With no away days to look forward to Declan McConville takes us back to last season on his travels around Scottish grounds cheering on the Bhoys.
The first away game of the 2019/20 season seems a long time ago now. Up until the postponement of fixtures I had made it along to every domestic fixture and had some good times along the way.
It all began with a lunchtime kick-off on a sunny Saturday as Celtic thumped Motherwell 5-2. Fir Park had been a venue that Celtic had struggled at, but this performance indicated that the Scottish Champions meant business on the road. After a mixed month of emotions in August after exiting the Champions League, it was derby day in Glasgow to start the month of September. Neil Lennon’s side had been totally written off before the match, with the home side being tipped by many pundits. It’s very hard to describe the feeling you have while waiting inside Ibrox hours before the match as you wait patiently for the game to begin.
The marker was laid down immediately after the referee blew his whistle when Odsonne Edouard punted the ball into the opposition half. The big Frenchman would strike first when he silenced the Copland Road just after the half hour mark. The corner, which the Celtic support occupied, went absolutely mental as we celebrated the opener. It’s fair to say we were all anxious, up until the flying Irishman Jonny Hayes sealed the deal in the 90th minute.
In between the September and October international breaks, it was a mixed set of results for the Celts away from home as they picked up four out of a possible nine points with visits to Hamilton, Hibernian and Livingston.
The end of October coincided with a trip up to Pittodrie on what was a very cold and wet day. I had the pleasure of sitting with Lisbon Lion John Fallon and Monica as the Hoops blew away Aberdeen with four goals before the break. It would not be until the beginning of December before we would get back on the road with a visit to Dingwall on a bitterly cold Sunday. The trip was well worth it as once again the free scoring Celts scored four to send everyone home happy in what would be a crucial month.
The dramatic conclusion that happened the last time Celtic visited Tynecastle was not repeated as Ryan Christie and Olivier Ntcham bagged first-half goals to make light work of a difficult fixture. Following this, there was a few sore heads on Boxing Day as the Celts travelled through to Paisley to take on St Mirren. Again, a very comfortable performance before the break gave Neil Lennon’s side an important 3 points in our final away game of 2019.
It would be important for Celtic to bounce back after the Winter break as the Wednesday evening fixtures came rapidly in January as there was visits to Kilmarnock and St Johnstone. Both performances were very conclusive and showed that the Scottish Champions firmly had nine in a row in sight.
The Sunday fixture, which followed the trip to Perth, was one of those games, which looked as if it wasn’t to go Celtic’s way. The surface at Hamilton is always one, which is rather difficult to play fast, free flowing football on. The home side took the lead and it looked as though we were in for a long afternoon even after we equalised through a stunning Edouard free kick. The eventual breakthrough did come through Christopher Jullien who had already popped up with a few crucial goals during the season. The floodgates then opened as the match eventually finished 4-1 with Celtic extending their lead at the top of the table by two points.
We would once again return days after to North Lanarkshire to take on Motherwell. On the night, Neil Lennon’s side were outstanding with McGregor and Edouard scoring two breath-taking goals to further cement the seven-point advantage at the summit of the SPFL.
On the road, it was then back up to the Granite City to take on Aberdeen in what would be a difficult fixture. For long periods of the game, it was rather cagey, as both sides had scored before the half hour mark. As the game went on, it looked as though the winner wasn’t going to come for Celtic up until James Forrest played in Kristoffer Ajer with a delightful ball, which the big Norwegian thumped past Lewis.
The final away match before the postponement of fixtures was against Livingston who had proved to be tough opposition. After taking the lead, the Celts found themselves trailing immediately after the interval, which was the case for the majority of the second-half. At the end, the team showed some great character with Tom Rogic grabbing a late equaliser. This was a point gained which extended Celtic’s advantage to 13 points.
On the road this season, Celtic’s form has been exceptional. After being defeated in October against Livingston, Neil Lennon’s side went 10 games unbeaten away from home in the league winning 9 of those games. The performances have been exciting with 42 goals being hit away from home that has set us on our way to a ninth title in a row.
Declan McConville is currently a student studying Journalism and Politics at the University of Strathclyde. He helps to run the Maryhill Bertie Auld CSC and he follows Celtic home and away across Scotland as well as in Europe. Celtic is certainly much more than a football club and through it he has formed close bonds with a lot of fantastic people as well as some ex-players which is his absolute privilege.
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