Celtic reaction: startling XI stat for record nine-goal battering; best start to a league campaign in…no so long; last time club had two hat-tricks scorers in same game
Startling XI stat for a record nine-goal battering
It is enough in itself that the starting line-up sent out at Tannadice by Ange Postecoglou snared Celtic’s biggest league away win since the club’s first such campaign in 1890-91. More remarkable, though, is that the 11 who set up the 9-0 mauling of Dundee United had never previously started together.
Owing to Kyogo Furuhashi missing the first four months of 2022 with a hamstring issue, the attacking trident of the Japanese striker flanked by Liel Abada and Jota were permed together on Sunday as starters for the first time this year. By the time Furuhashi was restored to fitness for the run-in last season, Abada’s starts were becoming thinned out by the January arrival of Daizen Maeda. In that window, Matt O’Riley and Reo Hatate also arrived. Meaning the pair had never played behind the devastating trio of Furuhashi, Jota and Abada from the off before their combined terrorising on Tayside.
Best start to a league campaign in…not so long
Celtic supporters are pinching themselves at Postecoglou setting standards not witnessed since the Brendan Rodgers era. Certainly, the 37 league-game unbeaten run is of such substance. However, it is only three years since Celtc started a league campaign by thumping teams in the fashion they are now. Under Neil Lennon in 2019-20, as now, they were devastating in racking up five straight victories. Alright, they scored just the 19 goals in them then, not the 21 of now. Yet, the sequence for Lennon’s men included a 2-0 win at Ibrox, which surely carries a higher tariff. The pathetic denigrating of Lennon leads sections of the Celtic support almost to pretend 2019-20 didn’t happen. Indeed, simply to equal the top flight returns by Celtic three years ago, Postecoglou’s side will require to take 65 points from a possible 75 over their next 25 games. The 30-game mark the point in 2020 the campaign was shutdown by the global pandemic to change everything.
The early part of the campaign three years ago for Lennon’s team was besmirched by a needless Champions League qualifying exit at the hands of Cluj. In retrospect, the Irishman was unfortunate that, unlike Postecoglou now, there weren’t three seasons of decent coefficients hauls by Rangers to help prevent his title winners being required to negotiate qualifiers to reach club’s football’s pre-eminent tournament.
The last time Celtic had two hat-trick scorers in the same game
There is a symmetry to the fact that Furuhashi and Abada hit triples in the weekend 9-0 slaughter. The last time Celtic dished out such punishment to a top flight opponent, which came with the same scoreline racked up at home to Aberdeen on November 6, 2010, two forwards also helped themselves to matchballs (well, you have to assume they did, even if this was before the multiball era that makes such hand-overs seem more straightforward). In the form of Anthony Stokes and Gary Hooper.
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