Sunday, June 26, 2022

Celtic Are At The Crossroads Of An Eventful Campaign: What Should Be Their Season Goals?

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

It was supposed to be a season of transition for Celtic who lost an array of key names last summer. The club failed to reach an agreement with Eddie Howe despite prolonged negotiations and the appointment of little-known Ange Postecoglou caused a frenzy of rage among the Parkhead faithful. What happened next is truly remarkable.

The Aussie chief did not have the best of starts since accepting the challenge. But he made some astounding signings over the past couple of windows that restored the balance as well as quality across the pitch. They conquered the League Cup crown defeating Hibernian at Hampden Park and the rejuvenated Hoops are now aiming for a domestic treble by the closure of the current term.

Celtic had sheer supremacy in Scottish football until Steven Gerrard galvanized Rangers. The Gers snatched the Premiership crown, whereas St Johnstone completed a Cup double leaving the Bhoys trophyless in 2020-21. Neil Lennon was shown the door and the club needed a serious lift from mediocrity and complacency. Both Postecoglou and the management assembled a squad desperate to prove their worth and the three-point lead over Rangers at the summit of the Premiership standings depicts their stability and success overcoming initial jitters.

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – MARCH 19: Ange Postecoglou, head coach of Celtic FC looks on prior to the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Ross County FC at on March 19, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images). The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/).

Why A Domestic Treble Should Be The Season Goal For Celtic

The Celts are enjoying an exquisite league run and must maintain the streak in the remaining seven games to reclaim the silverware. Rangers were outplayed in February when these two sides locked horns at Celtic Park and the league leaders should grab a result post-international break at Ibrox.

While the upcoming Glasgow derby is decisive in shaping up the Premiership fortune, they have also been drawn against each other in the Scottish Cup semifinal in mid-April. The Light Blues have not been able to replicate their European form in domestic contests, but they have enough weapons in their armoury to humble the Hoops. It won’t be a stroll in the park for Postecoglou’s men, however, their spirited display and brand of football have already exceeded all expectations considering the frailty and conundrum prior to the campaign.

Having said that, Celtic should have done more in Europe as they got knocked out from all three European competitions. They were eliminated from the Champions League qualifiers and then failed to progress beyond the group stages of the Europa League. They finished third in their group and got demoted to the newly-formed Europa Conference League. A shambolic defeat against Bodø/Glimt brought an end to their European challenge and the gaffer, therefore, must work on improving things in Europe and meet the standards set by Rangers of late.

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