Celtic got all three points away from home last night. It was far from the most attractive game you’ll ever see, but it was an important victory in Paisley nonetheless.
Having fallen behind in the third minute to hosts St Mirren, it simply added to the empty atmosphere. Lee Irwin’s untidy opener was bundled in relatively unchallenged and a sloppy goal for the visitors to concede.
These supporter-free stadiums are said to be a subconscious loss for the players according to Neil Lennon. I can verify they are a major buzz killer for the fans watching at home too especially where canned stadium noise is absent from broadcast.
Celtic, like everyone else though, just have to get on with it and they did. Step forward new Bhoy, Shane Duffy.
In only his second match, the on-loan Irish international scored his second goal for the Hoops. It was yet another header with Ryan Christie providing the assist.
That got Celtic back on level terms on twenty-one minutes. They would then take the lead on thirty-six minutes.
Once again the provider, Christie whipped a ball into the box. The resultant goal came from the unlikely head of James Forrest.
The Celtic winger is more used to coming in from the right and scoring with the inside or outside of his right foot. He said himself “I don’t think I’ll score many more of them.”
In fact there weren’t any more goals in this game at all. Celtic remained statistically dominant throughout and even created chances, but were toothless in the final third.
Even star player Odsonne Edouard was off the boil from the penalty spot. After Christie was fouled in the box on seventy-four minutes, Eddy stepped up with his slow and staggered swagger, but was poorly placed, resulting in a save from Zdenek Zlamal.
That would likely have sealed the win despite with more than twenty minutes left to play. Instead, Celtic had to ride it out until the ninenty-second minute with only a one goal advantage before the whistle was blown and the three points secured.
It means Celtic are now just three points behind first place. They also have a game at hand over their Glasgow rivals where a win would put them on the same points and possibly even a better goal difference.
So it’s pretty close, but it’s also very early in the season. It’s all about getting points on the board no matter how stodgy some of these games are.
There will be more matches like this to come for Celtic this season. Especially through the winter nights in empty stadiums like last night.
Fans are desperate to get back in to their team’s grounds and reintegrate into the tribal gatherings. With a second wave of coronavirus growing and localised restrictions increasing, this will not happen anytime soon.
It isn’t what we want to see or hear, but that’s the reality of this pandemic. 10IAR is by all accounts this season’s priority, but like everything else right now it will face additional challenges.
We’ve already seen our 9IAR season halted by coronavirus and celebrated independently in lockdown. If 10IAR is achieved this season, it may be done from the comfort of your living room if indeed it is allowed to continue at all.
The reality is we just don’t know how this is going to pan out. It’s deflating to watch our game played out like this, but it’s all we’ve got.
Would you rather see the season put on hold in the hope of things improving for supporters? Or would you prefer to see it out in it’s current state without further delay?
I don’t think there’s an easy answer. We just want football in it’s best form.