Time To Exorcise The Ghosts - 29/11/14

May 24, 2017

Its cup day tomorrow albeit still a bit weird to see such big cup games taking place in November. Amongst a skew of all premier league ties and potential giant killing acts for Spartans and The Rangers is the clash between an erratic although still dangerous Celtic side and a Hearts team who given their season aims and ambitions have the luxury of viewing this encounter as a pressure free sideshow from league proceeding……………Or is it? Its been nearly a year since Celtic rolled into town at the same stage of the cup competition and blew a young hearts side low in confidence away and its fair to say the survivors of that squad will be aiming to go out there and prove they can go toe to toe with the champions. Tonight I look at how many of that squad are improving a year on and look at how influential they can be tomorrow.

Jordan McGhee – Played the full 90 last year and certainly would have learned a few harsh lessons in that game alone. Showed raw potential last year which this season has developed into a consistent string of performances at right back and centre half. Looks assured on the ball and has developed physically over the summer. Definate Scotland player of the future along with one or two others at the club. Might have to be content with place on the bench tomorrow but will offer a good option if injuries hit our back four.

Kevin McHattie – A real favourite of mine in terms of his ability to drive forward and link up well with the widemen infront of him. Still needs to work a little on defensive positioning but his confidence seemed to be at an all time high before last weeks attempted GBH from saint Kenny. Having hard working midfielders infront has certainly helped after watching Kevin gainfully try and cope with marking two men most weeks last season.

Danny Wilson – Whereas last season the captaincy seemed to be dragging Danny down, this year he has grown in stature and looks very relaxed and assured whilst always offering a threat at set pieces. Was worried that last year would take time to shake off for him but he has really started to show why he was so coveted as a teenager at Rangers. Shame that he is a fitness doubt tomorrow.

Scott Robinson – Very combative player who seems to very much be on the fringes of things this season. Unfairly targeted by the boo boys and although maybe not a fit for the way Robbie wants his midfielders to play will no doubt easily attract a few clubs in January. Never hid when things on the park got rough last season and for that he deserves more credit than he gets. The fact he is not included in most matchday squads shows how far the club have come since last year.

Calum Paterson – Will be in a more suitable role tomorrow compared to cutting an isolated figure upfront this time last year. Ability has never been in doubt and this season his fitness levels seemed to have went up a new gears. Can mix it with the best and is vital to us not being bullied off the ball tomorrow.

Jamie Walker – Only real positive to come out of the 7-0 performance last year. Never hesitated in having a go at the Celtic rearguard and has the swagger and confidence to make a difference tomorrow. Like Patterson his fitness has improved greatly this season highlighted by last weeks 2nd half performace against the other half of the bigot brothers.

Brad McKay – The angry man has had to deal with some flack in previous weeks but has rammed those words down his doubters throats. A Colossus at the back when dealing with aerial duels but tomorrow will be his biggest test. Stokes,Guidetti and Griffiths offer great movement and intelligence that our side will seldom experience playing in the SPFL this season. One of those lads you want to do well as his passion and commitment to the club can never be in doubt.

Dale Carrick – Speedy is another injury blow which given the physical presence of Celtic at the back is a real shame. Willing runner and has looked more composed and ready for first team football compared to earlier outings in 2013. Will be a vital squad member when back fully fit and offer us something different upfront again.

Billy King – Billy never made it off the bench last year and in other outings looked to be a bit overawed by some of the brutes still plying their trade in our top league. This season has saw him mature and although he still can float in and out games at times, he has great awareness and a great ability for finding pockets of space around the opposition box. The number of assists he provides is also greatly unrecognised by some of us supporters.

So there we are folks. Hopefully my observations offer some comfort for those of us who were present last year and lets make sure these guys along with other players are given our full backing tomorrow.