All Eyes On Lennoxtown As Celtic Hurtles Towards The Final Lap In The Title Race.

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International fortnight is not yet done, but we’re over the tough part and we’re into the home straight. For all of us, I’m sure that’s a blessed relief.

The best thing about this one has been seeing Israel crash out of the Euros, and I’ll be writing more about that later on because that’s a bigger story than it seems to be and one that needs to be explored.

We’re now moving towards Livingston, and beyond that Ibrox. Two tough away games. The good news is that four points in those matches will put us in a great position for winning the title.

Six points from them and I think we’re the favourites and Ibrox’s team will collapse like a pack of cards. The coming game at Livingston might be the harder of the two in some ways, because it is the one that will present us with the biggest questions about the squad.

Because at Ibrox the team picks itself. Sort of. Depending on who is fit, which is the key. But the choices at Livingston are much more difficult.

Do we go with the full-strength team and risk injuries on that appalling pitch, or do we bench some of the superstars just in case? There is validity to both of these options.

The argument is legit on both sides.

That’s why I say that the Livingston game is possibly the harder of the two. Because this is the one where the team doesn’t automatically pick itself. This one will present the manager with the hardest choices and he pretty much needs to nail the decisions.

Much of that will depend on what happens this week at Lennoxtown.

That’s where our eyes should be.

Will we see McGregor? Will we see Hatate play a full part in all the sessions? Will Scales be fit? Nawrocki? God knows we have to avoid further injuries; that will drop morale through the floor and reinforce the very strong impression about a doomed campaign.

I hope we do. To see the captain, in particular, back in the mix would be a massive lift to us. But he has a week again on the back of this game if that’s going to help, and it might because McGregor is basically a machine and has powers of recovery which defy belief.

Yeah, this is a big week and Lennoxtown is where we’re going to learn a lot of the things about how the next game is going to go, and perhaps even the one beyond that. I’m nervous about the week ahead, because it might be decisive.

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  • DixieD says:

    Risking CCV on that plastic pitch is a massive decision, because not having him in the side is a huge risk too. I’m flip-flopping between risking him on that pitch and not. BR will know if he’s 100% fit now, or if there’s any niggles. Fully fit i’d probably play him, then get him off if we manage to get 2 goals ahead. Anything less than fully fit i’d save him for th derby.

  • Robert Downey says:

    I agree wholeheartedly James, I have been concerned about the Livingston match for some time, more so in the past week or so due to the lack of first team action.
    I can guess Rodgers’s quandary, play a full strength team and risk certain players breaking down or play fringe players and risk dropping valuable points.
    I guess that’s why he gets the big bucks, I wouldn’t like to be in his shoes.
    I think it’s time for the nearly men to step up and forget any grievance about not getting enough minutes playing.
    The club needs you at this particular time of the season, it’s time to step up and show why Celtic signed you in the first place.
    We cannot let this league title slip into the hands of Rangers, especially this season.
    Don’t make this season like the ten in a row season.
    It’s time to stand up and be counted.
    C’mon the Hoops

  • Chris says:

    Play the strongest team against Livi,after that due process will occur

  • Roonsa says:

    I say we go full strength at Livi, go for the jugular so that we wrap up the points as soon as possible then use the subs to keep the guaranteed starters for Ibrox fresh.

  • Gerry says:

    I think the majority of us will be in agreement with you…there is undoubtedly a nervous anticipation regarding our next two matches.

    Ordinarily, we’d be confident, at this stage of the season, going to the plastic ‘Baseball Ground,’ and winning comfortably. Equally, the visit to Mordor should hold no fears, having beaten them there already with an ‘ under strength,’ side!

    However, due to the injury issues we’ve had, and continue to have, this season, would it be prudent to ‘risk’ certain players on a horrendous plastic skating rink, and put them out of the Glasgow Derby?

    This is where we need complete professionalism, nous and intelligence from all involved, when it comes to these crucial team selections.

    We all want our strongest 11 on the park, at ALL TIMES, which includes CCV, CalMac and Hatate.
    Nevertheless, if there are any doubts whatsoever, get our strongest ‘ available,’ eleven primed, ready and unleashed on the artificial aberration at Livi, to win the essential three points, which will take us on nicely to Ibrokes.

    That game will then take care of itself ( *subject to VAR & LRA*)

    I’ve maintained that we shall retain this title, despite our poor form, lack of selection continuity, dereliction of duty from our board and in spite of the ‘ honest refereeing mistakes!’

    As you have rightly said, and I fully concur…if we take the six points, from our next two ‘ very tricky,’ away games, then the nervousness we presently feel, could be replaced by a quiet confidence.
    Let’s do this Celtic, and do it with style ! HH

  • Brattbakk says:

    We have to take the attitude that every game is a cup final from now on. Play the strongest available team in every game and win them all. Livingston can’t be overlooked despite being bottom and that terrible surface.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    Hard decisions on Sunday for BR, whatever team we put out against Livvy, if we are up for it we should be able to get the 3 points, no excuses unless Beaton is the referee or on VAR again.
    A more or less full strength team at Ibrox playing all out attacking football with determination,pace and movement should be good enough against that home defence, it will be hard for the Celtic team at that hatefest but with concentration and determination our better footballers can prevail. A victory would be great but even a draw puts us in a good position, with them at Celtic Park still to come.

  • Bunter says:

    We will beat a soon to be relegated Livi even without CCV, Hatate and Calmac. Personally I wouldn’t play them, as we have enough in the squad to do the business. Possibly bench Calmac just in case though.

  • SSMPM says:

    Play the best team, if you’re fit, you’re fit enough to play. If we go a few goals up we can rest them then. The match time might do them, Hatate in particular, some good too. HH

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