Celtic Fans Get The Best News We Could Have Wished For … But It’s Tempered With Caution.

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The news from Brendan’s presser today was good. Or at least, it was as good as it’s going to get. The captain was back in training, as we would all have seen this morning from the pictures. But the boss has pointed out that he’s not fully match-fit and might not be for a few weeks. Nevertheless, he has hailed Callum’s miraculous ability to heal.

He will play on Sunday. Perhaps not 90 minute, but he is in the side.

So we are going to Ibrox with near-enough a full squad to choose from, and with the manager in the box seat. If we didn’t also have Beaton out on the pitch officiating, I think we’d have the makings of a very good afternoon. The worry is the ref.

And Rodgers also deftly handled that.

The hacks were clearly looking for him to say something controversial, but he didn’t do it. I don’t believe we’re as relaxed behind the scenes as we are in public; we cannot possibly be. But the boss isn’t walking into any obvious bear traps here, and his diplomatic answer to the inevitable Beaton question was just fine.

All the news was good today. As good as it could have been anyway.

The team is going to be as close to full strength as we can get it, although there is probably no way that Callum finishes the match. So, the question is, do we start him or bring him on later in the match? For me, that could be the most critical question of the afternoon.

It was not the only area where Rodgers sounded a little cautious. He talked about us not needing to win; he’s right, of course, because a draw gives us a real chance to go top when they come to Parkhead and that’s a major advantage we have. But he knows that a win is what it’s all about, because if we can secure that then it’s going to be ours to lose.

I can’t express enough my happiness that Callum McGregor was in training today and is ready to play some part in the game. He really is a walking miracle at times, is the captain, and that leadership will be crucial on the day. I would be tempted to start him, to try and win the game before we have to take him off for his own good. But Rodgers may feel differently.

Either way, this is the sort of thing you bring in a top coach and pay him the big bucks for. We’ve had the lift we all needed, we’ve got the news we all wanted, and whilst it’s not perfect it’s a far cry from where we thought we might be a month or so ago when it looked as if we might go into this with a half-fit Hatate and no McGregor or Carter Vickers at all.

We’re almost there now, almost at Sunday. We can start looking forward to it.

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  • Seamus Campbell says:

    James, you say you don’t believe we are as relaxed behind the scenes as we are in public re the ref scandals. I hope to god you are right, but is it just a gut feeling you have, or is there a bit more to make you think as you do.

  • Effarr says:

    Will it really matter all that much who is refereeing? I think he is better to be on the pitch as in the VAR den of iniquity.

  • Robert Downey says:

    I like your sentiment James.
    I am a Celtic fan of over 60 yrs, I somehow think that the powers that be are colluding with Rangers in so many different ways that it will be a miracle if we win the league this season.
    I continue to support My Team from afar and ring the bell every time we score but I feel with an impotent board we lack strong leadership off the park, we have it in abundance on the park but our CUSTODIANS and they would do well to remember that.
    Are letting us down, bigtime.

    • Sean says:


    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      The powers that be certainly ain’t colluding with ‘Rangers’ Robert as they went to the football fires of hell in 2012…

      I’d say that they’re definitely colluding with SEVCO though and have been since their inception as a new club 11 years and 251 days ago !!!

  • Michael McCartney says:

    I’m worried about BR saying we don’t need a win, there is no way we can start this game cautiously. They will come out the traps in their usual do or die madness with 50,000 baying for blood, we have got to be ready. None of this keep calm crap, meet like for like and use our pacy players to put them on the back foot.
    The 1st goal has been crucial in recent games against them, no messing around, their two C/Bs are a couple of cart horses they can defend well in the air but not on the ground. Their two F/Bs are also slow and like most modern wing backs like to get forward, we’ve got to get the ball forward to Maeda,Kyogo and Kuhn quickly and put pressure on their defence that’s the weak link. If we start this game slowly we’re asking for trouble. C’mon the Celtic.

  • SSMPM says:

    If an influential player, though carrying an injury is going play a part, then he should always start the game. It’s allows him to work into the game rather than have to come straight into an already set pace and crucially if he has to come off it’s one less substitution used.
    I’m really confident for this game and was well impressed with the determined look of some our players as they were coming off the pitch to be subbed and rested last week. They seemed well aware if the importance of this game, particularly O’Riley. They’re up for this. HH

  • Hugh Thomson says:

    Yes played well first half comfortable second half until the inevitable penalty they would have anyway no disrespect to our captain he gave away there second goal then going 3/2 up they scored again but thats football for you HH

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