Acting Out

It’s been a good week so far. Second place Aberdeen lost at Ibrox twenty four hours after we came from behind to beat Partick Thistle. The gap at the top is now eleven points instead of eight as a result, with the two teams behind us separated only by goal difference.

Let them fight it out.

Better still, the SNP were finally defeated in their ridiculous Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act. The repeal bill was voted for by all of the opposition parties and as they outnumbered the government we are now one step closer to finally being rid of an ill-conceived and ill-advised law.

I’m all in favour of stamping out discrimination in this country, but that act wasn’t even close. Football is an outlet for it within a badly flawed society, not the cause of it. Go away, think again, and come back with a better idea. Preferably one that isn’t restricted to football and one that doesn’t rely on the police being told what to be offended about.

Of course, that relies on the SNP knowing why it’s flawed. James Dornan didn’t seem to realise that whether or not he was at the football actually mattered when he was being offended by some of the anti-Irish rhetoric that was thrown his way. What chance do you have when they don’t even understand that simple flaw?

We’re not quite shot of the act yet as the next step is for it to go to committee, so you can bet the SNP thought police will try every dirty trick to delay and obstruct the removal of something none of them can bring themselves to actually admit was wrong.

Which is utterly ridiculous if you’ve heard John Mason on the Celtic Underground podcast. He openly admitted many of the flaws we all know are there, yet still wanted to keep it.

Don’t drink the kool aid, kids.

Now though it’s back to matters on the park as Celtic face Hibernian for the fourth time this season.

Of the three previous games, Celtic have only won the League Cup semi final and even that was a struggle at times. 2-0 up thanks to a Mikael Lustig first half double, Hibernian were gifted a penalty despite Dedryck Boyata putting in a perfectly good challenge. Anthony Stokes, whose Hibernian career appears to be over now, scored from the spot to give Hibernian some hope.

At least until Moussa Dembele came off the bench to restore the two goal lead.
Even then though, Oliver Shaw was able to peg Celtic back again and while Hibs tried to push for an equaliser, Dembele finally got Celtic’s fourth late on to send us through to the final.

Conceding twice to Hibernian seems to be a common occurrence. Last month, Celtic were 2-0 up thanks to a Scott Sinclair second half double, but a disappointing end to the match saw an Efe Ambrose shot deflect in off Scott Brown before Shaw scored the equaliser a few minutes later. Indeed, it could have been even worse had Lustig not cleared off the line late on after Craig Gordon came rushing out and flapped at a high ball.

As close as that was, the only time Celtic have been behind to Hibernian came in the first meeting of the season at Celtic Park. It didn’t start that way as Callum McGregor gave us a first half lead. But two second half goals from John McGinn had Celtic within ten minutes of losing the unbeaten run until McGregor equalised to share the points.

Of course, as much as Neil Lennon’s men came close to ending the unbeaten run it was their city rivals that finally did. We’ll get to them soon enough, but Hibs will no doubt cause us more problems just as they have in the previous three games.

So what can Celtic do to ensure we get our first league win over Hibs? Good question.

Many have bemoaned the lack of creativity in the team of late. With Patrick Roberts and Tom Rogic still on the injury list there’s not much they can do to help here. Sinclair, Dembele, McGregor and Lustig have all scored doubles against Hibernian this season, but then so too McGinn and Shaw have scored twice against us.

To get the three points, taking chances and not gifting any is going to be key. That’s true in every game though, so that’s not really insight, is it?!

The truth is, I don’t know. We just haven’t quite clicked in many games this season. It would be unfair to compare with last season as that was phenomenal, but you can still look at this season and see it’s not quite what it should be.

Then again, occasionally Celtic have risen to the occasion. Away at Pittodrie for instance. Play like that and no one in Scotland stands a chance.

We’re probably due another performance like that, wouldn’t you say? A “blow them away” performance that leaves you disappointed when the full time whistle blows but only because you didn’t want it to end.

Then again, as long as we pick up three points today I’ll be happy. Maybe save that big performance for Hearts instead, we owe them one.

Both would be great though!

Krys (Twitter @krys1888)

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