John Hartson's passionate Celtic verdict; wowed by squad strength after they "bamboozled" rivals

By David Walton

February 9, 2022

John Hartson has been left buzzing with the strength of the Celtic squad as he claimed they left Rangers “bamboozled” last week.

The Hoops are on a superb run of form after racking up 6 consecutive wins in 2022. Tonight, they’ll be looking to make it 7 at Pittodrie in what’s a tough-looking encounter for Ange Postecoglou’s men.

However, unlike earlier in the campaign, Ange now has the ability to rotate his squad effectively. Postecoglou made 3 changes from the Celtic side that beat Rangers to the team that destroyed Motherwell 4-0 at Fir Park on Sunday. It was a seamless transition, with competition for places opening up all over the pitch.

Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images

And Hartson couldn’t hide his own excitement on Go Radio last night as he talked up the options Ange now has at his disposal:

“Who do you play now? McGregor plays. Do you play with Hatate in his form? Do you play Matt O’Riley? He’s got options. I’ll read off the bench from the weekend. The difference in what he has to come on and not only make a difference but just be of a similar quality… 3 or 4 months ago you were looking at the bench and it was youngsters, players who hadn’t really proved themselves.

“The bench at the weekend was Forrest, O’Riley, Jota, Juranovic. You have Turnbull to come back, Kyogo to come back. We’ve thumped Rangers 3-0, and we bamboozled Rangers with a wonderful performance. They did the same against Motherwell at the weekend.

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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

“Celtic now – it’s taken time on the training ground and it’s taken Ange drumming it into them – right now Celtic are a different proposition.”

Celtic squad options helping to bolster title-charge

There’s no denying it. The options Ange Postecoglou now has at his disposal is becoming scary. Look at the talent Celtic now have from midfield to front. If there are injury or suspension concerns, we now have players of similar quality who can come in and make an impact.

That’s the most impressive thing about this squad Ange is building. If Giorgos Giakoumakis is injured, Daizen Maeda can step in. If Tom Rogic is out, Reo Hatate can move into the number 10 slot. Should Carl Starfelt picks up a knock? In comes Christopher Jullien. There’s incredible strength all over the park.

And that’s why there isn’t a hint of trepidation or even nerves heading into tonight’s game at Pittodrie. Compare that to October, when Celtic had players who hadn’t proven good enough on their bench away to Aberdeen.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

If Stephen Glass believes that this will be a similar contest to the narrow 2-1 success we took from the Granite City back then, he’s badly mistaken. In fact you could go as far as to say it’s sheer delusional.

Celtic are in a great place at the moment. It’s no coincidence that our run of form has come as our squad options have increased.

It’s worrying times for the rest of the Premiership. But from a Celtic perspective? There’s plenty to get excited about.

In other news, 3 more changes after Motherwell rout, 2 big attacking swaps; Celtic predicted XI vs Aberdeen