Today Celtic produced a display of football that was accomplished and professional to boot. Ange sprung one surprise, and that was the inclusion of the divisive Boli Bolingoli at left-back for the trip to Fir Park. Incidentally, the Belgian had a very strong performance today and reminded us all that he is more than capable of doing a job in the SPFL.
Celtic dominated from the first whistle to the last today, without major incident taking place en-route to another excellent victory in this campaign. I am more than pleased at the manner in which we recorded this victory – keeping a clean sheet in a display that was reminiscent of Celtic teams past. As predicted, the defence was key to overcoming a tricky side that alluded our rivals at home recently. There was more than a few nippy challenges today – which our very own Tom Boyd pointed out via Celtic TV – on Celtic players which calls into question the equilibrium of Scottish refereeing once again. Protection for our players these days seems non-existent at points.
We dictated the game today in a way that I haven’t seen from Ange’s team before. It was more holistic and controlled. More cohesive as a unit, as opposed to being scattered like pebbles on the seashore. We exuded a comfortability that was very reassuring going into this next phase of challenging fixtures. All for one, and one for all it felt like today. And I must once again bring up the performance of Boli Bolingoli, who if failing to be spectacular, brought an experience to the defence that has proved elusive of late.
The midfield battle was dogged and dirty at times, reflecting the hard working Motherwell engine room. Callum McGregor was his flawless self, while Tom Rogic tip-toed around like a ballerina, causing the Steelmen no-end of problems.
What can we day about the goals?
Felipe Jota, the man on everyone in green and white’s lips. The chap that is fast bringing that certain je ne sais quoi to this Celtic side. A footballer who defines the words trickster and winger. Always available to take the ball under pressure, whilst also able to deliver in pressurised situations. The ball through from Rogic was masterful – with more than a hint of the Maestro about it – allowing Jota to take it in his stride with sublime ease and executing it clinically to put us a goal to the good.
The second from Turnbull was a howitzer of a goal, if ever you saw one. Picking it up about 25 yards from goal, the ex-Well player struck the ball sweet as a chocolate truffle to sink in the second, in what would turn out to be the one that settled a lot of nerves. Although Celtic were in total control, Motherwell still posed a threat from corners and set-pieces until the end.
Hart, Carter-Vickers and Starfelt played like a strong spine today, enabling Celtic to concentrate on breaking down the Motherwell rearguard. A feature that has been missing from Celtic aways days for long enough. We kept it nice and simple, defended and attacked with purpose and poise, getting our just desserts in the end. Bitton brought that solidity towards the end, sweeping up as he does to protect the back four. Our new Greek striker came on, and I have to say within a few touches looked like the physical presence we have sorely missed up top for an eternity.
Today was another step on the footpath of a long and winding road, with more bumps along the way. It wasn’t sensational again, but goodness me it was great to see a standard Celtic performance away from home for the second game in a row. If we keep up away performances like this, the home games should take care of themselves.
Ange’s jigsaw is starting to resemble an image for the first time. Let’s get behind this team and ensure we’re pushing for the title again.
Onwards and upwards.