Just as Celtic bring the curtain down on their pre-season tour, they look ahead to their first competitive match since the Scottish Cup Final. The results in Germany sparked negative reactions amongst fans but it is the competitive games that matter.
Lets face it, played four, lost four doesn’t look good or feel good at any time. Can we really read onto this kind form though?
No because these are about fitness and preparation, not winning 11-0. We’ve had poor pre-seasons on countless occasions but they’ve only ever hurt us when we’ve ended up stateside or down under.
The real stuff begins on Wednesday against Cliftonville. That’s where Celtic’s season truly begins.
These qualifying rounds for the Champions League dominate the pre-season. They come too early so these other matches serve only as build up and preparation for what lies ahead.
The current topics are filling the roles of Wanyama and perhaps Hooper. Wanyama’s departure gives the club a healthy profit and if Hooper goes as well that will increase further.
Kayal is the automatic replacement in midfield, a role that was his before Victor stepped in. Lennon may look at other options within the squad so with or without the purchase of a new player we’re not going to suffer.
The situation with Hooper is somewhat different. His goal tally has been great for the club since he joined.
Though we are not short of strikers or goal scorers either you do want your 20 goals a season hit man. Tony Watt is too young and inexperienced whilst guys like Stokes and Samaras do their best work outside of the box.
New signing Amido Balde is doubtful to be given the responsibility. His role may even lie somewhere behind the frontline.
Lennon has made noises about Hooper’s on/off transfer as recent as yesterday when he suggested he may have played his last game for Celtic. If a transfer does go ahead soon we are certain to have a few players on the shortlist.
The main focus for now is Wednesday and starting the campaign with a win. These are the matches where results matter.