War of attrition

The Celtic fans usually sing their Lisbon song on 67 minutes during a match.

Mobile phones pressed into service as ad hoc torches complete the performance art.

Long before the disco lights were installed at Celtic Park it made for quite a sight.

On 67 minutes last night, at two nil up against St Johnstone, Celtic brought on Odsonne Édouard to replace Oli Burke.

He was probably the last thing that the men from Perth wanted to see.

The young Frenchman, now free of his injury, was back to augment the Celtic frontline.

When he first arrived at Parkhead the PSG starlet was on loan.

However, the champions were able to agree on a deal that was a club record.

The man he replaced last night wants to travel the same road to Parkhead permanency.

Last week I’m told that the WBA player was in contact with his representatives to see if his sojourn at Celtic could be made permanent in the summer.

The young Scot isn’t the only re-enforcement to bolster Celtic’s attack and the home crowd at Parkhead have yet to see what kind of striker they have in Vakoun Issouf Bayo.

The list of first-team players almost on their way back is formidable, although the temporary absence of Filip Benković is an undoubted blow to a depleted backline.

Consequently, by the end of the today, Rodgers would dearly love to have another defender to add to his squad.

The well-documented hunt for a right-back has been extensive.

A league campaign from this stage on becomes a rather attritional affair.

Moreover, as it stands it cannot be denied that Celtic have greater playing resources than anyone else in the league.

Six points and a superior goal difference means that any aspirant title challenger cannot afford to stumble.

At the start of last month, an ex-professional player who now works in the media gave me his considered opinion on the putative title race.

I enjoy chatting to him as he is not the average ex-player in the media type.

He eschews the normal lexicon of fitba cliches and is excellent company over lunch, able to converse on a wide range of subjects.

For the record, he has never plied his trade for any club in Glasgow, living or dead.

He told me that if Celtic were ahead at the end of the year then he reckoned that the champions would strengthen during the January transfer window.

With quiet confidence, he predicted that Rodgers’ men would win the league by “about eight points or thereabouts”.

For the avoidance of doubt, I hope he is correct.

 

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