Malky Mackay attempts to pile pressure on Celtic ahead of Ross County trip; could backfire
Ross County manager Malky Mackay has attempted to reinforce the theme of pressure on Celtic surrounding tomorrow’s match, as Ange Postecoglou and Greg Taylor push against it.
Celtic travel to Dingwall this weekend knowing that three points are necessary to keep the points buffer to Rangers in second place at six.
And Mackay thinks the kind of pressure on Celtic tomorrow is reminiscent of title pressure he felt as a player at Celtic Park in the 1990s.
He told The Scottish Daily Mail [23/04 print edition, page 115]: “From my very first week at the club, I felt it – even pulling on the jersey for the reserves. There’s an expectation on you. You are always the biggest game of some club’s season. It feels like the whole country’s eyes are on you.
“That’s what Celtic and Rangers face every week and that’s why, to play for them regularly, you have to have a certain mentality. People with longevity at these clubs are the guys with the real strength of mentality.
“The day of the St Johnstone game [on the final day in 1998] was like a pressure-cooker. It was incredible how much was riding on it, a pivotal moment in two clubs’ histories.
“There will be massive pressure on Celtic coming here on Sunday.”
Mackay is obviously trying to find an edge for his team this weekend. That’s his right. This is the message he’ll be telling his players. He’ll be eager for them to get at Celtic early and test the Bhoys.
But I don’t think it’s a ploy that’s going to work. Both Postecoglou and Taylor masterfully batted away questions about pressure and bouncing back in yesterday’s press conferences.
The Celtic manager’s point is that the team have already overcome more pressure this season than they are facing tomorrow. The way we started the league campaign ensured that.
This is all in Celtic’s hands. Every message coming from Lennoxtown is calm and composed. Nobody is showing signs of stress.
Nobody needs to tell them there’s a lot at stake. For goodness sake, our captain called it the biggest game of the season moments after losing against Rangers.
We need to keep faith in this group to deliver what we all want them to, despite all the noise surrounding the title ambitions.
If anything, this team have shown they respond to pressure this season – so Mackay could well find his tactic backfires if it’s a supremely motivated Bhoys his team faces tomorrow.