Brendan Rodgers spoke to the media this afternoon as he previewed his team’s upcoming clash with Feyenoord in their last UEFA Champions League group stage game this season. It’s been an underwhelming campaign, as the Bhoys have been knocked out of the League Cup, saw their lead at the summit of Scottish football cut to just five points – with their main rivals still to play their game in hand – and beaten comprehensively in mostly every game in Europe too.
It’s made for some sobering reading and despite the odd flashes here and there, this is a Celtic team right now that just don’t look to be at the races. Of course, not all of this is the manager’s problem, as we’ve saw the side decimated by injuries and yet more project players delivered to replace the stars who’ve left Parkhead and only one appears to be really able to make an impact in Luis Palma.
The news that Reo Hatate was pictured at Lennoxtown had provided hope, along with suggestions that the Hoops’ USA international, Cameron Carter-Vickers and teammate, Daizen Maeda, both participated in training this morning had seen a burst of optimism from the Celtic supporters ahead of tomorrow night. However, Rodgers has crushed that notion by revealing that both Carter-Vickers and Maeda are more likely to be ready for Hearts this weekend.
On suggestions from the floor that he and his team should change tact and approach the game tomorrow night against the Dutch Eredivisie champions differently, Rodgers replied that it wouldn’t be to the team’s strengths – pointing to our second-half display in Ayrshire this past weekend as proof of that assertion. The side’s inability to play their usual, possession-based style was compromised on Sunday afternoon and it saw us suffer as Derek McInnes’ cohorts won the battle on the field, which subsequently turned the game in their favour.
When quizzed on whether this was another game that can give fringe players an opportunity to prove their worth and mettle, he unsurprisingly said that by the time he reaches the winter transfer window, all the players will have had adequate scope, across different footballing levels and competitions to show their abilities. It’s another statement that suggests the manager is fed up having to defend players who are nowhere near the required standard to drive this Celtic team on and MUST be addressed early in the New Year.
🍀 “Our strength is to go and play the game we want to play…”
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) December 12, 2023