With domestic European leagues now paused with the first ever winter World Cup out in Qatar motoring through the Group Stage games as we approach the tournament’s knockout phase, former Celtic midfielder Peter Grant has been reflecting on the clubs progress in the opening months of the 2022/23 campaign.
Ahead of the international pause kicking in, Celtic have again more than hit the ground running under gaffer Ange Postecoglou, and in the Scottish Premiership, the 57-year-old has seen his side pick up a very impressive 42 points from the opening 15 games. With 14 wins and one unfortunate defeat to St Mirren, the side have already scored 50 goals and has a positive 37-goal difference, and enjoys a comfortable nine-point lead at the top of the top-flight table. For a fan who likes a flutter, you would get good odds on our form continuing from the likes of kto bet when domestic football returns.
The only real disappointment from the opening few months was a far poorer Champions League campaign where we failed to pick up a single victory and finished bottom of Group F with only two points from the six games. Many will feel that there was an element of unfortunateness across those games, as we did not always get the result that the performance had probably deserved in at least a few of the matches.
Reflecting on the league campaign more specifically, Grant told the BBC’s Scottish Football Podcast.
“I’m more than happy. At the start of the season, we said they looked like the strongest group of players. The boys have done fantastically well – I still think with Callum McGregor in the team it allows Matt O’Riley further forward to create chances – I think we miss that a little bit. I like Matt further up the field.”
Grant went on to add.
“Apart from the injury to Callum, there’s not been much wrong. You can talk about the defeat at St Mirren. I’m just looking at the World Cup and hoping nobody gets injured! The manager has got a great balance. He’s got players that give 100% every time they pull on the jersey, whether they’re coming off the bench, they’ve all had an impact.”
Podcaster Paul John Dykes also gave his own thoughts, and focused a little bit more on the European campaign.
“I think it’s the campaign we’ll look back on as the one that got away. You watch the games individually, in isolation, and as a fan you think we could have done this better, we should have taken that from the game. The two games against Shakhtar, I think Celtic should have taken more from those.”
Moving onto the Postecoglou effect, he explained.
“I do like the way Ange explains how it galvanises his team. You take out Callum McGregor and Joe Hart, and a lot of the starting team didn’t have any Champions League experience before this season. It’s games under the belt for guys like Matt O’Riley, Kyogo – it’s going to work wonders for them next season. It’s incredible that I’m sitting at half time against Real Madrid thinking we’re going to get a result – again it’s the what-ifs. I think we gave a good account of ourselves against a side that have won five of the last 10 Champions Leagues.”