The High Bar

For a team that are now 68 domestic games unbeaten, there’s a lot of discord among the Celtic support right now.

That’s healthy.

Yes, the unbeaten run is phenomenal. Yes, most of us have probably never had it this good before. Yes, we’re five points clear with a game in hand. Yes, we have one trophy in the cabinet already. Yes, we’re in Europe after Christmas.

But that doesn’t mean we should be complacent.

If Brendan Rodgers isn’t annoyed about how we threw away a two goal lead on Sunday at Easter Road, then he’s not doing his job properly. I don’t think that’s the case, I think he was probably just as annoyed as the rest of us at how that game finished.

I’m not sure if it’s the social media era or if it’s always been there, but there’s an odd bipolar aspect to the Celtic support – and probably the world in general. Either everything is amazing, or everything is doom and gloom. If you’re in one camp, the other camp gets criticised.

Remember the 90s. Yeah, I do remember the 90s, they were awful. But just because it’s infinitely better today than it was then doesn’t mean we should ignore the negatives.

I mean, if we’re going to pick on the extremes then we should all calm down about this current Celtic team. Remember 1967. You’re not that good.

See? It’s the same ridiculous notion.

This season was always going to be a difficult one. Brendan Rodgers difficult second album have a phenomenal debut album. Sam’s Town to Hot Fuss.

Okay, it’s not that bad.

Winning an invincible treble, drawing just four games of thirty eight, and reaching the group stages of the Champions League. 2016/17 was utterly unprecedented, and to compare anything with it is unfair. We’ve already drawn more games in the league this season, but we shouldn’t see that as a disappointment because we’re still where we want to be.

However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be striving to be better. We shouldn’t be throwing away two goal leads for one thing! If we’re happy with that, then there’s something wrong.

Hopefully then, tonight’s match against Hamilton will see the start of an improvement that we all want to see. It’s still a busy period for us, and I’m expecting to see out squad fully utilised during this period, but with Europe now put to bed until February we can focus on our league ambitions up to the winter break.

Hamilton are a very strange opponent though. On the face of it, they’re one of the poorer teams in the Premiership. Yet they seem to grind out results, especially against the teams in the top half of the table. They’re something of a bogey team for Aberdeen, especially at New Douglas Park, and they recently went to Ibrox and won 2-0 too.

Indeed, that win was part of a six game unbeaten run that only came to an end at the weekend with defeat at home to St Johnstone. In that period they also drew with Hibernian, Hearts and Aberdeen, so it’s not like they were only playing teams in the bottom half of the table!

Yet when we played them back in September, it was relatively plain sailing. 3-0 up at half time, courtesy of goals from Stuart Armstrong and two from Scott Sinclair, we added a fourth in the second half as Odsonne Edouard scored his first goal for the club. The only real disappointment was the dreadful defending late on when Alex Gogic was pretty much unmarked and unchallenged to get a late consolation.

That one game is probably a microcosm for Celtic at the moment! Great result, but clear room for improvement.

Despite the good run of results, Hamilton are still ninth in the table, just two points clear of the playoff spot. It’s pretty tight at that end of the table if you take Partick Thistle out of the equation, although not as much as it was as they’re now six points behind sixth place.

But if Hamilton can take points off Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibernian and Rangers – the teams currently second, third, fourth and fifth in the league – then they’ll have no fears about going to Celtic Park to try and get something.

It’s up to Celtic then to get things moving again. The last few games have taken us a while to get the opening goal, but we’ve plugged away and got it. That part doesn’t really concern me anywhere near as much as the defending! So as well as three points tonight, a solid performance at the back would go a long way to restoring confidence there.

We’ll need it to get through the rest of this busy December.

Krys (Twitter @krys1888)

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