Tom Rogic has had a long way back to peak match fitness but an excellent Scottish League Cup semi-final performance against Hibernian on Saturday has proven he still has a lot to offer Celtic.
The Australian has received his fair share of criticism throughout 2019. Much of it has been earned. With fitness and injury issues severely hampering his Celtic impact, he’s been left out more often than not under Neil Lennon.
When he has played he’s looked a yard off the pace.
That dwindling form coincided with the rise and rise of Ryan Christie. The Scotland international has been nothing short of sensational for us recently. With 12 goals and seven assists, he’s arguably been our best player so far this season.
However, it all combined to leave some making hasty judgements of Rogic.
Chris Sutton in particular penned a Daily Record article last week that claimed there was ‘no way back’ in the number ten role for Rogic at Celtic.
As quoted by the paper, he said: “There seems absolutely no way back for Tom Rogic in terms of that No.10 position.
“I can’t believe I’m saying that because I’m a huge fan of the Australian. He is also full of craft and gets you goals but he plays a pace gears below Christie. Celtic are better with the latter’s pace and drive.”
On the basis of his recent displays against Aberdeen and Hibs, that judgement appears to have been made far too quickly. Rogic quite clearly has a lot to offer Celtic, when Christie is available or not.
The 26-year-old glided about Hampden Park in the semi-final, at the centre of much of our positive play in the Hibs half.
He’s found his quickness of turn on the ball and range of passing, promising to be back in amongst the assists and goals on a regular basis once again.
Christie may have only been on the bench because of a knee niggle, but on another day may have been risked by the manager. Rogic is back and competing for places.
His Celtic demise has been overstated.