We are living in exciting times as Celtic fans. Celtic’s pre-season has finished and Ange seems happy. He has brought in new players with Jota. Maeda and Carter Vickers also signing permanently. Celtic fans have now had a look at all the new Bhoys in the flesh. Today it is the start of the real business when Aberdeen come to Paradise.
Back in January we brought in a trio of Japanese players, with two becoming permanent fixtures in the starting eleven. Talk was the players being tired after coming straight from a full season of football at home in the J-League.
They may have had an extra long season but their attitude and commitment was unquestionable. Now they have had a break and against Norwich Maeda and Hatate looked at the level Kyogo was at when he arrived last year.
There is certainly a lot more to come from our Japanese Bhoys. Competition is healthy. Was Ange’s starting eleven the team that starts again today? After the Champions flag is raised, Ange will select 11 men to start with those on the bench ready when called.
David Turnbull scored last week and he will have given the Celtic manager food for thought ahead of naming his first 11. Ange hasd the luxury of a full week to prepare for today with his players. Something he did not have last season as we battled for Euro qualification.
Qualification for the group stages of the Champions League has made life a lot easier for the manager. The purse strings have been loosened with the riches that will come in Europe’s premier football competition.
On Thursday the 25th of August we will all have our eyes glued to the TV when the draw is made before the the stampede to book flights and hotels ahead of those famous nights in Celtic Park and Away Days in far flung destinations.
Last year the Champions League nights seemed a million miles away when Ange arrived. Straight away he started the rebuild, the build continues but our football club is looking polished again.
The Rangers challenge will be a real one and Celtic will have to be on their best each and every game before they come to the East End of Glasgow at the start of September.
We are living in exciting times as Celtic fans, time to buckle up and the enjoy the ride.
Words: Andrew Milne
Pic: Martin Donaldson