The Bhoys can put December's results behind them with a big win against Brechin

By Ruari Macneil

January 17, 2018

Celtic fans will be pleased to be kicking off the New Year at home to minnows Brechin City in the Scottish Cup.

Brechin City currently sit bottom of the Championship table with only 4 points and have failed to win one of their 21 league games for far this season (4D 17L).

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The Bhoys endured a rather uncharacteristic December in terms of results.  The 5-1 victory against Motherwell at Parkhead was a bright spot, but two disappointing draws and, of course, the humiliating 4-0 defeat at the hands of Hearts in their own back yard – ending that unbelievable 69 domestic games unbeaten run – meant December was probably a month to forget.

Celtic has played 38 competitive games already this term – the same as an entire league season, and perhaps December’s results were purely a reflection of exhausted legs.  The warm weather training trip to Dubai will hopefully have enabled the players to recover.

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This may be the case, but with injuries still impacting squad availability and new player recruitment slow so far this January, Rodgers is not exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to team selection.

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Tom Rogic and Jonny Hayes are still out with injury, whilst Stuart Armstrong is likely to miss at least 3 or 4 fixtures before he returns to fitness after his hernia operation. Patrick Roberts, who joined up with the squad in Dubai after his rehab, is still on the road to recovery and by no means match fit. January arrival Marvin Compper was also confirmed to be out for up to a month having picked up a calf injury.

The strikers in particular need to re-find their scoring form, and the team could do with Scott Sinclair getting back on track after a difficult season so far. There’s unfortunately been little continuity up front this season, with Griffiths and Dembele frequently swapping in and out. The pair have only scored 17 goals between them this term, which is a tally close to what you’d be expecting from both of them individually.

But kicking off the New Year with a game against a side like Brechin will be welcomed by Rodgers and the players. There’s no better way for confidence than a strong performance and big win – no matter who the opposition.

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List page image © Brian Hargadon