Celtic have to avoid making the massive mistake against Dundee United although they might already have an eye on the upcoming Glasgow Derby.
There are no easy games this season. There are no guaranteed home wins. Even if Celtic have put in some better performances of late, the second half against Hearts in the Scottish Cup Final illustrated the defensive fragility that still exists in this team.
There is a lot to be wary of in a Dundee United side which has had some decent results of late including a draw with Motherwell, a home win against Kilmarnock, a draw against Hibernian and a narrow defeat against the Rangers.
Manager Mickey Mellon has them well organised and fighting hard in games. Goalkeeper Benjamin Sigriest has been linked with the Hoops and may perhaps be looking to show how good he is in front of them. Up front they have Lawrence Shankland, who had a decent goal scoring record in the Championship but has failed to translate that into the Premiership till now.
Having said that, the form book favours the Hoops who have to some extent made progress from a particularly bleak period and will be looking to make it six wins in a row across all competitions. While their opponents have had some decent results of late, they haven’t won at all in their last seven games away from home in the league, and haven’t won at Celtic since back in 1993. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been a season for the form book.
With dropped points over several league games, there is little or no margin for Celtic to slip up and turn in anything other than wins. Saturday’s match at Ibrox will be significant, but if the Hoops don’t keep gathering points from other matches, any positive result there could be irrelevant.
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Expectations are higher now and with signs of a strong partnership between Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard being re-established, you’d expect to see the pairing play tomorrow. Christopher Jullien will want to get another game under his belt if he has recovered from the knock that kept him out against Hamilton Academical. Neil Lennon has said he is fit and available.
We can also expect to see Mikey Johnston continue to get more game time. Other injury woes for Lennon look pretty settled. All eyes could be on his goalkeeper selection and what that signals for the Glasgow Derby. Will Conor Hazard’s run continue with Lennon already downplaying any January move for Fraser Forster?
Let’s all hope for the continuation of the Celtic revival and a strong win. Before that it’s good to know there will be a minute’s silence before kick-off to show respect for the late Jim McLean, a truly great manager in Scottish football. For younger readers who may not be familiar with his achievements, Ewan Murray’s article in The Guardian is typical of the man and the tributes being paid.