Tonight’s match at Celtic Park has been billed as a must win game for Ronny Deila. The only difficulty going into this fixture is that Celtic have yet to achieve the long-term consistency we all crave.
As for the opponents, Hearts, they are sitting top of the Championship three points ahead of Rangers. Celtic sit fourth in the Premiership, five points behind leaders Dundee United.
Now as you well know, form rarely matters in the cup competitions. Nonetheless, this is a big fixture for Celtic and Deila.
He is losing support from areas of the fan base already. A loss tonight would be an immediate blow to any chance of a domestic treble.
The pressure on Deila right now is immense. A convincing win tonight would go a long way to releasing some of that.
Hearts will feel they have nothing to lose playing a Premiership team. At the same time they will be thinking “we couldn’t have got Celtic at a better time.”
With that in mind, Ronny Deila must respond by putting out a strong side. Then it is up to the players to do the business.
An early goal would be ideal for Celtic just to get settled. Then to press for the second before Hearts get a chance to make any real attack.
There has been some decent play at times by Celtic, but not enough and in particular, in the final third. Possession isn’t an issue for a squad like this but they have to make that possession count.
With any luck Šćepović and Guidetti will light things up for the forward line. Tonight would be a good starting point.
Go for the jugular Celtic.