I’m aware we all have a tendancy to look at things through green-tinter glasses – as Celtic fans we don’t apologise for it.
But as we close in on next weekend’s crucial derby, it’s time to cut the fear. It’s time to stop acting as though we’re off to the Allianz Arena to take on Robert Lewandowski and co.
Celtic are off to Ibrox to face a very in-form Rangers team. I’m happy not to dress anything up there. They’ve won 18 out of 20 games. That’s terrific form and fair play to them. In recent weeks the main objective for us has been to hang onto their coat-tails and just pray for a slip-up.
That slip-up hasn’t come yet, but a sway in the momentum most certainly has. Rangers looked imperious at the start of the season as their defence racked up a record number of clean sheets to start a campaign.
Now? That same defence has looked all over the place in recent weeks. Against St Mirren it was brutally exposed with two cross-balls. Motherwell did the same with another low ball at Ibrox.
Steven Gerrard’s side may not have conceded a goal since, but their defensive frailties were on show again yesterday. Martin Boyle should’ve scored after a minute. Kevin Nisbet also had a glorious chance before a rather bizarre foul was called for no real reason.
Allan McGregor then managed to miss another simple cross-ball as the pressure started getting to them vs Hibs. The pressure of only being one goal ahead showed real chinks in their defensive armour. That’s not forgetting the penalties Hibs should’ve had either. Something Jack Ross wasn’t best pleased with (Sky Sports).
Celtic crossing ability can harm Rangers
Meanwhile, we’ve been creating a truckload of chances in the last two games. The quality of the opposition hasn’t gone over my head. We were playing Ross County and Hamilton, I know. But we could’ve won either game by about five or six goals.
Celtic are creating several of these with some great deliveries too. Both Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard rattled the post yesterday with headed opportunities. Griff slotted home a superb header vs Ross County too. Shane Duffy did similar against Kilmarnock whilst Chris Jullien kicked off our headed form with a nod home against Lille.
In addition to that, David Turnbull is adding a superb range of crossing ability to this Celtic side. This is a massive weapon ahead of Ibrox next week.
Also, whisper it quietly, but we have three clean sheets in a row heading into Wednesday’s home game vs Dundee United. Another win there and we’ll have won our last six games. Rangers? Should they win in Paisley they’ll have won their last four.
Celtic’s momentum is growing and it’s about time we started talking our own big players up. We have two strikers hitting form. A new, energetic midfield that looks desperate to impress regardless of the occasion. And a new goalkeeper in Conor Hazard who’s maturing by the week it seems.
Ibrox is undoubtedly the acid test for Celtic this season. But given what both teams have shown over the last couple of weeks, it’s time we started to get a bit more confidence about ourselves. We can take them – it’s just down to Neil Lennon and co to prove it.