Are Celtic Coasting Or Coming Back Stronger?

Celtic ended 2017 in somewhat humdrum style with a 0-0 draw against Glasgow rivals Rangers.

They also dropped points against Hibs and lost to Anderlecht in December. Without doubt the biggest result was the Hoops 4-0 loss to Hearts in the Scottish Premiership, their first domestic defeat since Brendan Rodgers became the club’s manager in the summer of 2016.

Rodgers admitted his team needed a rest:

“I think the group very much look in need of a break,”

“It is obvious in terms of the number of games we have played and everything that goes into it.”

The winter break couldn’t have arrived at a better time for the Celtic squad. They’ve went over to Dubai and worked hard in the sun.

In the transfer market, defender Marvin Compper has arrived from RB Leipzig.

Defensively Celtic have looked weak at times and definitely needed a new face to bolster numbers. Will he add something different? Well the big test will be the tie against Zenit St Petersburg in February.

Young winger Lewis Morgan also signed up this month but he’ll remain at St Mirren for the rest of this campaign.

Another boost could be the imminent return of Patrick Roberts. The loanee attacker is a huge fan favourite but his season has been hampered by a problem-some  hamstring injury. The Englishman was out training in Dubai and he’ll be hoping to make a first team return soon.

The Scottish champions have also, so far, managed to keep all their stars at the club with Moussa Dembele, Jozo Simunovic and Erik Sviatchenko all linked with moves away. You’d imagine if any of them left this month, then Celtic will need to reinvest on a replacement.

All in all, Rodgers seems to have decided that the pool doesn’t need too much tinkering and that a break in the sun will see them return to the invincible ways.

Other Premiership sides have decided to take on a friendly or two. That’s allowed them to stay match sharp and gain confidence with decent results.

The other club’s have also bolstered their numbers with new recruits, it’s as if they believe they have something to aim for in the second half of the season.

I was surprised by the subdued Celtic performance at Celtic Park on the 30th of December against Rangers. I was expecting more, they certainly didn’t look the same as they did throughout the 2016-17 season.

It will be interesting to see Celtic return from the break and how they do.

They won’t drop eight points to Aberdeen, so I believe the league title will be returning to Glasgow’s east end. But can they retain the treble? Will they go undefeated for the rest of the domestic campaign? Can they advance in the Europa League?

Brendan Rodgers has set extremely high standards since his arrival in Glasgow. It will be interesting to see if his low key approach this winter will see his side peak yet again in the season run-in.

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