Whilst Aberdeen showed real character in the second half of yesterday’s match at Pittodrie by fighting back for a draw, they passed up the chance to go top of the Scottish Premiership. Now the day has arrived for Celtic to respond to that missed opportunity by taking all three points at Tynecastle.
Yesterday I mentioned pressure and the ability to handle it. Aberdeen failed to deal with the pressure that awaited them before yesterday’s game kicked off and ended up putting themselves under further pressure, the result of which they overcame.
Now Celtic must rise to the task of beating Heart of Midlothian away. The Edinburgh club came back to the top flight this season (after learning a valuable financial lesson and going about recovery with professionalism) to give a very good account of themselves by keeping up with the best in the league.
Recent form has not been great for Hearts though. It is five games since they recorded their last victory back in early November againt Hamilton Academical.
Don’t be fooled by this spate of form though. Hearts pose a serious threat for Celtic and in an intimidating atmosphere as well.
Tynecastle is one of the few Scottish grounds that offers an atmosphere. The tight pitch and proximity of the fans to the action can make this a hostile environment.
Today it will add to the pressure Celtic are already facing. Supporter withdrawl, an under fire coaching team and below par performances from key individuals are the self made pressures at Celtic.
Winning the treble and winning all your games are the domestic pressures imposed by the fans, the media and the pundits. Not just this season, but every season.
Are they handling it? Well you’d have to say yes because they are still top of the league, still in the fight for the treble and this is all being done with some inconsistency.
Two losses is by no means a disaster for Celtic. Nor are the three draws they’ve picked up from eighteen games – the halfway mark of the season.
I’m more concerned by how unconvincing Celtic are at home. They look nervous in front of their own fans.
Do they feel supporter pressure? Well they should do because that’s your yard stick to how well you are doing.
Performing in front of them should be the motivator that drives you on. We’ve seen Celtic give more of a battling account of themselves away from home which is why I think they will win at Tynecastle this afternoon.
It’s a mouthwatering tie in Edinburgh and is a key marker in the current campaign. What better challenge than to overcome the pressure of Tynecastle and start putting some distance between you and your rivals?