The 3-game opportunity that could showcase Ange Postecoglou's Celtic progress
When Celtic return from the winter break next week, there’s only one option – win.
Indeed, that’s what it needs to be from now on. With a 6-point deficit behind Rangers, the Hoops need to go on a prolonged winning run to seriously pile some pressure on our rivals.
Not that the prospect of that will faze Ange Postecoglou. After all, his team won 13 of their final 15 domestic games of 2021. That kind of form would normally have you sitting pretty at the top of the Premiership.
However, what let us down in the first half of the campaign were a few disappointing blips. The vast majority of which coming in the early stages of the Postecoglou reign.
Indeed, Celtic’s opening day 2-1 loss at Tynecastle was a cruel one. As was the 1-0 derby defeat at Ibrox in a game we matched our rivals in. Not to mention the draw at home to Dundee United just as we were looking like making some progress.
How fitting then that, after our return game against Hibs on January 17th, our next 3 fixtures will be against all of the sides mentioned above. Celtic will head to Gorgie on January 26th, with United at Parkhead 3 days later. Rangers will then do the same thing on February 2nd.
Celtic can right some wrongs early on
The Celtic squad is in a much better place now than it was in all of the fixtures mentioned above. Indeed, we’ve even managed to beat Hearts at Parkhead and Dundee United at Tannadice since then. However, Tynecastle is a totally different environment whilst United appeared to enjoy the large spaces available to them at Celtic Park.
Celtic have yet to face Rangers since that August defeat at Ibrox. However, this is a fixture we haven’t won for around 3 years. The last time we beat our rivals at Parkhead was in March 2019. That’s an unacceptable statistic that needs to change for the February fixture.
If Ange manages to come out of all of these fixtures with 9 points, Celtic will be in an absolutely glorious position. It will be vindication of the work done so far this term. A sign that the confidence and team chemistry around the club is growing.
Everything is in our favour heading into these games too. Ange has far more options at his disposal whilst the players who signed in the summer have now had a full half of the campaign to get used to their surroundings and opposition.
Nothing about Hearts, United, or Rangers should give Celtic any sort of surprise. There are, quite simply, no excuses for failing to get the job done in any of the 3 matches.
It’s going to be a massive week not just for our season, but for the Postecoglou revolution. Just how far has it come along? That 7-day period will give us a strong indication.