St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin has offered Celtic credit and stated that both ourselves and Rangers are on a “completely different level”.
Celtic travel to Paisley on Boxing Day looking to make it 11 consecutive league wins. They also come up against a side who have only managed to beat them twice over the last decade. Celtic, however, have managed to win 19 of their 23 meetings over the last 10 years (Fussball Datenbank)
Meanwhile, the gap at the top of the Premiership between Celtic and Rangers is five points. However, the Ibrox side are 10 points ahead of third-placed Motherwell. The top two places in the league are now secure, with next to no chance of anyone splitting the pair of us before the end of the season.
St Mirren boss Goodwin is happy to acknowledge the gap too. Speaking to FourFourTwo, here’s what he had to say on Celtic and the Boxing Day clash:
“Hopefully we can carry it (our performance levels) on against Celtic and finish off against Kilmarnock. Celtic and Rangers are at a completely different level from the rest of us. We need them to take their eye off the ball, and that’s just to get a point.
“Every so often the ‘big two’ have a bad day. We just have to hope it is on Boxing Day. You never know. But we enter every game to be positive.”
Goodwin comments signs of the wider consensus
Goodwin, when speaking about the game, is clearly nothing more than hopeful. He knows that if Celtic turn up then there’s nothing tactically he can do to counter it.
However, in all honesty, these comments also come across as him resigning himself to the fact that we’re going to win. They don’t come across as having much fighting spirit, and for Saints fans that must be a little disappointing.
Of course, the Buddies boss is being nothing if not realistic. He doesn’t seem interested in pushing false hope to his supporters, and in a way it’s quite refreshing, and a compliment to how we’ve been playing recently.
History also suggests that he’s right too. St Mirren have faced top-six opposition on nine occasions this season. They’ve only managed to win one of them and have lost seven. Their better results this season have come against the likes of Hamilton, Ross County, and St Johnstone to name a few.
Celtic, meanwhile, have won all but one game against the bottom-six teams they’ve faced. Only Hibs have held us to a 1-1 draw, and they generally raise their game against us at Easter Road in any case.
You’ll do well to find someone who believes that St Mirren can follow in Hibs’ footsteps on Boxing Day. Even so, it’s imperative we don’t take our eye off the eight-point prize that’s on offer before the New Year.