Whatever my criticisms of the manager’s words the other day, and my alarm at hearing him give over critical decisions to others in the club – a subject I shall return to in some detail later in the week – I am still pleased with the composition of this side going into this game, and I think we’d still be strong enough to win this title even if we did no further business.
It is days like today which will either reveal that view to be folly, or suggest that it’s more or less accurate. After McInnes’ team has already beaten the media darlings in their first league outing, at the same ground, the hacks fully expect them to test us.
I think they might. Unless we score early. Which I think we might. Do that, and the roof could come in on Kilmarnock and we might end up with a comfortable victory. Three times the word “might” was used in the first part of this paragraph.
It’s speculation. It’s if’s buts and maybes. But we know that we’re good enough, that we have that in us, and I’d love if it this was the day the rustiness fell away and this side produced what we know they are capable of.
There were glimpses in pre-season of the kind of football Rodgers wants from this side. Some players have grasped it quicker than others.
What’s not as well understood as it should be is that when a new manager comes in the players in his charge, who have already adapted to the style of the previous boss, don’t just have new things to learn, but a whole of things to unlearn too.
Even what were good habits under Postecoglou have to be cast aside if players are going to fully integrate into the system that Rodgers wants them to play. We are going to see a different, and more exciting team, emerge when they have. I have no doubt of it.
It is not ideal, us going there today to play on that plastic pitch and we can sort of predict the way they will approach the game. If Postecoglou were still here they would have an idea of the way we would approach the game.
I’m not saying they’d necessarily be successful at stopping us with that knowledge, but they’d have a shot.
I don’t think they will cope with us today because they have no idea how we will approach the game. I think that’s what gets us the real edge here. How good it would be if we could turn up, show what we’ve got and silence these critics early on.
Go on today, Celtic. Show them who we are … and what this side is becoming.