Had you offered any of us a 3-1 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie at any time in advance of Sunday’s lunchtime kick off then your proverbial hand will almost certainly have been bitten off!
Going to such a venue and coming away with all three points at ANY stage in the season is always a good result, and that was very much the case on Sunday.
That said, it’s also OK to suggest that Brendan Rodgers side still have a way to go before they reach the levels that the returning manager will demand.
He said as much himself in his post-match comments.
“Obviously, the supporters are waiting to see how it all works – me coming back, lots of new players, can we sustain the winning mentality. So to come here, Aberdeen away, it was all promoted as going to be a real challenge for us.
The players handled it really well and as I said, I know they are only going to get better and better as the season goes on. It was a very important three points.”
The game was an entertaining affair and was in the balance well into the final ten minutes before Matt O’Riley tucked away his second goal of the campaign after good work by Yang on the left hand side.
Some critics have been particularly harsh and suggested that overall it was a poor performance by the Bhoys but I can’t quite get on board with that theory.
Were we at our brilliant best? Did we cut Aberdeen apart at will across the 90minutes? Were we solid in defence?
No would be the answer to all three of those questions but at the same time Celtic always had the upper hand in the contest and 3-1 is probably a fair reflection of the match overall.
Aberdeen seem to be shaping up well under Barry Robson and look to have recruited effectively over the summer, but with guys like Kyogo and Matt O’Riley on the pitch Celtic always have that extra bit of quality that can make all the difference in such a keenly fought game.
Following both league wins to date Rodgers has stressed the need for time as his team get to grips with his own style of play which differs notably from that of predecessor Ange Postecoglou. Likewise he’ll be keen to bolster the quality across his squad and now has just over two weeks to do so as the September 1st deadline fast approaches.
Debates will rage on about where our priorities should lie but it’s not too dramatic to say goalkeeper and left back seem to be becoming problem areas for the side at this early stage in the season – though I thought Joe Hart dealt with most of what Aberdeen threw at him pretty well.
For Greg Taylor however we’ve yet to see the high standards he’s set for himself over the last couple of seasons and Rodgers may be considering options in that area.
Wherever he and Michael Nicholson decide to splash the cash it’s going to be an interesting couple of weeks ahead as we look to get fully up to speed for the challenges that lie in wait.
Meantime, winning games of football is the order of the day.
Listen to the latest episode of The Celtic Exchange Weekly as we discuss Winning Away, The Case For The Defence & Transfer Window Worries!
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