Kris Commons, writing in his Daily Mail column today, has claimed Celtic can’t use absent players such as Kyogo Furuhashi,, Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor as a potential excuse ahead of a looming 2 February Glasgow Derby with theRangers, this despite Celtic offering no such excuses whatsoever!
Commons is never short of an opinion but in this case, it seems his column has been somewhat engineered to revisit his own glory days where an injury hit Celtic side, including Commons, defeated Barcelona in 2012.
That of course was an incredible performance and result from a patchwork side, however it has no bearing on Celtic 10 years on, and when Commons writes ‘But I hate excuses being made when players are absent.’ You wouldn’t mind so much if Ange Postecoglou had broken down and proclaimed ‘we’re doomed without Calmac’ but he hasn’t and he won’t.
“Yes, Celtic will be without forward players against Rangers due to injury and call-ups but they still have good attacking options. They have got a recognised striker who they signed for good money in Giorgos Giakoumakis. He scored in the 2-1 win at Alloa on Saturday night and it’s time to put an arm around his shoulders and tell him: ‘This is what you were brought here for. It’s time to deliver. You are not just here to make up the numbers’.
“Giakoumakis has now got a couple of games, away to Hearts on Wednesday and at home to Dundee United on Saturday, to find his feet. Hearts at Tynecastle will be compact and noisy and the atmosphere will give him a little taster of what he can expect against Rangers.
“Celtic will also be missing Tom Rogic against (the)Rangers and the Ibrox side will be without Alfredo Morelos, both on World Cup qualifying duty. But I hate excuses being made when players are absent.
“I think back to the night when we beat Barcelona in 2012. We would have been underdogs even if we’d had our strongest team out. We would probably have been underdogs if Barcelona had only fielded five players! That night we were missing our captain, Scott Brown, our best centre-forward, Gary Hooper, and our player of the year, Emilio Izaguirre, and we still, somehow, managed to come out with one of the greatest results in Celtic’s modern history.
“So, yes, Celtic may be missing important figures from their line-up on 2 February, but they will feel they still have the players capable of delivering a vital victory against (the)Rangers.”
Celtic of course will have a more challenging Glasgow Derby ahead without key players, but as Commons rightly points out there is depth to the Celtic squad, something that not all teams can count on.
When you add new signings such as Reo Hatate, Yosuke Ideguchi and Matt O’Riley to the squad, you can be sure Celtic have enough to not only remain competitive in upcoming games but also to go on the sort of winning run they’ll need to if they are to turn around a four-point deficit at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
And that’s why there will be no excuses whatsoever coming out of the Celtic camp despite what Kris Commons would have us all believe. But let’s not let the facts get in the way when there’s a column to write, eh Kris?