What a night for Celtic and Anthony Ralston.
First of all, the club head back to the top of the Premiership thanks to a 3-0 home success against Motherwell. Meanwhile, rivals Rangers were held to a 0-0 draw at Easter Road against Hibs.
It was the perfect scenario for Celtic coming out of what always looked like being a productive evening for them.
What capped it off, however, was two defining occurrances of tonight’s game against the Steelmen.
Mikey Johnston’s goal was a cracker, and he’ll have a huge future at Celtic Park. But it’s the decision to include Ralston in the team that will have been a huge surprise to the supporters. Better yet, his performance was just as encouraging as the decision to select him was.
Brendan Rodgers gave Ralston a big chance tonight, and he took it with aplomb. He looked defensively solid, whilst he constantly roamed forward whenever he had the chance. Summing up the positive feeling of the night – Ralston squeezed in behind the Motherwell defence to score a crucial opener.
It was the critical moment of the match. Celtic had largely been frustrated for the first 20 minutes, and needed a moment of composure from their side. Fortunately, the right-back provided that.
Should Ralston be the number two right-back?
So is he the one to take over at right-back and help out Mikael Lustig? Probably is the answer to that one.
Yet, there’s one aspect of his game that certainly needs to improve. Ralston got into plenty of positions tonight that looked promising enough down the right. But when it came to his crossing and final ball, it was more often than not lacking.
On more than one occasion, the youngster often hit his crosses too deep where there were no Celtic jerseys in sight. If he was to work on that aspect of his game, then he genuinely has the ability to be a Celtic star.
Just when it looked like he was about to be frozen out of the squad, Ralston got his big break.
He was one of the best players on the park, even if Scott Brown was awarded the man-of-the-match on his 500th appearance for the club.
It looks like an unlikely renaissance is set to take place regarding Ralston. Once that final ball improves, Celtic really could have a star on their hands.