- Homecoming For Trophy Day in Paradise
~~~~~~~~~~ Official TC Match Preview ~~~~~~~~~~
The Bhoys clinched the League title on Wednesday to kick off the party this weekend
Celtic Park, Glasgow
Saturday, 13 May 2022
Celtic are Champions once again!
For the 52nd time, Celtic are once again the League Champions of Scotland, and on Saturday will be presented with the Premiership trophy to the acclaim of a full house at Celtic Park.
The Bhoys have done what few thought was even remotely possible at the outset of the season. Considering the amount of outgoing and incoming changes to the squad as well as correcting so much of the malaise that Postecoglou inherited from the previous manager, to effectively compress an outstanding rebuild and an undefeated 31-game run to deliver a League and League Cup Double, coupled with the entertaining brand of football and the return of a vibrant atmosphere deserves much praise for all involved, most especially the manager. Truly remarkable.
All that is left now is for Callum McGregor to be handed the trophy on Saturday. It will be a fitting way for the skipper, who had to step into the boots of the departed Scott Brown and did so in remarkable fashion claiming multiple Player of the Year accolades also, to cap a most remarkable campaign.
After clinching the title in midweek, with the 1-1 result against Dundee United, the Hoops will return to Celtic Park on Saturday for the final match of the season, to be greeted as Champions when they welcome the visit of Motherwell.
Kyogo, Ange and CalMac will be presented with their second piece of silverware for the season
Amid the euphoria surrounding the Premiership trophy making it's homecoming after the disappointment of last year - for the 10th time in 11 seasons - tomorrow will be tinged with the bittersweet, with the news that two of the club's longest serving players, Nir Bitton and Tom Rogic, will be making their last appearances for the Hoops.
The pair arrived at Celtic in 2013 and both made their debuts that season, but it was not until Ronny Deila arrived that the fans really got to see the best of them.
Bitton arguably was at his best under the Norwegian, as the Israeli International formed a strong midfield pairing with then skipper, Scott Brown. In later seasons, Bitton's versatility was his most prized asset to the squad, often deployed in a makeshift central defensive capacity. It really wasn't until Postecoglou arrived at the beginning of this season that the player once again was used primarily in his preferred midfield role and Bitton's leadership qualities were recognized throughout the season when he was entrusted with the captaincy in McGregor's absence.
Going out as Champions: Celtic fans will have the chance to farewell Tom Rogic & Nir Bitton
Australian International Tom Rogic quite simply will be remembered as one of the most gifted and mercurial talents that the club has had in many a year, and deservedly draw comparisons with the iconic Lubo Moravcik. So many remarkable moments, flashes of genius, stunning close control, killer passes and memorable goals, there is no doubt that Rogic will be remembered as one of the greats of this dominant era in the club's history.
It is a shame that Lennon simply didn't know how to use Rogic's silky skills to best effect, but the arrival of fellow Aussie, Postecoglou saw a true renaissance and a reminder of just how sublime and influential a player he is.
It cannot be understated that Celtic simply would not be Champions today without Tom Rogic and that is a fact. Significantly, McGregor credited Rogic with how he was able to relate to the dressing room and helping the team to buy into Postecoglou's philosophy, especially when there would have been a few doubters through the wobbles of the first few months of the season.
But football is all about results and for a significant chunk of the season so much in an attacking sense was reliant upon Rogic being able to provide the magic, especially when the likes of Jota, Kyogo, Forrest, Turnbull and Giakoumakis were all sidelined. In so many games, Rogic kept Celtic maintaining the pace and in the race at a critical time when it so easily could've gone south until reinforcements arrived in January.
Between them, Bitton and Rogic racked up an astonishing 34 League and Cup honours, both contributed to the run of 4 consecutive treble winning seasons, have provided memories that will live forever and will always be welcome at the club.
No doubt it will add to the emotion of the day tomorrow when the fans get to pay tribute and farewell two great servants to Celtic.
One of many stunning moments: Rogic's dramatic 2017 Scottish Cup Final winning goal
Celtic will want to send the pair off with a win before the trophy presentation, to really get the party started. With that in mind they will need to be switched on against Motherwell, who still have something on the line to play for tomorrow, as they look to crash the party.
Graham Alexander's side have had their struggles since the turn of the year - at one stage enduring an 11 game winless streak. However, they seemingly found a bit of form since the split, and will be coming into this game on the back of consecutive wins for the first time since December.
And the Steelmen do still have something to play for, as they look to try to stay ahead of United in the race for fourth and even though both have secured European football next season, that one placing makes all the difference regarding at which point the two sides enter the process.
Celtic will have to be on their game in front of an expectant and vibrant full house, wanting to put on a show against a side that still has something to play for, and will not want to have the visitors spoil what will be an emotional League homecoming.
Stats & Facts
- The Hoops are undefeated in 31 League games since September, winning 25 & drawing 6 of these.
- Celtic will be looking to remain undefeated at home this season - which will be just the third time in 20 years (2016/17 & 2018/19 also).
- Motherwell have won just 3 games on their travels in the League this season.
- The Steelmen need to win to ensure they remain fourth, with United travelling away to 6th placed Ross County and hoping to leapfrog Motherwell with a win in Dingwall.
Giorgos Giakoumakis' goal was enough to secure the point needed to secure the title.
For Celtic, Josip Juranovic remains sidelined, with the remainder of the squad looking to play their part on such an occasion as tomorrow is sure to be, and no doubt that both Bitton and Rogic will have their moments one last time.
The visitors also have virtually an entire squad to choose from, with Kevin Van Veen's return in the past week helping to bolster Graham Alexander's options.
The Dutchman came off the bench to play a significant role in the last two games, scoring the winner at Ross County and made an impact against Hearts in midweek also.
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~~~~ Head to Head ~~~~
P: 218 W: 129 D: 53 L: 36
Last 5 Meetings
W W W W D
~~~~ 2021/22 Form ~~~~
D W D W L ~ W W L L D
D W D W W ~ W W L L D
CEL Home ~ MOT Away
W D W W W ~ W L D L D