Experimental Time

First, the good news. The next two games should be played on grass that is the correct length for playing football.

Also, there’s no Steven Naismith going around sticking his studs into our players and not even conceding fouls when he does.

Ok, now the bad news. We’re playing a stuffy Kilmarnock team who have already beaten us this season at Rugby Park and drew at Celtic Park on their last visit here. A Kilmarnock team managed by a decent manager and not a whiny dinosaur like our previous opponents.

And we’ll very probably be playing that Kilmarnock team with a few changes in our starting lineup.

Brendan Rodgers revealed after Sunday’s match that he always planned to make a few changes for this game, but the injury to Odsonne Edouard picked up in that game will only have cemented that thought.

As much as we might want to end the season with four wins for the first time in the league campaign, the only thing that really matters now is the Scottish Cup final in less than a fortnight. This game is meaningless for both teams while Sunday’s match is of far more importance to our opponents than it is to us.

Nevertheless, this should hopefully provide a few players with a golden opportunity to try and force their way into the thoughts of the manager for that showpiece event. And just look at some of the players we might see.

Marvin Compper, remember him?! What an odd signing that has been. Maybe we’ll see him tonight?

Charly Musonda, is he still in the plans? Reports are that he’s going back to Chelsea early and may not return. So maybe we won’t see him after all.

Patrick Roberts, we’re all disappointed he hadn’t featured more this season, right? He certainly looked lively at Tynecastle and I think many of us are torn between seeing him light up the stage a couple more times and want to plan for the future without him.

Stuart Armstrong, he’s still working his way back after injury into a strong midfield, but his limited appearances recently have certainly been encouraging. Then again, he might be away in the summer too.

Scott Sinclair, he’s been on the fringes lately but finally ended his goal drought on Sunday. This would be a great time for him to finish the season with a flourish!

Cristian Gamboa, remember him?! I have no idea why he’s been so far out of the plans when Mikael Lustig has been struggling. I don’t remember him really doing anything wrong either. Very strange.

That’s half a team we could put out right there that the rest of the league would bite your hand off for. Half a team that might be away in the summer. Half a team we’ll need to consider replacing if we’re to have a squad for going into Europe next season.

I think the only disappointment is the lack of talent coming through from the academy. Calvin Miller hadn’t been seen lately, while Anthony Ralston has been out on loan and even scored in Monday’s promotion playoff. I think Mikey Johnston has been out injured, but after him I’m struggling to think of anyone else that’s looking to breakthrough.

Anyone know what has happened to Jack Aitchison? He’s one of the development league’s top scorers, but hasn’t really been around the first team. You have to wonder if maybe he could be the answer given our lack of striking options. Moussa Dembele was taken off and wrapped in cotton wool after Edouard had to come off, while Leigh Griffiths – who is two goals short of a Celtic century – was ill and may well return this week at some point but more likely the weekend and not tonight.

This is exactly the point in the season when you can try things. If you remember, that’s one of the reasons our 69 game domestic unbeaten run started as it did. We lost away to St Johnstone with quite a few changes, then made a few more in Ronny Deila’s final game on charge against Motherwell. Indeed, that’s the day Aitchison entered our record books as our youngest ever goalscorer!

Kilmarnock will definitely fancy taking another Celtic scalp tonight, but that’s all they have to play for. Of our two remaining league games, this one is our best chance to experiment. Aberdeen at the weekend will still have second place to play for. But Kilmarnock are definitely finishing fifth.

So maybe Kilmarnock will fancy experimenting too, who knows.

Of course, as this is the end of the season and Kilmarnock are visiting Celtic Park, that must means it’s foodbank collection time again. Yes, I have no idea why it always seems to be Kilmarnock games when this happens, but that’s nothing more than an odd quirk.

If you’re going to the game tonight, then please help out with whatever you can. It’s the usual list of desired items, long life items that can be stored and distributed later. You probably know the drill by now.

Which is rather sad really. Things don’t really seem to be getting any better. Foodbanks shouldn’t be a necessity, and I long for the day that they aren’t. But right now they are, and I know that once more the Celtic support will come through for them as we always do.

It’s what we were founded for after all.

Krys (Twitter @krys1888)

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