Match 4 of 6 in January: Hamilton Academical

Tonight, Celtic host Hamilton Accies at Celtic Park. It’s match 4 of 6 for Celtic in January and another win is being sought after.

At home, Celtic have looked unconvincing over the season so far. Recently though they’ve looked more confident, despite the level of opposition.

Away games have seen better performances but now the fans will be looking for an upscale in performances at home. Tonight would be a good time to put that on show and ensure that the gap of six points is back in place.

Aberdeen are not giving up easily and Hearts are closely behind them. That makes the league title more interesting especially when you have three teams all having an impact on one anothers chances.

Don’t take tongiht’s opponents Hamilton 10th placed position in the league though. They’re one of three teams on 24 points at the moment and with only 4 points separating 11th placed Kilmarnock from 7th placed Inverness in the Scottish Premiership, there is another wee battle going on in the bottom half of the league.

So to tonight and Ronny Deila’s team selection. Will ge go with the same side that beat Dundee United in a thrilling match?

Well there is one player I would drop for sure. Stefan Johansen is way off the boil and needs to park it on the bench until he rediscovers his skills because they’ve not been seen since last season.

Tom Rogić has the job covered for now and deserves to stay on the park instead of being the guy to make way for someone else as seen on Friday night. James Forrest came on for Rogić in the 60th minute when he should have hooked the Norwegian instead.

That’s Ronny’s decision but Johansen input was minimal and most of the time misplacing passes. He doesn’t have the tempo for the game right now so should play someone who does.

Even Callum McGregor looked more effective against Dundee United and it wasn’t even his best game. Though to be fair to the young guy, he has been playing well recently.

There might be an opening for Scott Allan to make his first start tonight though. In front of the home crowd would be a positive for him as well and many are waiting to see him play more.

Sadly we won’t see our new signing Erik Sviatchenko but he is in training so hopefully we will see him in the Hoops before the end of the month. Until then, Efe Ambrose just needs to keep doing what he is doing and playing it safe and simple at the back along with the steadyJozo Šimunović.

Out of the picture is Anthony Stokes who today agreed a deal to go back to Hibs on loan. Whether that becomes permanent or not we will have to see but he isn’t getting his game at Celtic and if he can help throw a spanner in the works of Sevco’s Championship title ambitions then so be it.

Tonight it is another ex-Hibee everyone will be looking to score goals. Leigh Griffiths, a rising star in the Hoops will be looking to add to his 51 goal tally for Celtic.

Having come to Celtic two years ago this month and not always first choice since then, his goal return has been excellent. It isn’t just his scoring that is to be applauded, but his application to training and development when he seemed to be a the troubled character we bought.

It has been a success story for Ronny Deila’s management, even if he wasn’t the manager who signed him. However, one of Ronny’s most significant tasks, though largely undiscussed at times, is to improve players.

Now in his second term as manager of Celtic, his signings have been a mixed bag of loans and purchases. Šimunović is bringing some stability to the rearguard that was left a like a gaping void when Virgial van Dijk and Jason Denayer departed but with Sviatchenko looking like a promising signing, that area should bring some defensive balance to the team.

That leaves the midfield combination which of late has had multiple reasons for instability. Injuries to Charlie Mulgrew and Scott Brown have left gaps in player depth and experience but the much known poor form of Johansen has been equally disruptive, particularly when he continues to play every match.

Success stories have been Nir Bitton and Tom Rogić this season. There are still one or two individuals who are not yet up to scratch yet but hopefully we’ll see further improvement before the end of the season as well as further signings.

As for tonight, three points are essential.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

 

 

 

 

 

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