Well-timed Celtic refresh on the way
International breaks can be an annoying distraction for football clubs, not least Celtic. It feels like there are far too many of them and, increasingly, national teams are having an impact on the flow of a club’s campaign. That’s never more apparent than this year with the World Cup in Qatar taking place mid-season.
Nonetheless, this particular one does feel like the ideal time for a Celtic refresh and to re-focus minds after what has been a strange and bizarre fortnight for all sorts of reasons.
In total there are 13 first-team squad members off representing their countries during this break, with a decent chunk remaining behind at Lennoxtown for more work and development under the coaching staff.
Celtic were on a tear in the Scottish Premiership through the first six matches, which culminated in a 4-0 thrashing of Rangers, Ange Postecoglou’s greatest derby feat to date.
Then came the Champions League, the postponement of a match, a very rare Premiership loss and all sorts of noise surrounding the club, its supporters and even the manager’s job prospects in England. Somehow, the perception is that everything has become a little muddled regarding Celtic.
Whether that’s true or not, everyone has the perfect opportunity to regroup and get back to a routine and process that has delivered so big for the Bhoys over the last 12 months. That includes the thoughts and expectations of supporters right through to the squad members whose job it is to now push on.
Even the players off playing international football will benefit from this. It’s too early in the season to be concerned by physical exertion and getting a break from the intensity of what’s gone on in Glasgow recently could be great for their mentalities.
They’ll be returning to Celtic eager to right the wrong of St Mirren and show teams at home or abroad that the Bhoys are still the force they threatened to be pre-Real Madrid.
Backed by fans who will not have any distractions, it could be another brilliant period of the season for everyone involved. It’s certainly an important period, so it’s time to take a breath and look forward to the challenges ahead.