Celtic’s 3-0 win over Aberdeen at the weekend ensured we’ll definitely be top of the table in the new year. A healthy eight point gap now exists between us and second spot, with Aberdeen’s nearest rivals having lost before kick off at Celtic Park on Saturday.
That is probably of little consolation to Derek McInnes and his men though. Having created a few chances in the first half, without really hitting the target, it must have been a cruel blow for them to concede to a wicked deflection.
Mind you, they’ve only themselves to blame for the other goals. A bit of pinball between defenders in their own six yard box certainly won’t have helped. The only frustration from that goal for me was that I didn’t have time to stick Jonny Hayes on as an anytime goalscorer!
Football has a funny way of doing that kind of thing. Hayes hasn’t had much luck since moving from Pittodrie, but his last couple of performances have been better and all he needed was to get that first goal. Of course that was going to come against Aberdeen! The only surprise for me is that it wasn’t a 30 yard screamer – he was always good at getting them against us!
Maybe next time.
As if that pinball wasn’t bad enough, the final insult was the Kenny McLean pass back that probably still wouldn’t have reached Joe Lewis even if Olivier Ntcham hadn’t nipped in to grab it. Lewis was left in no man’s land and Ntcham rounded him to round off another satisfying day.
Aberdeen will now look to regroup once more and try to stay in second whilst hoping for a slip up from us. They’ll already know how we’ve done when they play on Wednesday night, because we’re the lunch time St Stephen’s Day entertainment.
At Dens Park. John Hartson, look away now.
Five years ago we travelled to Dens Park for a late night game on this very same date. What followed were accusations of all sorts from pyro to full scale riots.
You don’t know man, you weren’t there.
That’s not just a humorous comment, Hartson really wasn’t there yet saw fit to comment and condemn on rumours anyway.
Having said that, of all the times I recorded audio at the game, this was the one where I had the most trouble. The guy behind me insisted on winding me up about it and eventually I just put the recorder away and left it running in my pocket. I figured it would be a good chance to experiment, but it was one that I never repeated.
That’s it though. That’s all I remember being particularly bad that night. The pyro was nothing more that loud bangs. Nothing overly dangerous, just noisy. I didn’t see any fights, problems with the police, nothing. Just some pretty drunk and happy Celtic fans. Nothing wrong with that!
It seems unlikely there’ll be a repeat of any such reports this time though. The lunch time kick off will see less drinking time on the day and so less likelihood of anyone taking offence at Celtic supporters being drunk and happy.
Why that should offend anyone is beyond me, but offence at the football is actually still a crime. Hopefully not for much longer though.
This trip to Dens Park is of course our second of the season. Our League Cup quarter final tie was drawn here, and resulted in a fairly comprehensive 4-0 win on our way to retaining the trophy. Two goals in each half, Scott Sinclair and Callum McGregor joined James Forrest with his two goals on the scoresheet, and it was about as one sided a game as you could hope. 65% possession in Celtic’s favour actually seems pretty light from what I remember!
The league meeting at Celtic Park was a far tighter affair, with Ntcham getting the only goal and Dorus De Vries showing us all what he was truly capable of with some terrific saves. He did as much has anyone, and arguably more, to get the three points.
Dundee have had a reasonable few weeks in terms of results. Like us, they lost at Tynecastle a couple of games ago, and also like us they bounced back with a win over Partick Thistle. A 1-1 draw with Motherwell was their result at the weekend, with Paul McGowan opening the scoring before conceding an equaliser from the spot.
Prior to the Hearts defeat, Dundee lost narrowly to Aberdeen which itself came after wins over Rangers and Ross County.
Mark O’Hara is the name that keeps cropping up on the scoresheet. He may not have scored at the weekend, but he got both goals against Rangers, as well as one against Ross County and Partick Thistle each. Sofien Moussa scored two penalties in the Thistle game, while Faissal el-Bakhtaoui got the other goal against Ross County.
This December schedule has been punishing, with little time to work on anything in training. But it is nearing an end, and hopefully the confidence we’ve taken from the two home wins since Tynecastle should see us through these final two games.
Or at least through the Dundee game and then we’ll see where we are for our final game of 2017.
Krys (Twitter @krys1888)