“Its another day in Paradise” as the homeless highlighting Millionaire Chateau-living Fax-Divorcing Phil Collins once sang, back in the day when not all pop stars where 17 and had floppy daft hair and a Cougar fetish! Its back to weekend SPL action as Celtic welcome Inverness Bella Caledonia ( You sure? – Ed) to Celtic Park. No doubt reporters around Scotland are saying their prayers that another Mary Poppins style headline is just around the corner.
Yip, references to that SuperCaleyGoBallistic gag never gets old Lads.
As Caley come to Glasgow, they currently sit a respectable 7th in the Armaggedon laden SPL. With 27 goals they are the Leagues top scorers but with 26 against they also suffer at the back. This fragility was evidenced by last weeks disastrous 5-1 home defeat to Motherwell. The latest team news suggests that they will be unchanged from that drubbing. For Celtic its a case of Beware the wounded animal and all that!
Butcher will as always have his team pumped up to play against Celtic and Caley Thistle will not be backward at coming forward when the game kicks off in sunny Glasgow on Saturday at 3pm. With Caleys form and Celtic likely enforced changes, its safe to say this wont be a dull 0-0 game.
After a tiring run of games for the Hoops its clear that a change and a rest is dearly needed for the Hoops. Hopefully, given that we are playing at home, the manager will have the courage to apply major changes. As Lenny openly concedes half the first team squad look dead on their feet. Its understandable. The mental anxiety and well as physical effort against sides such as Barcelona and Benfica will have taken its toll.
Couple the Euro games, and the pressure that goes with such campaigns, with games against ‘gritty’ SPL opposition and its no wonder our players now feel and show the strain. Its been one tough season and its not even December yet. With more than a few well known casualties recovering, Lenny must try and utilise all his squad and we could also see a few kids being called up to step in where possible.
In goals its doubtful Fraser Forster will get rested but it would be good to think Zaluska ( Polish for ‘Square arse’ ?) or new Bhoy Kamenar can get some game time someday soon. In front of him will be Lustig and Matthews on the wings with Kelvin Timber Wilson and Efe Ambrose in the centre as frankly theres no-one else! Hopefully someone like Thomas Rogne and Izzy can start to grab some time on the pitch, complete recovery from injury permitting of course.
In the middle, its really a case of a limitedLenny asking “Who wants a game?”. Charlie Mulgrew was ill in Benfica and his set piece delivery is the only reason no one is berating Lenny for playing a player feeling below par. Scott Brown needs surgery and wont be seen again in the SPL for a long time. Broony might take an injection to make the Spartak game but domestically he wont return until 2013. James Forrest is another long term absentee while Joe Ledley is rumoured to have a hip issue and we dont mean doubting how trendy his dress sense is ( Youre Fired! – Ed). We also have Sammi ran rather ragged. The Manager will therefore be looking at players like Kris Commons and Beram Kayal to pick up the challenge of leading the Bhoys against Big Terry Butchers men.
Joining Commons and Kayal in the middle should be Big Victor Wanyama ( a possible Captain?). Wanyama knows he wont make the Spartak game so will be expected to give everything humanly possible, as he always does granted, against Butcher and then Hearts midweek.
With Wanyama and Kayal breaking up Caley attacks, Kris Commons can feed the forwards who will be up against Caley Keeper Esson. Hopefully the side can get an early settling goal and then kick off from there to seal a solid Victory.
Making up a midfield 4 could be Dylan McGeouch rotating with Paddy McCourt although Lenny could maybe just surprise us all and go 4-3-3. It would be a bold and unusual step for the irishman but why not play to our strengths?, especially at a time when the midfield is so compromised.
Up front Lenny has the options of any 3 from Hooper, Watt, Miku and Lassad as well as a possible Sammi but given recent exertions, the big Greek at most, should be granted a seat on the bench as we see him hands the scoring baton over to Hoops and Co.
As well as the Spartak game on the fortnight horizon, Celtic have a game away against Hearts in midweek. With one eye on that encounter, we should see Lenny fully utilise his squad and all 3 subs should get a run out.
If you’re listening God, 3 points and no major casualties is all we ask but would be nice if we saw some of the young guns getting some match time at Celtic Park, especially Bahrudin Atajic who has been in outstanding form for the wee Celts
Celtic 4 : 1 Caley