Probably it was a bit tougher than many expected but in the end, it was a good three points to pick up against Aberdeen last weekend.
As I had anticipated, the Dons had improved since last year and put our defence under real pressure on several occasions. However, the back four stood up to that and kept them to the one counter, although our almost unbelievable injury run continued with Glenn Loovens the latest to be struck. While we collected those points at Parkhead, Rangers continued their run at Tynecastle, where Hearts, judging by the TV footage, looked a bit out of sorts. Or it could be, of course, that the Light Blues, hardly anyone’s idea of a classic side, have a system in use that makes life difficult for opposing teams. Whichever is the true picture, they still sit top of the table, having only dropped four points out of a possible 36, a very impressive performance.
Tomorrow evening, Celtic head for Easter Road and a Scottish Communities Cup quarter-final tie against Hibs. The Hibees have been having an awful season. They lie in 9th place in the SPL table, having scored only 14 goals – while losing 21 – to pick up their 12 points. They did have a good day against St Mirren at the weekend but one match report on Monday started with – ‘What makes for a high scoring game?…two poor defences!’ – so the Celtic management must take notice of that and keep the pressure on that area.
Certainly, the form in cup ties sometimes varies from that in league competition but some statistics never lie. Celtic have the better squad of players, are in better form and have a real need to remain in this competition. If the manager and his backroom staff resist the temptation to chop and change the team because it is ‘only’ the League Cup – not the first time that has happened – then I feel we will be too strong for Hibs and can move into the semi-finals.