This blog is a little later than usual because I’ve been away having some quality time with the family instead of working.
Of course, I’m not the only one.
From the minute Scott Brown got his standing ovation at Ibrox from the full away support and what was left of the home support trying to sneak away after their humiliation, our captain has been able to take a little break.
Sure, he’s suspended for the next two games and so had little choice, but I know he’s also spent the last few days having some quality time with the family instead of working. You’ll note he wasn’t at the new kit launch for instance.
I’ve mentioned it in the last few blogs, but our short summer means that Brendan Rodgers has to try and manage his squad as best he can over these last few games to try and ensure that they’re rested enough before they most crucial games of any season – the Champions League qualifiers.
But there’s still games to be played before then, not least of all the Scottish Cup final at the end of the month.
Then again, with only four games left of the league season, the chance to go unbeaten is now tantalisingly close. With one of the, on paper, difficult fixtures of the split already out of the way, the trip to Pittodrie is the most likely barrier to that achievement.
But that’s not to say the other fixtures aren’t difficult either.
Today we face a St Johnstone side who, aside from ourselves, have been the most consistent top six finishers in the league in recent seasons. They’ve also been one of the teams capable of beating us both home and away, so a positive result today is far from certain.
Just look at the last time we faced them and you’ll see how difficult they can be. Despite taking the lead at McDiarmid Park, St Johnstone went in 2-1 up at the break. It was only really the introduction of Moussa Dembele from the bench that helped turn that game in our favour and eventually saw us run out 5-2 winners.
Some will point to the penalty decision as the turning point of the game, and while I can’t deny that helped you would have to be blind to not see we were turning that game in our favour regardless. By the end of it we were scoring goal of the season, Rabonas, backheels and all.
Our earlier visit to McDiarmid Park saw us 3-0 up before half time, but St Johnstone battled back late on to have us nervous at 3-2, before Aberdeen’s young player of the year Ryan Christie settled things with a fourth for us.
The game in between in January at Celtic Park was one of those where we had no recognised striker fit, but Dedryck Boyata was able to get the only goal of the game with quarter of an hour to play. Again, St Johnstone pointed to an incident where they reckon Brown pushed over Steven Anderson, but in this case there was little in it.
Can’t help but think the referees might want to try an even up these perceived injustices though. These things balance themselves out you know. One bad decision deserves another would be another way to phrase that. I’d rather have a referee who gets his decisions right personally.
Missing Brown through suspension and Dembele through injury are big blows for today’s game given the way both have played against St Johnstone this season. It’s going to need whoever comes in to play well to ensure our unbeaten run is maintained. Hopefully Leigh Griffiths continues his goalscoring as he did at Ibrox last week, and if Calum McGregor can make it three goals in three games that will certainly help too.
Will we see Eboue Kouassi get a start today, or will Tom Rogic come in to play in that central midfield along side McGregor and Stuart Armstrong? Mikael Lustig, still on a high after scoring the fifth at Ibrox last week, is another reported to be getting a bit of a holiday so you would imagine Christian Gamboa is going to feature. Will there be any other changes?
What is certain though is that the weather is terrific. So hopefully if you’re getting along to Celtic Park today you’re treated to another fine Celtic performance and another three points. There really is nothing better than watching Celtic at home without the need for anything other than a t-shirt for a change!
Although, if you’re Scott Brown who will probably be in the stand today, that’s every day isn’t it?
Krys (Twitter @krys1888)