Celtic kicked off their September with a 1-0 win away to Rangers. In a game that was hyped up a great deal following the League Cup exit to Killie and home draw against St Johnstone, Brendan Rodgers’ side delivered three points thanks to Kyogo’s first half strike.
Whilst the international break sees the focus switch to Callum McGregor playing for Steve Clarke’s team, fans will be eager for the return of the Scottish Champions later this month. However, with four games in fourteen days, Rodgers will need to navigate a particularly difficult passage of games in order to continue the good feeling around the club.
Rodgers will have Reo Hatate, Marco Tilio, Nat Phillips back in training with another few injured stars two weeks closer to full fitness.
Dundee (H) – 16 September 2023
Derek McInnes’ longtime assistant Tony Docherty swapped his role at Rugby Park to become the top man at Dens Park over the summer. Since then, Docherty has been tasked with a substantial rebuild. The win over Hearts at Dens showcased to the league that Docherty was tactically astute and would offer themselves up as a stern opponent. After the win against Rangers, Rodgers will be eager to record another three points in the league, especially after the lackluster home draw against St Johnstone.
Feyenoord (A) – 19 September 2023
The opening UEFA Champions League fixture sees Rodgers take his side to The Netherlands to face Arne Slot’s Dutch Champions. ‘De club aan de Maas’ sit fourth in the Eredivisie with two wins and two draws from their opening four games. The Rotterdam outfit were the Pot 1 team but in truth, it could have been a lot worse for Celtic. Notwithstanding their undoubted quality, when you look at the teams that we could’ve drawn, Celtic will make the trip hopeful of picking up a result. Feyenoord have had a fairly large turnover of players this summer with €37m spent and €36m received in fees. Slot’s team will certainly be a formidable opponent.
Livingston (A) – 23 September 2023
David Martindale’s Livi have been a bogey team for Celtic in recent years, especially at the Tony Macaroni Stadium. The Livi manager has bemoaned the budget constraints at the West Lothian club this summer as they have been forced to make ends meet. However, despite this, Martindale always has a habit of putting together robust, combative and, ultimately, successful teams. The Scottish manager will look to frustrate Celtic and replicate what St Johnstone did at Celtic Park. This will certainly be a tough challenge for the Scottish Champions but, as we have seen with Ange, Celtic need to be ruthless and refuse to allow the conditions to dictate the result.
Motherwell (A) – 30 September 2023
Celtic went into the break top of the Cinch Premiership but only on goal difference. The second-placed side are Stuart Kettlewell’s outfit, Motherwell. The Fir Park club kicked off their season with a draw against Dundee at Dens Park before three impressive wins against Hibs, Kilmarnock and Motherwell. Kettlewell’s team have been impressive and, despite Kevin Van Veen’s departure, they will fancy replicating their frustrating of Celtic from the tail end of last season.
It is interesting stress test for Rodgers’ squad this month. Injuries played their part last month but the manager will need to manage his squad in order to maximise their output across the month. The return of players like Liel Abada, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Maik Nawrocki next month will strengthen the squad as Rodgers looks to take the team from strength to strength.