History has proven that Celtic pre-season results mean absolutely nothing

By David Walton

July 26, 2021

Celtic have had a bit of a gloomy pre-season if we’re being honest with ourselves.

It started not too badly of course. Comfortable wins against Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton had us looking in good form. Transfers needed to be made, but the confidence was there.

Then came the slump. Celtic had a bruising 0-0 encounter against Bristol City before losing to Preston and West Ham at Celtic Park. The latter match finishing in a 6-2 humiliation.

Unsurprisingly, that’s led to some over-the-top criticism of the Hoops from the media. The likes of Hugh Keevins has already come out and said Rangers could win the league by more than 25 points this season [Daily Record]. Same goes for Keith Jackson who claimed we were a car crash waiting to happen [Daily Record].

But the fact is that it’s important not to go way over the top when it comes to pre-season.

Celtic pre-season work has been about fitness levels and managerial integration

Celtic’s main goal this summer will have been to get the fitness levels up to a sufficient standard for the UEFA Champions League clash against Midtjylland.

In the games against Preston and West Ham, Celtic have made a host of changes and had to use an untested backline. When Carl Starfelt comes out of self-isolation and a couple more additions are made, watch the positivity return to Parkhead.

Pre-season has always meant very little. We had one of our most exciting ones back in the summer of 2009 under Tony Mowbray. Celtic won the Wembley Cup featuring Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur. We bossed the latter and hammered Egyptian Champions Al-Ahly too.

Mowbray had the likes of Chris Killen looking like a new player. Georgios Samaras, meanwhile, looked ready to dominate Scottish football. We know what happened next.

Contrastingly, look at the disastrous pre-season campaign of 2013. Celtic went to Germany and found themselves bossed against the likes of Sevastopol, Cluj, Greuther Furth, and Union Berlin. We conceded 12 goals in those games alone and Neil Lennon’s team looked to be dying out.

Photo credit should read CHRIS RATCLIFFE/AFP via Getty Images

In the end, we qualified for the Champions League group stages and won the title one off a 100-points total.

The point being that looking into pre-season is unfair on Ange Postecoglou. Yes, there is still work to be done, but we’re in a better place than some of these results make out.

Celtic are producing promising football going forward and bossed Midtjylland for long stages at Parkhead. A win on Wednesday would be the perfect vindication for Postecoglou’s work so far.

But let’s not get carried away with a couple of friendly games. History has proven they mean little.

In other news: German Report: Bayer Leverkusen move in for Piero Hincapie after summer Celtic link