Teenage Kicks, Diary of an Invincible Season, it’s January 2017

DECLAN McCONVILLE has been taking us on a very enjoyable month by month journey back to the Invincible Season. The 18 year old Celtic fanatic looks back to January 2017 in this feature…

Thursday 12 January 2017

Brendan Rodgers’ transfer business was done early in the month with midfielder Eboue Kouassi arriving from Russian outfit FC Krasnodar. The fee paid by the Scottish Champions was believed to be around £3 million, with Rodgers saying, “He is one of those young players I look at with the same feeling I had when I saw a young Coutinho or a young Sterling.”

Friday 13 January 2017

With no football at the beginning of the month due the winter shutdown, I had the pleasure of spending a Friday evening in the company of Lisbon Lion, Jim Craig at Celtic Park. Cairney gave a very insightful talk on the early history of Celtic as well as Scottish football. I could genuinely say that I could listen to Jim talk all day about Celtic. His stories are absolutely fantastic but like all Lions is very modest and humble.

Sunday 22 January 2017

To kick-off 2017, Celtic swapped roasting hot Dubai to take on Albion Rovers in freezing cold Airdrie. Brendan Rodgers had made some alterations to the team after the last game at Ibrox with the likes of Gamboa and Boyata coming into the side alongside Nir Bitton. Though the change that would have delighted most Celtic fans would have been that of Kieran Tierney who returned to the starting eleven after three months out.

The deadlock was broken in the 13th minute when Tierney charged down the left-hand side, cut in and found Scott Sinclair in miles of space who curled the ball sublimely into the top corner. Though many Celtic fans seemed frustrated as the team plodded along and never really upped the tempo.

The slow passing football continued for the good part of the second half, with the odd effort at goal. Eventually though Celtic’s advantage was doubled when Patrick Robert’s jinking run into the box was met with Moussa Dembele’s knee to put the hoops two up. The game was finally put to bed in the ninetieth minute when Patrick Robert’s again made a tantalizing run into the box to set up Stuart Armstrong for his ninth goal of the season. Afterwards, Rod Stewart made the draw for the next round of the cup. Rod appeared to have had a few refreshments before doing the draw. For a change, Celtic were given a home tie against Inverness Caley Thistle.

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Before this home league match against St Johnstone, Captain Scott Brown was presented with a jersey to mark his 400th appearance for Celtic. On this night, Rodgers’ side made history after equalling a fifty-year-old record set by the Lisbon Lions of going twenty-six games unbeaten domestically. There was some brilliant football played on the night, but all that settled the two sides was a bullet header from Belgian defender Dedryck Boyata on the seventy-second minute.

Sunday 29 January 2017

Celtic started this home game against Hearts brightly, moving the ball about well and controlling possession. Ian Cathro’s side had been set up to frustrate Celtic with their physicality. The Jambos claimed for a penalty on the half hour mark which was immediately dismissed by referee Bobby Madden.

Celtic then broke, Sinclair who seemed to have switched to the left-hand side cut in and played a superb ball into Callum McGregor which appeared to rebound of his shin into Jack Hamilton’s net. In the second half Celtic started to carve open the Hearts defence. After Liam Henderson’s introduction to the match the hoops went on to rapidly finish the game off. Henderson slipped an exceptional ball through to the impressive Tierney which was then fired across the face of goal. It looked as if Hughes had put the ball into his own net only to be saved by Hamilton’s boot. Sinclair was instinctive and doubled the hoops advantage from two yards.

It was like a Déjà vu for the third goal which was so like the second except this time it was Patrick Robert’s who smashed the Ball into Hamilton’s net. Celtic then really sunk their teeth in and made it four after Jack Aitchison was fouled in the box. Sinclair took the resulting penalty to round of a special day in Celtic’s 129-year-old history.

Nobody would have thought after the low of the Scottish Cup Semi-Final in April that we go on in the next season to have Brendan Rodgers as manager, Champions League football, League Cup win and be twenty-two points clear at the end of January conquering a record of unbeaten runs done by the Lisbon Lions. Oh, how things can change!

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 editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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