Celtic’s game against Ross County on Sunday lunchtime is the first of nine matches the Hoops will play in December. The games will play a huge part in setting up Celtic for the second-half of the season after the winter break.
Hopefully the Hoops will go into the break with a lead at the top of the league and as Betfred Cup winners. The schedule will be a big test of the players and the Hoops management. Celtic face tough fixtures such as two Glasgow derbies and a trip to Tynecastle to play Hearts.
Here we look at three ways Celtic can overcome the busy schedule to end the month of December in a good place:
1. Take one game at a time
Whilst some Celtic supporters might be looking ahead to the two games with Rangers as key fixtures, Neil Lennon will not even be thinking about those games. He will be taking one game at a time, beginning with the trip to Dingwall. That is the right thing to do. It ensures that the Hoops do not get ahead of themselves looking to the future. It also ensures that the current game is the most important one. That is what Neil Lennon will be doing anyway, but it matters even more so when the games are coming so quickly.
2. Rotate the squad when possible
Celtic’s squad will be utilised very heavily in this run of fixtures. When possible, Neil Lennon should look to rotate his squad and give players a rest when need be. Really, there is no need for the majority of players to feature in all nine games. Perhaps the exception is Fraser Forster, but then he could be rested for the Cluj game. Rotating the team also gives squad players the chance to shine and make the case for a regular first-team spot. If handed correctly, the move could be profitable for the Hoops.
3. Get matches won as early as possible
With Celtic playing twice and sometimes three times in a week, the players will need to conserve their energy as much as possible. A way to do that would be to get games won as early as possible. For example, going three gaols ahead at half-time. That would allow the second-half of games to be played without much exertion. It would also allow Neil Lennon to make some changes to his starting line-up with, for example, 60 minutes gone in a game.