Raise the standard not the numbers – we’ve been there before

With two wins from two games Brendan Rodgers will be pleased with Celtic’s start to 2018. There’s still work to be done behind the scenes between now and the summer though.

Brechin offered very little last weekend in the Scottish Cup after being swept aside 5-0. On Tuesday night Partick Thistle put the wind up Celtic by taking the lead through a dubious penalty.

Order was soon restored in the midweek game when Celtic also got a penalty. The match winner came from the bench much to every Celt’s joy.

The trouble for Brendan Rodgers is that the expectancy around the transfer window is particularly high right now. There have been a lot of moves by Celtic already, mainly exits, but none which have allowed key rumours to dissipate.

Had Moussa Dembele, Jozo Simunovic or Stuart Armstrong moved as the SMSM has been bashing out for ages we might possibly have seen others coming in. It’s unlikely and indeed unnecessary for Celtic to bring in similar or lesser players if these guys stay put.

That’s just it though. We’re all convinced they’ve already gone.

So naturally we’re expecting big buys. Personally, I don’t think that’ll happen – at least until the summer.

We aren’t at full strength due to injuries mainly. Dembele has been left out of the starting lineups presumably because his head isn’t in the game.

I feel no clearer on the issue having listened to Brendan talk about him having his “head turned”, losing the rag with the SMSM recently and then appearing to play matters down on BT Sport. He’s further emphasised that one bid has been turned down, falling short of valuation but that the player and the club are dedicated tp each other.

Chris Sutton also claimed that Dembele doesn’t want to go. That he’s happy to stay….for now.

That hasn’t prevented every newspaper and media company saying he opposite. Celtic did very little to quash that though so it leaves you thinking there’s something in it.

There’s so much conjecture it’s becoming a mini soap opera. I’m still confused about Simunovic’s supposed departure as well.

I mean if there’s any truth here we need some clarity. The press doesn’t help of course but the rumours don’t get killed dead by Celtic either.

Armstrong’s links away from Celtic have only gone cold because he’s injured. And with him joining the likes of key players such as Paddy Roberts, Tom Rogic, Anthony Ralston and new Bhoy Marvin Compper on the injury list, Celtic aren’t at full strength.

So when you add all the speculation to the injury list and then apply that to treble talk and the Europa League, you can see why things seem a little unsettled. The fans feel something, but probably not quite sure what.

Because on the one hand you have a good quality squad which on their day are excellent. On the other hand you’re thinking ‘who’s available for selection and for how much longer?”

There’s less than a week left of this transfer window. I don’t think Celtic need to do much more if we retain who we have and everyone is fit and on form between now and the end of the season.

We’ve yet to function as a fully fit and on form side this season. That’s worth bearing in mind.

If key personnel do leave though then now would be the time to bring replacements in. And I think Celtic are playing the waiting game.

We don’t need to recruit for the sake of it. Brendan needs quality, not quantity, in order to raise the standard.

It’s a big game against Hibs on Saturday at Celtic Park. Neil Lennon will have his players fired up for the encounter.

Lying a mere 5 points behind Rangers and Aberdeen, Hibs will fancy their chances of a top three place this season. And rightly so because neither Aberdeen or Rangers have been particularly impressive.

We all know Rangers want to be Rangers but they aren’t. Aberdeen want to be Celtic’s main threat but they barely threaten us at all.

Going up against Hibs has been a different prospect. Two 2-2 draws so far in the league inflicting just one defeat upon them in the League Cup semi-final.

So tomorrow anything can happen. Could be another cracker.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

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