Griffiths is Quality.

A striker operating in Scotland will always have his ability questioned with the phrase “yeah but it’s only the SPL”. Even the legendary Henrik Larsson was doubted, seen as merely the biggest of fish inside a stagnant pond. The same is true of the left-footed Leigh Griffiths. The 40-goal hitman proved his quality last year but it is in the Champions League where his true worth can be evaluated. And, thus far, he has delivered. His five goals in the qualification process have been invaluable to the club. Precise, intelligent, hardworking and capable of scoring just about any type of goal leaves you thinking – if he were born south of Hadrian’s Wall, how much would he be worth in today’s market?

Roberts is still key.

For the last few months/years it has become more than fashionable to give James Forrest a good old kicking; his perceived cowardice, both in a physical and mental sense, has been a particular source of ire. However, it is clear for all to see that his form is improving with every injection of confidence that Rodgers is able to administer. Having said that he is still dome distance from matching fellow wide man Paddy Roberts. The Manchester City loanee (hopefully that is a temporary title) is terrific, his movement and intelligence make him look like the only Homo Sapien in a world filled with Neanderthals. An attacking trident of Sinclair, Griffiths and Roberts is a terrifying prospect.

Experience is crucial.

You have to hold your hands up and applaud the effort that youngster O’Connell has applied in the name of the club, however, at the sharp end of continental football his naiveté will be exploited. The shimmy and shake from Brazilian Maranhao left the Irishman dumbfounded as the ball was slammed into the Celtic net. With Eric Sviatchenko well on the way to full recovery, it is a problem that will not pose too much of a threat. The big Dane will add a vein of steel as well as a greater degree of “street-smarts”, traits needed if the Hoops are to extend this European adventure.

Rodgers is the man.

Towards the end of his reign at Liverpool, Rodgers cultivated an almost comical reputation. He was seen as football’s answer to David Brent. His time in Glasgow has done wonders, thus far, to shatter that perception, last night’s victory demonstrating just how intelligent the Northern Irishman is. With the game balanced on a knife’s edge, Rodgers rolled the dice and unleashed Moussa Dembele. Operating in a 4-4-2 (or a 4-2-4 depending on the flow of possession) the game was changed. The attacking onus was once again placed on Celtic after a couple of shock raids from the Israelis stunned the Parkhead crowd. You only have to see the reversal of fortunes experienced by captain Scott Brown to judge the expertise of Rodgers’ man management skills. Such tactical flexibility is a delight to see after the rigidity of the Deila reign. In the words of Leigh Griffiths – The man’s got balls.

Life is good.

Last night was a welcome throwback to the days when Celtic Park was a seldom breached fortress. The football is terrific, the signings have been integrated well, the manager is more than competent and most importantly the atmosphere, famed across the planet as one of the best in the sport, is beginning to rev back up to its irrepressible best. In short, life is good.

BEN DELANEY


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