In the past international breaks have proved costly for Celtic, with players returning to Celtic Park with injuries, loss of form and/or a dent in their confidence.
Because the players all travel in different directions across the globe, to play with the respective countries, we have no control of where or how they play. However, the last two Scotland performances have somewhat bucked that trend.
With the Hoops supplying six starters in the last two World Cup qualifiers against Lithuania and Malta, the team were bound to show the same traits as they do playing for the club. It was almost a foregone conclusion.
And the one player who really made the most of his game time in Scotland’s dark blue was Stuart Armstrong.
Despite what the player said himself, the ‘will he, won’t he’, signing negotiations took it’s toll on his performances. So much so manager Brendan Rodgers didn’t include him in some games, preferring to leave him on the bench. Something unheard of last season, where Stuart was integral part of the team.
In fact his last appearance prior to signing his new contract was as a substitute at Firhill, where his slack play lead to Thistle having a decent penalty shout at the end of the game. He just looked all out of sorts.
Contrast that to his second half against St Johnstone a week past and you’re talking about the Stuart Armstrong that finished last season so strongly. By all accounts the Bhoy has continued that form in the two Scotland internationals just played.
I saw the first on Friday against Lithuania, but not Monday’s match against Malta, and from my viewing, he’s almost like a new signing.
So thankfully, going into the next important phase of the clubs season, we have another player bang on form, just when we need him…