Today Caitlin Hayes, fresh from signing a new contract with the club, faced the media, including the Celtic fan sites, along with Fran Alonso and both made a virtue of the pressure surrounding the team, pressure that might have crushed lesser clubs. Hayes was particularly bullish, talking about how they wear that pressure “like a badge of honour.”
The manager talked about how well they have coped with it throughout the campaign, pointing, in particular, to the massive victory over Glasgow City which propelled the title race towards this outstanding, thrilling conclusion.
Caitlin Hayes is an impressive woman.
She oozes confidence and charisma. She’s clearly loving every second of this campaign, and she gets the club completely. She has been making headlines all season long with stellar performances, and winning a slew of awards, including the Player of the Year as voted for by the sportswriters. She’s a massive asset to the club.
But hearing her in such a assertive mood prior to such a massive game, and knowing that this is echoed by the wider dressing room really does inspire great belief that this is a side which can not only win the first women’s title in our history but move forward into the future with great determination and embrace the challenges that await us.
Fran Alonso’s record at this club is already exceptional.
He’s a natural winner, and in some ways he reminds me of Ange in his focus and relentless drive for excellence – something Hayes also highlighted as almost something you take for granted at Celtic whatever one of our teams you play for. With this man at the helm a title win will inevitably come; whether it’s this season or soon somewhere soon down the line.
But with both absolutely focussed and determined to succeed, and entirely confident of doing so, this team is as ready as it needs to be. This team is going to give everything to win at the weekend, and even knowing that things elsewhere might not fall as we would like, I could not, watching these two and listening to them, believe in anything but a triumph.
A team which views pressure as a badge of honour has the perfect mentality to do big things.
This team has already accomplished so much and come so far … and they’ve done it by focussing on one game at a time the way Ange has. A title win at the weekend sets up a potential league and cup double. No-one is thinking beyond this game. That too is an elite club mentality … it’s clear that’s how Fran and Caitlin want us to be.
This weekend will take us a big step towards that status, and we’re ready, and you can tell listening to them that we’re ready.
I cannot wait for it.