I have had a few bad hangovers in my time, but I don’t think I have ever had one that made me as ill as the one Celtic suffered on Saturday.
Just days after losing agonisingly to Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the Champions League, the Bhoys were defeated 2-0 at home to Kilmarnock – the equivalent of spending all night chatting up a girl, only to get the brush off at 2am and then to feel so ill the next day you projectile vomit all over your bed sheets. I’m not talking from experience there at all. Honest.
Saturday was the ultimate example of a European hangover and the effort and commitment shown against the Catalans, only to lose 2-1 to a last-minute Jordi Alba goal, will have taken some getting out of the system.
The abject display against Killie at Celtic Park on Saturday suggests that minds, if not bodies, were still in Barcelona, so what to expect from Neil Lennon’s side when St Johnstone visit Glasgow in the Scottish League Cup?
Lennon has warned against domestic complacency in the aftermath of that shock home defeat (the first to Kilmarnock since 1957) so you would expect a response from Celtic on Tuesday.
As you would expect, they are strong favourites with bwin to win the tie in 90 minutes and progress to the next round, priced up at 7/25, with the draw at 4/1 and the Saints at 15/2, and you have to think Celtic will get back on track here.
That defeat aside, Celtic have been fine at home, winning six of their other eight matches, which includes a 0-0 draw against Benfica in the Champions League.
And even though Steve Lomas has turned things around at St Johnstone – the Saints lie in fourth in the Scottish Premier League, just two points shy of Celtic, after a good run of form – I think the wounded animal of Celtic could be too much for Lomas’ side to cope with.
St Johnstone’s away form is mixed (they have won two, drawn two and lost two) and there haven’t been many goals – just 15 in six games.
But all those had at least two strikes and I think Celtic can get a couple themselves, so the 39/50 on Lennon’s side to win giving St Johnstone a goal head start is the play. Both of the Saints’ defeats on the road have been by two goals and that could be the case again.