We Will Rejoice – The Valentine’s Day Monkey is now off Celtic’s Back

The Pixies may have sung ‘This Monkey’s gone to Heaven’ but I doubt very much they had a football match at Pittodrie in 2021 on their mind when they did so. And even if the Monkey isn’t banished as far away as some celestial destination it’s certainly off the back of Ange Postecoglou, the players and that incredible away support that travelled north in the wee small hours of Sunday morning – and the rest of us biting our nails in various destinations across the world.

Frank Black’s lyrics of course prophetically warned of the impending climate change crisis we all live in now but for Celtic getting that monkey banished means a climate of fear an impending doom has been replaced now by a tangible hope that at least a corner has been turned for this Celtic team, one very much in transition.

“This is the Day that we win away” joyful Celtic fans Celtic at Pittodrie. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

We’ve all had almighty hangovers after a Valentine’s night out but we’ve never had one that lasted until October. Yet getting that monkey off the back yesterday ended an away day hoodoo that had lasted all the way back to young lovers necking champagne in February. Yesterday was the long-awaited fry up and bottle of Irn Bru to banish the effects of the morning after. It’s been a hard slog.

 Kyogo Furuhashi of Celtic celebrates after scoring at Pittodrie. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

No-one of course is pretending yesterday’s 2-1 win was a vintage performance, that everything clicked into place, or that we won’t have more twists and turns than a Jota performance on the wing ahead of us this season, but we’ve played better and lost this season. As such it was good to see some old-fashioned hard graft exhibited by the players, when the silky stiff was out of sync, result in a precious three points in a title race where further dropped points at this stage would have weighed heavy on hopes for a title challenge.

There is a feeling this Celtic side are simply going to have to do all they can to stay in touch as injuries and a lack of numbers in midfield in particular can be addressed in the January transfer window. As such tired bodies and minds will have to produce hard fought wins to add to some of the scintillating football we’ve also witnessed at times this season. Until now that wasn’t always on show and that was why a win in such circumstances yesterday, where a determination to stick together and get the points was something worth celebrating. And it was something clear as day as the players, manager and supporters came together at the end of the match. It very much felt like a breakthrough moment and let’s hope that is exactly what it was.

Jota celebrates after scoring the winner at Pittodrie. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The on-field celebrations, at what was ultimately the winning goal yesterday, showed there is a real togetherness in this group of players. And it should be noted despite this team being driven hard in games and in training, the vast majority are buying into Ange Postecoglou’s vision for Celtic. There has been a lot of hard yards put in by these Celtic players and they haven’t always had the rewards for their efforts so far, but yesterday, long overdue as it was, they got exactly that.

Now as Ange Postecoglou sifts through his injury list and makes plans for some much-needed time on the training ground, for those players not heading away on international duty, there is an opportunity to spend some real time with the squad.

Celtic’s two goal scorers Jota and Kyoto Furuhhashi (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It’s not easy to change a squad mentality and play Thursday and Sunday week after week, and the impact such demands make on the players bodies and minds can also be addressed for some even if not all as club football takes a back seat to the international calendar.

As such when the team returns in twelve days’ time for another away trip, this time to Fir Park, you’d like to think more of the Postecoglou philosophy will have seeped through to the players and that monkey we got off our backs yesterday will keep its distance.

Niall J

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About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parhead's gates.

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