The Celtic boss has just delivered the news his rivals were fearing
By far the best news this week has been the likely return of 4 key Celtic first-team players after the winter break.
Ange Postecoglou stated that James Forrest, Chris Jullien, Jota, and Giorgos Giakoumakis were all likely to be ready to play come the resumption against Hibernian on January 17th [Daily Record].
For Celtic fans, this is exactly the news they were hoping for during the break. That key players would return to action for the second half of the campaign. Before the winter break was moved forward, the Hoops faced the prospect of playing a Glasgow Derby without any depth and minus the likes of Jota, Forrest, Jullien etc.
The main reason the vast majority of clubs voted to move the break forward, of course, was to give it every chance for fans to return to stadia once more. As of last week, Scottish football grounds have only been allowed a maximum of 500 spectators. With big games coming up, the decision was made to bring forward the break in order to give the government some time to reintroduce greater numbers.
Embarrassingly, Rangers were reportedly one of the clubs against bringing it forward [Scottish Sun]. There is no plausible justification for their stance either. Still, they just have to be different don’t they?
The truth is, this is exactly the news they wanted to avoid. Had we not brought the break forward, the Glasgow derby would’ve taken place in 3 days’ time. Many of Celtic’s key stars would’ve been sidelined whilst we would’ve had no time to get bodies in the door. That’s the real reason Rangers wanted to keep things as they were.
Rangers wanted to avoid Celtic’s key players returning for derby
Our rivals were left salivating at the prospect of coming up against a patched-up Celtic. A Celtic side potentially without a striker and stretched badly all over the pitch. It gave them a massive advantage heading into the derby.
The fact that they also would’ve only come up against 500 Celtic supporters was also another plus-point for them. They were actually happy to allow their fans to miss fixtures in order for them to have an easier ride of it against us.
Of course, that’s not what Rangers will tell you. Nor is it what their fans will push. They’ll claim that we were the ones running scared and that’s why we wanted the break pulled forward. But the difference is that we have vast majority of Scottish football behind us. What’s their excuse?
Sure, they may still get their wish with regards to playing in front of minimal supporters. It’s difficult to see that changing massively within the next 3 weeks. But at the very least they won’t be getting to face a Celtic side stumbling for options in key areas of the pitch.
Outside of that, there’s no logic for Rangers reportedly voting in the manner they did. Yet what says it all about them is how it surprised absolutely nobody.
Hopefully, we make the injury returnees count when derby day rolls around on February 2nd. Celtic will hopefully have plenty of momentum in their sails by then.