WE asked you to contribute to The Celtic Star and plenty of you have taken up the challenge. Here Andrew Brown reflects on last month’s results, including the defeats at Easter Road and Ibrox and looks forward to the rest of the season before concluding that Celtic are on track to win the league!
Why Celtic Remain On Track To Retain Scottish Premiership
Celtic ended the year in top spot in the Scottish Premiership table, with a game in hand over their closest rivals Rangers. Steven Gerrard’s side closed the gap, winning what was effectively a six pointer on the 29 December to inflict the first defeat in 13 Glasgow Derbies in Brendan Rodgers.
After that game the Scottish Premiership started it’s well earned winter break and the Celtic squad are currently in Dubai at the club’s usual winter training camp.
The Scottish Premiership is certainly more competitive at the half way stage than it usually is as Celtic are normally well clear by the start of the New Year. Kilmarnock remain in contention and Aberdeen have worked their way back into a challenging position so it really is all to play for when the action gets back underway later this month.
Despite a fast start from Hearts and impressive form all last year from Kilmarnock, Brendan Rodgers’ men worked their way up to the summit of Scotland’s top flight and it would be foolish to back against Celtic. The Bhoys have lifted the Scottish title in each of the last seven years and an eighth successive crown beckons barring a disastrous Celtic collapse.
The 1-0 defeat at Ibrox came after a brilliant 4-3 win away at Pittodrie against an in-form Aberdeen. This result was not only impressive, it was crucial to Celtic’s title aspirations.
Celtic’s home form domestically has been perfect this season – that’s 100% perfect. The two most recent wins came against Dundee and Motherwell, both finishing 3-0, and before that Kilmarnock suffered a rare defeat, losing 5-1 to the Champions.
It is the away form though that has The Celtic Supporters concerned. Last month Celtic dropped two points at Motherwell in a 1-1 draw, lost all three to Hibs who were comfortable 2-0 winners at Easter Road and finished the year with that 1-0 defeat at Ibrox.
The win at Aberdeen was the only away success in what was a tough month for Celtic – they had the Betfred Cup Final (which they won 1-0) and the last group game in the Europa League against the impressive Salzburg – who became the first side to beat Celtic at home this season. Despite the loss Celtic progressed to the knock-out stages on the same night that Rangers were eliminated, following a defeat in Austria to Rapid Vienna.
20-year-old Odsonne Edouard has had to carry out the striking responsibilities at Celtic Park almost single handedly in the first part of the season. The young Frenchman has helped to fill the void left by the sale of Moussa Dembele to Lyon.
Leigh Griffiths remains on the sidelines with personal issues that when addressed will hopefully see the striker return to his best.
James Forrest and Scott Sinclair have also stepped up to the plate, scoring a number of important goals – Sinclair grabbed a hat-trick in that 4-3 win at Pittodrie.
These players will be central to Celtic’s success in the final third of the pitch in the second half of 2018/19 and they will be joined by a number of additions to the squad including Oliver Burke, who has arrived from West Brom on an initial six month loan and also Timothy Weah (PSG) and Dunajska Streda striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo.
Added together Celtic will have plenty of pace and goal threat in the area where it matters most in the second half of the season.
Celtic and Liverpool could be a decent double for league wins on either side of the border. The Reds are running riot at the top of the Premier League table and the latest odds at William Hill show Liverpool at odds-on to lift the crown.
Like Celtic, they are in pole position to push on and assert their dominance. In Scotland, Rangers aren’t quite as dangerous as the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are to Liverpool in the Premier League – strength in depth is a real issue for many Scottish clubs.
Celtic have the best attacking record AND the best defensive record in Scotland’s top flight – two clear indicators that the Bhoys are still the best team in the country.
An eighth title in a row looks on the cards and very few would back against Celtic. Brendan Rodgers will be urging his side to build on their excellent home form and go on an unbeaten run in the second half of the season.
So the title is league leaders Celtic’s to lose and most Scottish football observers will be expecting the defending champions to maintain their place at the top of the table to give the former Liverpool boss his 8th consecutive trophy since taking over at Parkhead. And if he can add the Scottish Cup to that to give Celtic a third Treble in a row it would certainly enhance his status as one of the best managers in Celtic’s history.
Also on The Celtic Star…
Celtic in Dubai -‘It’s really positive to have this winter break,’ Celtic Star…See HERE.
Transfer Window – Week One Report, we are Up and Running!…See HERE.
‘Celtic fans are amongst the best in the world,’ new Bhoy Oliver Burke…See HERE.
Timothy Weah set to sign 18 month loan move to Celtic…See HERE.
Scotland’s Shame! Celtic legend Chris Sutton receives death threats…See HERE.
Jim Craig – I caught a No.62 bus going to Auchenshuggle, to sign for Celtic…See HERE.
‘The football royalty that is Real Madrid came to town,’ Matt Corr…See HERE.
Your thoughts on Beaton and his ‘Curious Decisions’…See HERE.
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