These, then, are the two games we’ve been looking forward to. These are the two which, when they are over, will have given us a clear understanding of where this team is as we head towards the second segment of the league campaign.
This is the impossible start. But so far we’ve dropped points just once, frustratingly at home against St Johnstone.
More important, though, is that we can cement a seven point lead by getting three points today against Hearts. Get another three at Easter Road and we’re going to be in a very good position indeed, no matter what happens elsewhere.
Tynecastle is seen as the harder of the two. Scene of Rodgers’ first domestic win and his first domestic defeat, it is always a tough ground to go to. Ange lost his first domestic game there, although his record at the ground was near enough excellent.
So it won’t be easy. Hey, if it was easy the SPFL computer wouldn’t be sending us there after the grounds we’ve already visited this season.
People keep on saying that the computer is unbiased; that may well be the case, but the fixture list for the start of this season certainly did read a lot like one produced by a computer being programmed in the back of the Louden.
For all the good it has done them, with us able to back into that commanding lead if we get the win. Without a doubt, this has been our most challenging start in years … but we’re almost through it and a win today and another next week and we’ve got this.
Now begins a massive six-day period. Two away games and Champions League tie at Celtic Park that I know a lot of people are not looking forward to. But it’s a Celtic game for all the nonsense surrounding it and for that reason alone I’m not one of them.
This could be a nervy one today, one of those matches where only the three points matter. This lot will not give us a minute to breathe and I expect the ref to let them away with murder. The Hibs boss has reminded us all that as soon as the international break ends we’re all right back to the norm, to the same old same old.
The team has just been announced and Liam Scales partners Carter Vickers in the middle of the defence and Palma plays on one wing with Maeda on the other. So it’s a strong side, as strong as it gets, and the bench has plenty of talent on it if we need to shake it up a bit.
So a win is a must but we’ve got the footballers out there who are capable of getting it for us. The game starts in an hour. This is my birthday weekend so I’m off to the pub for it. For all the good wishes and gifts I’ve had this is the one I really want; three points today and for us to shut up some of the sneering fools in the media who are celebrating the coronation of a new Ibrox king.
Brendan Rodgers is the master of managerial regicide. Win today and next week and Clement is already on a hiding to nothing. The next six days are huge. Three points today starts them in the best possible way and keeps us in total command.