Celtic may have had a roller-coaster week, what with their being eliminated from European competition with a loss to Barcelona mid-week before coming back to defeat Aberdeen 3-0 in the League Cup final on Sunday.
But Brendan Rodgers’ men can take more than a little solace from their continued dominance over domestic competition. The Hoops remain undefeated in the Scottish Premiership under the Irishman’s leadership, and they have yet to lose in domestic competition overall, thanks to their taking of the Betfred League Cup (their participation in the Scottish Cup is set to begin in December).
And while Rodgers promised a return to the legendary Jock Stein’s philosophy of “entertaining” the supporters--and delivered, by the way, as evidenced by brilliant goals on Sunday by Aussie midfielder Tom Rogic and lifelong Celt James Forrest — it’s his side’s defense that has raised eyebrows, at least domestically. In particular, center backs Erik Sviatchenko and Jozo Simunovic have been outstanding.
Although the Hoops have been torched in the UEFA Champions’ League, allowing 15 goals while scoring only four in Group C against Barcelona, Manchester City and “a German team” (Borussia Mongengladbach), they have built an astounding goal differential of plus-27 in the Premiership after just 12 games. They have conceded only eight goals in league competition overall, and none since September.
The last goal scored by a Scottish team against Celtic came from Kilmarnock’s Souleymane Coulibaly, who scored a wonder goal in his side’s 6-1 loss at Parkhead.[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFvN5IFBFLk]
Notably, Rodgers’ team went through four rounds of the League Cup tournament without conceding a single goal.
Defense may not entertain, but so far Celtic are proving the old American sports axiom that it wins championships.