What rival fans are forgetting as they desperately try to push Celtic narrative

By David Walton

January 6, 2022

As we well know by now, Rangers fans have continuously tried to inform us that Celtic were too scared to face them in January.

Indeed, our decision to move the winter break forward was all part of a plan you see. A plan to get some of our injured players back and get closer to full strength. Rather that than facing Giovanni van Bronckhort’s men with several wounded apparently.

Forget the fact Celtic actually made the decision in order to give fans a chance of making the derby. Not just the derby in fact, but to get capacity crowds back for when the second half of our campaign kicks off.

Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

That’s proven to be a decision that appears to have been vindicated. The Daily Record last night credited a Hampden source who said Celtic vs Hibernian on January 17th will be a full capacity contest. Job done.

But even still you’ll hear them say we instead made the decision out of fear. That we know we were going to lose and blah, blah, blah. Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story and all that.

However, they’re actually forgetting one thing. Celtic are likely going to be without 2 key stars that would’ve been fit and available to feature this month.

Martin Boyle linked as Ange’s focus switches to outgoings | Scott McDonald on 67 Hail Hail

Martin Boyle linked as Ange’s focus switches to outgoings | Scott McDonald on 67 Hail Hail
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Celtic will be just as badly depleted if internationals go ahead

Sure, we may have Jota, Giorgos Giakoumakis, James Forrest, and Christopher Jullien all fit and competing again. Even then there’s no guarantee they’ll be 100% come the Rangers fixture. But we’re also likely going to be without some of our best players on February 2nd.

Kyogo Furuhashi and Tom Rogic, both of whom have made brilliant contributions this season, will almost certainly be away with Japan and Australia respectively.

So we’ve been happy to allow the fixture to be pushed back and have players of that quality miss out? When both would’ve been fit to play had the game been on January 2nd? We’ve hardly helped ourselves much if that’s the case then.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It’s absolute paranoid nonsense. Celtic have a huge chance of missing out on a host of talented players for the game against Rangers. Cameron Carter-Vickers could even be recalled by the USA. Granted, that’s highly unlikely, but his performances have been terrific this season and can’t be far off.

The point behind why would Celtic purposefully put themselves in that position? Just to get Jota back? It’s not as if Jullien is likely to play from the start against Rangers. Same goes for Giakoumakis. Forrest maybe, but he’s hardly been a talisman in derby matches.

So there, we’re still likely going to be missing hugely talented players for the derby next month. Maybe even more than we would’ve had we played the game in January. Not that our rivals like to listen to reason right enough.

In other news, Scott McDonald on squad integration and how new Japanese Bhoys can push for success at Celtic