3 reasons to actually watch Aberdeen v Celtic

By Euan Davidson

April 20, 2021

If you’re anything like me, you’re a Celtic supporter in dire need of a pick-me-up, and a trip to Aberdeen doesn’t exactly sound like one.

Sunday’s horror-show is, thankfully, consigned to history. With news of a Super League emerging shortly after Full Time, the news agenda moved on with break-neck speed. Yet, for all the noise, there’s actually a very pressing matter at hand. Tomorrow night, we face Aberdeen, one of our tougher opponents in recent memory.

A trip to Pittodrie awaits the Bhoys, who are wounded from the chastening events of Sunday. The Dons, meanwhile, are buoyed by a new manager – a manager with such powers of persuasion, that he’s taken our captain for next season. In normal circumstances, everyone would be right up for this.

Yet, these aren’t normal circumstances. It’s April, and we have nothing to play for. For the first time in what feels like forever, the end of the season can’t come soon enough. It’s an alien, bizarre sensation but it’s one we’re going to have to deal with.

The natural temptation might be to switch off to a degree, and let Wednesday night pass you by. Here are 3 reasons why you absolutely shouldn’t.

Adam Montgomery, Cameron Harper and Luca Connell during a Celtic training session at Lennoxtown / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Major changes to Celtic squad for Aberdeen clash

Surely, by now, John Kennedy will have realised that it’s pointless relying on some of these players. The fact is, a good number of them just haven’t been Celtic quality.

Sunday proved that. Our full-backs were shockingly bad in particular, and it’s not like we have incredible depth in that position at the best of times. In a sense, we’ve never really replaced Mikael Lustig with the kind of classy full-back who does both sides of the game well. On top form, the Swede gave your everything; excellent reading of the game, robust tackling and the energy to patrol the flank every week.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves there; the point is, the bench on Sunday was pretty interesting. The likes of Adam Montgomery watched the nightmare live and in technicolour from the bench. With nothing to lose at this stage, Kennedy might opt for a youthful side to travel up to the North East tomorrow.

Kennedy has put the hours in as an approachable, skilled reserves and Academy coach. If he wants to leave any kind of imprint on Celtic going forward, he’ll want to hand out a couple of first-team debuts. That could mean Montgomery could feature, and he’s a particularly interesting character. As a striker/winger turned left-back, the positional change has clearly done him some good, and he’d be at least a spark of energy.

Meanwhile, Dane Murray, who recently signed a new contract, should be on the bench at least for this one. We need some excitement, and having Academy players to pin some hopes on would be huge.

Scott Brown: will he make the first XI? / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The Aberdeen v Celtic Scott Brown conundrum

Genuine question: would you play Scott Brown for this one?

I’ve been made to eat my words on our no.8. I’d suggested that since Kennedy came in, Broony looked brand-new. I guess that’s easier to suggest when we’re playing teams we’d expect to beat, but I stand by my words. Honestly, I thought Scott Brown had looked reinvigorated as Celtic had picked up some much-needed wins.

On Sunday? Not so much. Glen Kamara completely outclassed the veteran midfielder, and his was just one of several battles the Bhoys were losing on the park. Now, given that we’re playing Brown’s next club, it might just be an idea all-round to play Soro for this one.

The Ivorian had burst into the collective consciousness with some outstanding performances, but Brown has been preferred for a couple of months. Soro is the future. We can avoid any needless subtext in our next match by just starting the young defensive midfielder, and plan ahead with him dictating the tempo.

Add to that the fact that Broony would be facing off against his new team [Daily Record], and it’s a distraction that nobody really needs. While you can’t argue with the captain’s focus and motivations, it might serve everyone better for him to sit this one out. But will he? That’s another question entirely.

John Kennedy on the touchline for Celtic against Aberdeen / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

What John Kennedy does next will be very, very telling

You could argue the case that there are least 3-4 players who, after Sunday, needn’t play for Celtic again.

If you were being extreme, it’d surely be Laxalt, Kenny, Edouard and one other of your choosing. After the weekend, Edouard’s stock has lowered and it seems more than likely that he’ll depart in the summer.

It’s just, Laxalt aside, there aren’t obvious replacements. We don’t have adequate cover at right-back (unless you’re really a fan of Anthony Ralston), while Edouard is so obviously our best striker that it’s not funny. Griffiths is likely away, too, which leaves the underwhelming Albian Ajeti.

In that case, there’s a relatively possible scenario where actually, we have to rely on Eddy late on to produce some magic. Because to tell the truth, neither Ajeti or Griffiths look like scoring at the moment. Neither, still, look completely match-fit. After nearly a season, it’s totally unacceptable.

So whatever John Kennedy does will be legitimately fascinating. There’s no real case for a lot of the first-team regulars, any more. If Kennedy wants to prove he can make bold decisions, then this is as big a chance as he’ll get. If he can rotate the squad and still secure a win, it’ll do his reputation no harm.

And it might just give us a glimmer of hope.

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