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The Rodgers Revolution: Celtic's season so far - Part two

The month of November began with yet another huge game for a team that was now becoming accustomed to playing in, well, huge games. Celtic went to Mönchengladbach knowing that they would need to reverse the result at Parkhead between the two sides in order to have a realistic chance of achieving European football after Christmas for the first time in two seasons. It seemed as though the bhoys had a mountain to climb when Lars Stindl gave the Bundesliga outfit the lead on 32 minutes. Celtic, however, showed the type of spirit that has historically been associated with Celtic teams. We pushed and pushed for an equaliser on the night and were rewarded when Dembélé was deemed to have been fouled in the penalty area with about quarter of an hour to go. The in-form Frenchman coolly slotted away the penalty and handed his side a life line. What followed was a green and white onslaught of the German goal. It looked like all three points were in the bag when with about six minutes left, Patrick Roberts gifted Callum McGregor with a glorious opportunity, but the midfielder skewed his opportunity wide. It ended 1-1 and Celtic’s European hopes were left hanging by a thread, but despite this the reaction to the performance was positive – there had been clear signs of improvement from the team on the European stage.

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Dembélé celebrates scoring the equaliser in Germany

Following an encouraging display in Germany, the hoops had loose ends to tie with Caley Thistle, who at this point remained the only team to take points from the Scottish champions. Revenge came in a 3-0 victory thanks to some familiar names in Sinclair, Griffiths and Rogic. One of the notable highlights of this season has been the improvement in the performances of Scottish...
The Rodgers Revolution: Celtic's season so far - Part one

Celtic headed off to the Middle East last week as part of a mid-season training camp for the Scottish domestic winter break; for some well needed recovery after what has been a gruelling season so far. Before the new year showdown with Rangers, the bhoys had played a staggering thirty five competitive games, juggling between the Scottish Premiership, the League Cup and the UEFA Champions League in what has been an exciting season so far for Hoops fan all over, with some silverware already added to an already illustrious trophy cabinet as reward for the teams early season efforts. Domestic duties will resume on the 22nd of this month with a Scottish Cup tie away to League One side Albion Rovers, and Brendan Rodgers will be looking to make it one step closer to that coveted domestic treble. Thus far, Celtic are unbeaten domestically having romped to League cup victory – without conceding a single goal, and having only dropped points once in a total of twenty Premiership games after conceding a very late equaliser away to Inverness Caledonian Thistle. The signs of progression have been there for all to see. The side now looks a different animal to the one which fell to a humiliating 0-1 loss in Gibraltar at the hands of Lincoln Red Imps back in July when Rodgers was in the dugout for the first time in a competitive game. Indeed, that game is now a distant memory in the minds of Celtic fans, who have enjoyed the clubs best ever start to a domestic season, on top of some fairly impressive showings in Europe’s elite club competition – the UEFA Champions League.

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Celts in Dubai: Brendan Rodgers chats with Moussa Dembélé and new signing Kouassi Eboue during a training session in Dubai

July/August

Celtic began their quest for Champions League group...
Celtic v Ross County - Match Preview

The Hoops face the Highland side, in the final home game of 2016

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Tonight, Celtic go into the second last match of December, a month which has seen them play 9 games so far whilst remaining undefeated, only failing to win against English side Manchester City. Every domestic game this month has resulted in a win.

It started with a difficult but resilient win over Motherwell, with a late goal from Tom Rogic at Fir Park. The Hoops then proceeded to score a further 12 goals in the following 6 matches, bringing their total tally to 16 goals in December, with 2 games still to play.

Although he wouldn't admit it, Brendan Rodgers will have one eye on the Hogmanay derby match vs The Rangers, in 3 days time. Such a congested fixture list has forced the Celtic manager to utilise squad rotation and it has given some fringe players the chance to impress. Most notably, was a start at left back for Calvin Miller, who got a Parkhead outing in the home win over Partick Thistle. The young winger, not playing in his natural position, impressed before being substituted in the second half.

This will be the third of four fixtures in 11 days for Celtic, so expect changes in the starting line up, with perhaps a couple of mainstays being rested for the derby match at Ibrox.

With that in mind, Leigh Griffiths will be fit to start tonight, after he was subbed off at half time against Hamilton. He had scored Celtic's opening goal just before half time, but was taken off as a precaution. Whichever striker does not start tonight, between Griffiths...
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Celtic vs. Hamilton Academical

Saturday 24th December

Celtic Park

Kick off: 12:30

Sky Sports 1


Following on from a fairly routine win over Partick Thistle, which saw their domestic winning streak extend to thirteen games, Celtic now turn their attention to their next opponents, Hamilton. When the sides last met earlier this month it was Celtic emerged victorious with a 1-0 victory. Come Saturday, will Celtic make it fourteen wins on the trot, or will Hamilton find a way to topple the Champions?

Celtic

Prior to the Partick Thistle game, Brendan Rodgers made clear his intent to use both Tuesday’s and this upcoming fixture as an opportunity to give some of our promising young players some game time. As such, Calvin Miller was given his first senior cap at left back, whilst Liam Henderson was given his third start of the season (winning Man of the Match in the process). It’s unlikely that Miller will start the next game, whilst Henderson may have a chance, but it’s not known what youth players are next in line for a call up. One possible candidate however is one of our summer signings, Kristoffer Ajer. Ajer, who can play operate across the midfield and in central defence, has put on a number of impressive performances for the Under-20s. This, combined with the fact that he’s already fairly experiment for his age (prior to joining Celtic he captained his former club IK Start in the Norwegian Tippeligaen (or the Eliteserien as it’s now known)), could make him a prime candidate for a call up to the senior squad.

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Could Leigh Griffiths give Celtic the gift of goals this Christmas?

When we last played Hamilton on...
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Celtic vs. Partick Thistle

Tuesday 20th December

Celtic Park

Kick off: 19:45


After winning their eleventh league game in a row against Dundee on Saturday, and continuing their domestic undefeated run, Celtic will be aiming to make it twelve in a row against Partick Thistle on Tuesday.

As reflected by the 4-1 score line, the last meeting between the sides earlier this month ended up being a rather one sided affair with Celtic dominating for the vast majority of the match. Brendan Rodgers would have undoubtedly been happy with that result the last time around (conceded goal aside) and will be hoping for a similar performance tomorrow.

Celtic

Tuesday night marks Celtic’s six match of the month so far, and combined with the general lethargy that many players experience at this time of the season, fatigue is likely to be Brendan Rodger’s main concern going in to the match. Whilst there may be some temptation to rest players to combat this, it’s likely that we’ll still see a fairly strong line-up come kick off.

Stuart Armstrong was the Man of the Match when the two sides last met, scoring two goals in the process. Armstrong, who stood in as captain for the suspended Scott Brown against Dundee, has arguably been our most improved player under Brendan Rodgers, and another strong performance against Partick on Tuesday would definitely go a long way in solidifying his status as one of our best players.

Elsewhere on the pitch, Leigh Griffiths is another man currently experiencing a rich vein of form, having scored three goals in his last three appearances. During our visit to Fir Park Griffiths linked up well with Armstrong, assisting with both of the latter’s goals, and also managed to net one himself. Certainly, one would think that should he start on Tuesday,...