So that was February 2020.
A leap year February no less…a month where surprises are meant to be when men are proposed to by their partners…there were a few surprises for Celts mind…Lets have a wee review:
The Month required that Celtic play 8 games ( and then immediately kick off March with an away Cup tie in Perth no less).
The results were as follows:
On January 31st, if you had offered Celtic fans a 12 point lead at the top of the League, a Place in the Scottish Cup semi finals and no major injuries come today 2nd March, then the majority would have taken it gladly. A few though would still shake their heads in disappointment after the capitulation to Copenhagen at home..but we can come to that, lets go back to the start of the month.
A few months ago, a certain “Football Analyst” on Sky Sports Scotland named Kris Boyd loudly proclaimed how Celtic were under so much pressure and how they would have to go to 3 tough away grounds in row to face Hamilton, Motherwell and Aberdeen ( as well as a trip to face Clyde whilst also facing Hearts at home). Boyd reckoned the fixture list would crush Celtic.
While Boyd ranted on, former Celt Kris Commons sat there nodding and listening but said nothing. He didn’t have to.
Commons knew what was coming. Commons knows that Celtic know how to handle such a schedule and handle it they did, with aplomb.
Hamilton away is a weird game to play..a screen for a stand, a plastic pitch, hardly any home fans. Celtic dismissed any of these irregularities and despite going 1 goal down, rattled 4 goals passed Southwood in the Hamilton net to secure 3 points. The trip to neighbouring Motherwell would be even sweeter, another 4 goals scored but none conceded. The Steelmen were bent all out of shape as Griffiths and Edouard continued their welcome pairing up front and Calmac scored a Goal of the season contender.
6 points secured and it was on to face Clyde in the cup.
Of course we got the usual “Roy Keane Day” memories but a professional dismissal was served with a 3-0 win during stormy weather. We even had the cheek to throw in a goal from Bayo AND Scott Brown…honestly, we did!
After securing the Cup win, it was back to the League where we faced Hearts at home. Folk in the Media felt Hearts may cause us some issues but after 30 minutes, the backline collapsed and Celtic ran riot. 5 goals from 5 different scorers and a clean sheet. A managers dream.
Aberdeen was the next port of call and its always been a curious fixture, although recent results have seen Celtic do well up in the Silver city. After a tough match, it was looking evenly matched with 10 minutes left. The scoreline read 1-1 when Celtic kicked off a break on their own 18 yard line. As the forwards passed the ball towards the Aberdeen goal…50 yards behind, Kris Ajer started running…and he kept running…and then kept running…suddenly he was in space and collecting a perfect pass from James Forrest. Ajer then calmly lifted the ball into the net to secure the 3 points. What a run!, and it was a run that sums up this Celtic sides spirit!
With Pittodrie vanquished, it was onto Europa League Time.
Copenhagen beckoned and for 30 minutes, everything looked wonderful. Celtic were in such comfortable control and scored through a lovely Eddy dink and had a few more chances. Sadly they didn’t take them and back came the Danes who ultimately ran us ragged. It would take Fraser Forster to make a wonderful penalty save to secure a draw after we basically fell apart.
There was no rhyme nor reason for such a performance swing. It was truly bewildering how we went from so calm to so hapless but a draw was secured and we were in the driving seat with a home tie still to come.
The Hoops returned home for a Domestic game against Kilmarnock who had found a recent turn of form. There were a few fears of a Euro hangover when Killie took a very early lead but Celtic held their nerve and stormed back with that super striker Kris Ajer again scoring and the front pairing of Griff and Eddy showing their class to secure the win.
And so to Copenhagen at home.
Utterly dreadful. I still have no idea what I was watching. Folk said it was individual errors, others said it was tactics, others blamed front men for not taking chances. It was probably a combination of all of these factors but we were simply abysmal in losing from such a position. The only moment of enjoyment in the 3-1 defeat was the VAR penalty decision given for Celtic..but that was slight reward while we conceded 3 goals to a Danish team that were functional and nothing special.
This was a big loss and a big opportunity lost and no mistake.
So that was that.
23 goals scored.
7 goals conceded.
- Eddy: 7
- Calmac: 3
- Griff: 2
- Ajer: 2
- Olly: 2
- Jullien: 2
- Jamesie: 1
- Chistieano: 1
- Jozo: 1
- Broony: 1
- Bayo: 1
In summary…its hard to realistically reflect and be really upset.
The League and domestic cup and chance of another Treble are a higher priority, and being pragmatic, a true possibility and the joy of the progress made there takes precedence over the Euro disappointment. Hopefully the Copenhagen collapse is another lesson learnt but overall, February will probably go down in the history books as the Month when we secured the League win to make it 9 in a Row so all in all, we cant really complain.
And with that, we close out February.
March would start with a great professional win in Perth versus St Johnstone to progress to a Scottish Cup semi final against Aberdeen but we shall cover that in 30 days or so….
What’s your thoughts?