Three games into that difficult second season, three wins, ten goals shared throughout the team, ten good goals, so we’ve every right to have a little spring in our steps of late.
Everything, as they say, is coming up roses.
For us traditionalists, it’s good to see us playing football the Celtic way. and it’s good to see that the players seem to enjoy doing so, even those who start the game on the bench, and would be expected to grumble about a lack of game time.
Of course, there will be hiccups as the season progresses, and those who are not Celtic minded in the media, which is pretty much all of them, will sow the seeds of discontent where and when they can, but it seems it will have little effect.
They’ve tried to unsettle Josip Juranovic, who is enjoying his time at Celtic, and has said so. There will be others who are on the radars of other clubs as the transfer window draws to a close, but there are no signs or sounds of any problems with anyone expressing a desire to leave.
Of course, every player has his price, but one of the bonuses of signing players who want to be at the club, and doing that little bit extra checking on the player as well as his ability, is that we end up with players who want to be at the club, and for the right reasons.
The manager knows how to manage as well as how to coach, and is now putting his stamp on the club, as opposed to last season when he was merely making an imprint,
Gradually he’s changing the coaching set up, with one or two of his own arriving, which may see one or two leaving, and there are certainly a few rumours to that end doing the rounds,
The next rumour will undoubtedly concern the manager himself, as it would be foolish to assume that other clubs aren’t taking note of what he is doing, with Manchester United the obvious one to be linked once they dismiss Erik Ten Hag, who has a middle name which matches his expected points total for the season.
However, the manager seems as content here as the players, and has ridden the storm of initial doubts among the support and the media, and seems to know how to deal with both.
As he pulls things together and the players adapt further to playing how he wants, and he’s not nearly so rigid as we thought at first, with a very flexible approach on the pitch, even if it looks at first to be simple and straightforward.
So much so that Rory McKenzie of kilmarnock actually said prior to the game how his side would handle it….
“We will be set up to stop them playing, make fouls, slow it down then try to play when we get the ball. We don’t want it to be a free-flowing spectacle.”
A typical Derek McInnes approach, but one we can expect more of as the season progresses.
In the first game against Aberdeen, the Dons packed their penalty box, which ti an extent cut down on the chances created from the flanks because the players waiting for the cut back either couldn’t get the ball or couldn’t find a space for a shot. Despite going down to an early goal, the dons never altered that plan, and it was surprising, especially as in their second game they showed that they can attack, with four goals against St Mirren. Though, in fairness, most teams will probably score four against St Mirren.
Ross County went with the physical approach, but at least tried to score, and it might well prove to be one of the more important results as the season goes on. It will certainly be remembered as one of the tougher matches, and perhaps that’s what Derek McInnes was thinking would work for Kilmarnock yesterday.
But it didn’t, because they’re not very good, as , indeed, any team that hires Kyle Lafferty tends to be.
5-0 was the biggest win so far, and Celtic didn’t really have to move up a gear to get there. They just did what they are good at, although it does help when the players you have on the bench are as good as the ones who started the game.
Already some in the media are crying unfair, being abe to make five substitutions when you can call on five good players gives Celtic an advantage, with smaller clubs forced to use youngsters and anyone in the crowd who has a pair of boots with them.
You’ll notice that criticism will not be aimed anywhere else, even though the charge could equally be levelled across the river. Except their players aren’t quite as good as those at Celtic, but they do have quite a few at a similar level.
Let’s just enjoy it, it’s going to be a great season.
Elsewhere, and Neil Doncaster has been negotiating a new deal with Sky TV.
Well, perhaps not negotiating in the true sense of the word, as he gets his remit from the clubs, who seem to have little interest in trying to get as much money as they can from the TV company.
It may be the fear of ending upo with nothing, as they did when they went with Setanta a few years back that hangs over them , or it may be a genuine feeling that the game in Scotland isn’t worth much, but it certainly won;t improve if they don;t get someone who knows how to sell things on board to give the beleagured Doncaster a hand.
Whether you want to admit it or not, Scottish football had a side in a European final last year, and is one of only a dozen or so leagues who have champions that go automatically into the UCL group stages, which must surely be worth something when it comes down to striking a deal.
The problem may be that clubs don;t want their revenues cut by having too many games on tv, but when you notice the empty seats at Dingwall and Rugby Park, it doesn;t seem like there is too much demand locally for their product, and whether or not it’s on the telly won;t make a great deal of difference, although you do wonder why they don;t make more away tickets available when Celtic or even “rangers ” come to visit..
With alternative options, such as Amazon, Netflix and other streaming sites , worth at least approaching, or BT sports, who at least put together a show worth watching, it remains a little puzzling as to why Doncaster has been told just to talk to Sky.
I’ve been happy enough to catch games on the radio for the last year or so, although this yesterday has kind of put a stop to that.
Holy fuk pic.twitter.com/ekZuR6qo44
— marc cairney (@CairneyMarc) August 14, 2022
Effectively, the commentator is saying that the goalie flung Jota’s shot into the net, which presumably is what they will all be doing as the season goes on.
Whilst it shouldn’t bother us, this kind of downplaying when something genuinely worth applauding happens is partly why Scottish football doesn’t get a good deal.
The media is determined to promote the Old Firm myth as battle of equals, where each is concerned only with beating the other.
Sadly, they have convinced the rest of the world that’s all there is up here, and until something is done to show that there are several other clubs who could use a bit more support, locally and nationally, who could conceivably step up a level.
Which they can;t do without the money, which they oddly enough, don;t seem to be that keen on trying to get…..