"Broke our spirit"; SPFL boss' surprisingly frank Celtic admission

By Euan Davidson

December 14, 2021

Ross County boss Malky Mackay has made a surprisingly blunt assessment of his side’s last encounter with Celtic, ahead of tomorrow night’s meeting.

Celtic beat Ross County 3-0 [BBC], with Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers making their first big impressions for the Hoops. Albian Ajeti was on hand to score twice against Mackay’s side, and it seems the defeat was a chastening one for a young Ross County.

Tomorrow, Celtic face the Staggies with an eye on the Premier Sports Cup Final at the weekend. Former Celt Mackay, though, is expecting a focused side to head to Dingwall in search of all three points.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Mackay said [Press and Journal]: “On another day, the deflection [for Carter-Vickers’ goal] doesn’t go in on 70-odd minutes, and it’s a really tight game.

“At the time it just kind of broke our spirit slightly, and there was a wee bit of naivety on our part from some of the young players at the time. We ended up with quite a young team on the pitch.

“There was a brave group that did well and had chances. I don’t [Celtic] they will be taking us in the least bit lightly despite where we are in the league and where they are in the league.

“I would be incredibly surprised if they did.

“It’s an interesting challenge for them, but they’re a club who need to win trophies, so there will be big pressure on them on Sunday to win that.”

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For Celtic, the remit is simple: break Ross County’s spirit again

There shouldn’t be a “good” time for any SPFL side to face Celtic. Some would argue that meeting a side with a Cup Final to think about would be opportune, but it ought not to be.

For the Hoops, picking up as many league points as possible is utterly imperative. Managerial change hasn’t affected Rangers yet, and the title race looks as if it’ll be nip and tuck until the very last. With that in mind, getting distracted by a potential trophy is the last thing Celtic can do.

The mission for Celtic, then, is simple: break Ross County’s spirit once more. Despite injuries, and plenty of them, there’s more than enough in the Hoops’ arsenal to fire them past the Dingwall side tomorrow night.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The Staggies have woes of their own. Alex Iacovitti, who scored for Ross County against Celtic last November, has been ruled out until at least the Winter break [Press and Journal].

The fixture list hasn’t been entirely kind to Celtic, but December is always a grin-and-bear-it type of month. These kinds of games are crucial; potentially tricky away ties with considerable travel time.

We’ve seen plenty of resolve from this Celtic side in recent weeks, it’s vital that we see even more against Ross County.

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