As nobody at Celtic was panicking at the idea that Kyogo might be called up for Japan, nobody should be celebrating that he might not be. Until the squad is named – on the 22nd I think – these are, as Ange said the other day, mere hypotheticals.
We don’t know if he’ll be picked. We don’t know if he won’t be.
We don’t know if the regulations for visitors to Japan will be loosened, or tightened.
For all we know, Omicron starts to burn through the community to the extent that everything shuts down.
Imagine it sweeps through domestic football? There might not be international games to play.
This situation is fluid. Nobody can say which way it’ll go.
I think the situation is definitely more promising than it was, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves. This might not go the way we want it. The manager will still be making plans for playing without him.
The news tonight does suggest that it’s unlikely we’ll have more than a handful of players away on international duty. That’s all to the good. If we can keep the bulk of the squad intact, and we have options for all the areas of the pitch we’ll be in good shape.
As usual, our rivals see only what they want to see.
They refuse to acknowledge that we played them at a time when this squad wasn’t even close to being ready for the game.
Too many players weren’t bedded in. Too many weren’t available. The team has come miles since then, and we will be a test on a different order of magnitude than we were.
There’s something else they aren’t considering; the impact of a new management team on how they perform against us. Gerrard knew how to build a defensive unit. He knew how to organise them to contain us. We have no idea how Van Bronckhorst will set up, but it’s likely that they will come at us and allow us the opportunity to open them up.
Ange will be watching their performances carefully, and plotting his strategy.
That will not depend on having certain players in the side.
Whilst it would be great to have Kyogo we cannot plan for it.
Not until we know, for sure, one way or the other.
And in spite of some positive headlines yesterday, we still don’t, not yet.
Keep on hoping, of course … but keep on planning for the alternative as well.