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Celts Eye Landmark Step

Discussion in 'TalkCeltic News' started by Taz, Apr 2, 2022.

By Taz on Apr 2, 2022 at 9:38 PM
  1. Taz Blind Justice News Writer Gold Member

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    Celts Eye Landmark Step
    ~~~~~~~~~~ Official TC Match Preview ~~~~~~~~~~

    [​IMG]
    Giakoumakis has scored 5 goals in the past 2 games, including a hatrick against County

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Ipox Stadium, Glasgow
    Sunday, 3 April 2022
    12.00 GMT

    This is the business end of the season now, and with the finish line in sight, Celtic have the opportunity to take a massive step towards the title. Victory on Sunday would open a 6 point gap at the top of the table, with just 6 games left in the league campaign after that.

    The pressure will be on for both sides, as the Hoops look to reclaim the League title and the home side desperate, trying to cling on in the race. Indeed, with so few games remaining, even a share of the points would serve Celtic's needs more than that of the Govan club.

    On Sunday, however, there will be no thought of simply playing for a draw going into the game, as the Hoops will be looking to secure all 3 points at Ipox for the first time since September 2019.

    Because, this is a very different Celtic side from the ones that have struggled there over the past few seasons.

    It will not be easy however, as no Scottish team has managed to win at Ipox since March 2020.

    Everyone knows what the stakes are, and how crucial every goal, every game and every point is over these last couple of months. After breaking the stranglehold of Sevconian dominance back in February with that stunning and inspired performance at Celtic Park, now is the opportunity to take that next step, by getting a result at Ipox.

    And with two further meetings set for these sides to go head to head after this - one in the League and the other a Scottish Cup Semi-Final, a win on Sunday could have even more effect than just the three points on offer.

    Knowing what is at stake should provide the Hoops with all the motivation required for this top of the table clash.



    [​IMG]
    Reo Hatate's brace set the Hoops on the way to a 3-0 win when these sides last met

    It is remarkable how much Ange Postecoglou has managed to turn around the fortunes of this football club from the malaise that he inherited. Obviously, there is still more that needs to be done, but just take a moment to reflect on the shape we were in and how drastically things have changed since the last time that Celtic visited the south side of the city, back in August.

    Indeed, the side that takes to the pitch on Sunday will be drastically different from the one that was fielded on the last visit there, back in August. In fact, there could be as few as just 4 or 5 players that started that game who are likely to do so again tomorrow.

    Gone are the likes of Christie and Edouard, while the Hoops have been strengthened by Juranovic (who debuted that day as a makeshift left back), Jota, who has given defenders across the country nightmares all season, Carter-Vickers has formed a solid partnership with Starfelt at the heart of defence, while Giakoumakis has found both his fitness and form since the turn of the year.

    Add to this the arrival of Daizan Maeda, Reo Hatate and Matt O'Riley in January, all of whom have contributed to the current run that has seen the Bhoys turn around from trailing by 6 points at Christmas to now carrying a 3 point lead coming into this match.

    But for all this new blood, it is reassuring to have those in the squad who know what being in the thick of a derby battle is all about. To that end, having the experience of the likes of Callum McGregor, Tom Rogic and James Forrest to draw upon, there is no doubt that Postecoglou will have tapped into this in preparing his side for Sunday.

    While there would still be work to do regardless of the result, should the Bhoys prevail on Sunday, it will be a massive step towards reclaiming the League crown.


    [​IMG]
    Ange Postecoglou will be looking to take another landmark step closer to the title

    Just the Facts of the Stats

    • Celtic are undefeated in 31 games in domestic competition (League, Lg Cup & Sc Cup), since mid-September.
    • The Hoops have won 10 of the 11 League matches since Christmas, with the only blemish to that record being a 0-0 draw with Hibs in February, earning 34 from a possible 36 points in that period.
    • Apart from the aforementioned draw with Hibs, Celtic have scored at least 2 goals in every domestic game since the last time these sides met.
    • By contrast, Sunday's hosts have won just 7, while being held to 4 draws as well as being thumped 3-0 at Celtic Park, at the beginning of February, earning 25 from a possible 36 points.
    • The Govan club, however, have an imposing league record at Ipox, where they have remained undefeated since losing to Hamilton, 1-0, in March 2020. Apart from that, the only domestic loss at Ipox they have suffered was when St Johnstone knocked them out of last season's Scottish Cup - and even that was on spotkicks.
    • Giovanni von Bronckhorst's men have been awarded 7 penalties (scored 6) in the League this season - all of which have been awarded when the Govan side were either trailing or when scores have been level, and on every occasion but one it has been the difference.
    • By comparison, Celtic have been awarded 6 (scored 4). On 4 of those occasions, Celtic have already been in front (3 of which multiple goals in front), and ironically the two that have been missed were when the scores were 0-0 - but only once has this proven to be costly.
    [​IMG]
    Kyogo Furuhashi is close to a return after being out since before Christmas

    Team News

    In news that Celtic fans will be happy to hear, Postecoglou has revealed that both Kyogo Furuhashi and Tom Rogic have resumed training and could be available for Sunday's showdown. This is especialy good news for the Japanese striker, who has been out since before Christmas.

    Whether Kyogo will feature on Sunday remains to be seen, however, if he does it would likely be from the bench as Giorgos Giakoumakis has been in fine form in front of goal and his overall impressive performances have deservedly been recognised and rewarded by recall to the Greek national side.

    As for Rogic, he was on the receiving end of a red card challenge from Kayne Ramsey during the 4-0 win over Ross County prior to the break, was forced to miss the two key World Cup Qualifiers with Australia. Thankfully, the playmaker was able to resume training a couple of days ago, meaning that the manager has close to a full squad to choose from for tomorrow's top of the table clash.

    As for Giovanni von Bronkhorst's side, Alfredo Morelos has been ruled out, after being sent back to Scotland from the Colombian NT, and the Dutchman revealed that the striker will be out for 'the next few weeks, at least', with Kemar Roofe the most likely to take his place.​

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] ~~~~ Head to Head ~~~~ [​IMG]

    Overall
    P: 27 W: 15 D: 4 L: 8

    Last 5 Meetings
    W L L L D

    Away v RAN
    L L L L W

    [​IMG] ~~~~ 2021/22 Form ~~~~ [​IMG]

    Overall
    W W W W D ~ W L W W W

    CEL Away ~ RAN Home
    W W D L W ~ W W D D W

    SPFL
    W W W D W ~ W W W D D
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2022
    The Prof likes this.