On Saturday, we picked up a needed three points after the shocking performance against St Mirren two weeks ago. This was not an easy victory although it has to be said that we thoroughly deserved to win and we were the only team which even tried to.
It is important, when you’ve lost a game, to win the next one whatever the competition might be, and whoever you might come up against. When you’re a Celtic boss in a league race which the press is getting feverish over again, it is especially critical.
So the win was massive.
It stopped the bleeding, in a manner of speaking, and you would have seen some heavy blood flow had we not secured it. The press would have had been filled, this morning, with questions about us and praise being showed across town.
Hatate’s winner was a beauty, and it showed the Japanese national team coach the reason this boy should be in his team.
He wasn’t the only star turn of his countrymen; I thought Maeda was excellent and his running and work-rate terrorised Motherwell. Kyogo, of course, got a goal and could have had a couple more. He’s found his touch again.
The performance was characterised by a little nervousness and some concentration lapses. The team looked some way from the blistering form of the early season, but you know what?
You have these little spells during a campaign.
The important things to remember are that we’re still top of the table, on points, and that nothing fundamental has changed in the strengths of our club and the one across town. We’re about to enter a tough period and one Hell of a schedule, and our team is stronger and more capable of handling that huge run of games.
The players will have taken heart from the win, and those who have apologised for their individual mistakes have done something important in owning those errors and vowing to do better. That’s all you can ask from them. In the end, no harm was done and everyone got on with the job and made sure that we got over the line.
So now we start a new unbeaten run, a long run hopefully, the sort that wins titles.
Minds now turn to the midweek game in Europe.
It’s good to have Real Football back.