Declan McConville with A Celtic State of Mind – Diary of a Treble Treble: February 2019

Sunday 3 February 2019

St Johnstone 0-2 Celtic

The champions began February with a visit to Perth in what was Brendan Rodgers’ 100th league match in charge of the club.

The first-half of the match wasn’t great and the Saints most definitely had the best chance of the half when Matty Kennedy was slipped through on goal, only to be denied by Scott Bain’s boot. The Hoops lifted their game after the interval and it looked like the breakthrough would eventually come.

After replacing Odsonne Edouard, Timo Weah was in the thick of the action, bagging an assist and a goal. He put a fantastic ball into the box, which Forrest tucked away. The second goal was almost a blueprint of the first when Celtic punished St Johnstone on the break with Weah then putting the game out of reach.

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Wednesday 6 February 2019

Celtic 2-0 Hibernian

The games were coming thick and fast as Hibs travelled to Celtic Park midweek. It was a comfortable night for the league leaders who dispatched Eddie May’s side with ease. Ryan Christie once again showed his class with a composed first-half finish. The Scotsman then set up Oliver Burke to continue the champions’ domestic dominance in 2019.

Sunday 10 February 2019

Celtic 5-0 St Johnstone

It was once again a meeting with St Johnstone for the third time in 11 days – this time in the Scottish Cup.

The reigning cup holders were rampant and cruised past the Saints. Scott Brown scored an absolute screamer from 30 yards to have his side two goals to the good before the 10-minute mark with Scott Sinclair opening the scoring. There were another two early goals 10 minutes into the second-half, which secured the Hoops’ place in the quarter-final of the cup. Scott Sinclair completed the scoring and bagged another hat-trick in green and white hoops.

Thursday 14 February 2019

Celtic 0-2 Valencia CF

The game was evenly contested until a very dubious offside call was ignored and Valencia opened the scoring through Cheryshev. The Spanish side once again punished the home team when Sobrino wasn’t marked tightly enough by Emilio Izaguirre to make it 2-0.

Sunday 17 February 2019

Kilmarnock 0-1 Celtic

Brendan Rodgers’ record against Stevie Clarke was woeful and it looked as though it was going to continue in Ayrshire. The result on the other side of the city had given Celtic the chance to extend their lead at the top to eight points. In the last minute of the 90, the champions needed someone to step up and Scott Brown produced the goods to give Celtic their eighth win in-a-row, to go eight points clear on the course to title number eight.

Thursday 21 February 2019

Valencia CF 1-0 Celtic

The freezing cold conditions of Rugby Park were a far cry away as I, along with thousands of Celtic fans, headed off to sunny Spain.

Brendan Rodgers’ side looked well in control of the game up until full-back Jeremy Toljan was ordered off after his second yellow card. Kristoffer Ajer had a massive chance to give the Hoops the advantage but couldn’t keep his header down. Valencia always looked like scoring and eventually they did when Kevin Gameiro rounded off a fantastic team goal.

Sunday 24 February 2019

Celtic 4-1 Motherwell

It was then back to domestic action at Celtic Park on a day where Ewan Henderson made his full debut for the club in the match against Motherwell.

The home side got off the mark on the half-hour mark when Ryan Christie crossed in a delightful ball which Scott Sinclair volleyed past Mark Gillespie. It was once again a ball into the box which caused Motherwell problems with debut boy Henderson picking out Odsonne Edouard, who headed the ball into the Motherwell net.

The Steelmen pulled a goal back in very controversial circumstances when Kristoffer Ajer knocked the ball out of play so Christie could be attended to. Instead of giving the ball back, the away side went up the park and scored which was the first domestic goal Celtic had conceded in 2019. This wasn’t going to ruin the Hoops’ day, as in the last couple of the minutes of the game, the scoring was completed with a tremendous Edouard free-kick and goal from Oliver Burke.

Wednesday 27 February 2019

Hearts 1-2 Celtic

It was the beginning of a new era at Celtic as Neil Lennon returned to the club for a second time after manager Brendan Rodgers left for Leicester City less than 48 hours after the match against Motherwell.

Hearts had the best chances early on in the game but Celtic were clinical on the counter and punished the home side 10 minutes before the interval when James Forrest gave the Celts the lead. The Jambos were gifted a chance to equalize after the break when Ajer fouled Djoum to give the home side a penalty which was subsequently converted by Bozanic to make it all square.

It looked as though the game was heading for a draw up until stoppage time when captain Scott Brown swung in a terrific ball which Edouard latched on to, making sure there was no disruption to the usual routine on the pitch. This was an example of the resilience that was about to come in the last few months of the season.

The psychological boost after a week of disruption was massive and set us up nicely for the road ahead!

Declan McConville

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