The return from the international break is a good chance for Neil Lennon and Celtic to hit the reset button on our Scottish Premiership form.
After difficult matches and dropped points against both Hibernian and Livingston, the Hoops are now second in the table behind a consistent Rangers side.
The Ibrox outfit have only lost one game this season, against us in their own backyard. Impressive as the 2-0 win was, we’ve taken our eye off the ball since.
Our performances in big matches like the derby haven’t been the issue this season. More often than not we’ve turned up with some impressive performances when the tension and the excitement is ramped up.
It’s the displays in games with a lower profile that we’ve been left wanting.
For James Forrest to completely gloss over upcoming fixtures against Ross County, St Mirren and Motherwell then isn’t ideal.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, he said of our schedule before the next international break: “It’s a tough schedule, with the Betfred Cup semi-final, the double-header with Lazio in the Europa League and Aberdeen away as well.
“But it’s also exciting and the boys are looking forward to it. Lazio are the favourites to win the group, but we’re aiming to get a positive result against them at Parkhead and then take something from the away game as well.”
Are lessons being learned?
Forrest is of course right that those, on paper, are our most difficult tests on the horizon. What we need to find most of all though is consistency.
A tricky mid-week fixture against St Mirren under the lights at Celtic Park is sandwiched in between that Pittodrie trip and League Cup semi-final.
Meanwhile, an energy sapping trip to Lazio is immediately followed up by a tough 90 minutes against a physical, currently third-placed, Motherwell outfit.
With Ross County coming up on Saturday too, we can hardly afford to forget that these kind of matches will likely define our season when all is said and done.
All three games are at home, but that’s no reason to take anything for granted.
The Livingston defeat should have served as a wake up call for Forrest and company. Just because these matches are less exciting, they are no less important.
Hopefully Lennon gets that message through to them on the training ground this week and in the dressing room on Saturday, otherwise we are putting ourselves at risk of falling further behind.