Five post match thoughts as Champions Elect Celtic turn their attention to the Scottish Cup

1. QUICK AND MISS DEMBELE – it took just 7 seconds for Moussa Dembele to define his day. He was gift wrapped a tremendous opportunity straight from the Hamilton kick-off but instead of slotting it past the keeper, as he would have done last season, his indecisive shot came off the keeper’s legs. A few free kicks were skied in that first half and it was clearly not Moussa’s day.

He was replaced early in the second half by fellow Frenchman Odsonne Edouard and by that time Leigh Griffiths had shown him the way to goal, grabbing the winner with a well placed header from a Sinclair cross. Dembele is of course a big game player and has a tremendous scoring record against Rangers. However after today Brendan Rodgers has a decision to make on who will lead the line.

2. THERE’S NO-ONE BETTER – Callum McGregor got the man of the match at the game and it will be interesting to see who wins The Celtic Star Man of the Match poll – you can vote here:

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Callum McGregor has been slotted in at left back in Kieran Tierney’s absence from the side but he was back in midfield today, scored the opener and linked up well with Paddy Roberts all afternoon.

He is one of the few Celtic players who doesn’t seemed to be too bothered playing on the artificial surfaces that ideally should be fazed out of the top league. Seldom, if ever, do you see a good game on these surfaces.

3. LUCKY THIRTEEN – It has been far from a vintage season for Celtic, and after the highs of last year, it is hardly a surprise. Stuart Armstrong, who sat on the bench today, highlighted earlier in the week the punishing schedule that the Celtic boys have had to endure with two seasons effectively being joined together with only maybe a fortnight of a break in between.

So to be thirteen points clear before the split and with the Champagne now on ice for the first post split game – probably against Aberdeen at Celtic Park in a fortnight – is a real achievement. And the Betfred Cup has been retained and we go to Hampden again on Sunday to face Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-final. An historic back to back treble is very much there for the taking.

4. REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL – Brendan Rodgers now has a week to prepare for the semi-final. The players will be well rested and ready for Rangers. The manager has more options all over the park with numerous players back from injury and eager to feature. In goals will he go for Gordon or stick with Bain who was competent again today?

James Forrest is likely to play but Paddy Roberts had a good game today and could cause Rangers real problems. Armstrong and Rogic – the goal scorers in Scottish Cup Final last season – didn’t feature today but are also big game players for Celtic and enjoy a goal or two against Rangers.
Dembele or Griffiths? The manager will have plenty to think about and will have a very strong bench to look to too.

5. FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS – We are in for another week of Rangers doing their talking off the park. Morales, who is currently competing with himself for the sitter of the season competition (v Ayr Utd and v Celtic) has already promised that he will score at Hampden.

They put 4 past Dundee yesterday whereas we failed to break them down on Wednesday. They have now scored more goals in the league this season than us…it’s all going to be brought up and they’ll be talked up as usual. Celtic’s talking will be done on the park at Hampden.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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