? Honestly, no, but someone is going to at some point because Gerrard’s team is just not that good.
In the meantime, it’s up to us to keep on doing our own thing. The job in front of us is easy today; to utilise our superior players and beat Motherwell away. This is not a fixture that would have scared us at any point in the last ten years or so. I don’t know why it would now.
There is an incentive greater than just the points. It’s to shut these professional trolls up, to inject a little fear into their bloodstreams, to give them reason for pause and for doubts. Win today and we can give them a little more anxiety.
Win well, and that will send shockwaves through their ranks. That’s the prize for now. That’s the cherry on the cake of the three points.
A win then, Celtic, and a comfortable one. Shut these people up for the next week or so.