Published 29/10/2011 | 05:00
They have displayed a resilience that pleases their manager but the biggest single task confronting Neil Lennon is to persuade his players that the view from the canvas is not the best perspective from which to plan knockouts.
Or, as the Celtic manager might ask if he had a mind to paraphrase Marlene Dietrich: "Falling behind again, never wanted to -- what am I to do? Can they help it?"
In their midweek League Cup victory over Hibernian -- who have the unenviable task of providing the opposition again today, but as visitors -- Celtic were again required to produce a revival after losing the opening goal.
As they had done at Kilmarnock two weeks ago, when they trailed 3-0 at the break but retrieved a 3-3 draw, the Parkhead side displayed two sides of their character.
Such a split personality is not suited to sustaining the grind required to prevail over the long haul of a title race, as Lennon acknowledged when he reflected on the contrast between Celtic's second-half performance at Easter Road and the difficulties they helped create for themselves prior to the break.
"It's difficult to replicate that level of performance in every game but I would like them to show something approaching that form, because it's there in them," said the Hoops manager. "We need it from start to finish.
"There have been flashes of it and they have played well in games here and there but there have only been a couple of games where we've been pleased with consistency.
"The second half on Wednesday night was the best we've played this season.
"The reaction I got from them was very, very satisfying. It has been a bit stop-start for us but they've had the feeling on Wednesday night -- and I've told them to hold on to it.
"I've been involved in games like that, when everything flows and the game seems easy. It's not, because you do it through hard work.
"The running power was pretty impressive, considering the run of games they've had, and the finishing was good, but there were other aspects of the game -- Stokes scoring a header from a corner -- things we've been working on.
"Everything seemed to click and gel. We got a lot of confidence. We need to use that confidence, without being complacent, and try to get a consistent run going in the league.
"It can present difficulties, playing the same team again so quickly, but it's easier in terms of preparation because the players have had a good look at them on Wednesday night.
"Hibs might be a wounded animal after Wednesday. They were really excited going into the game and at half-time that was justified, but we were pretty special in the second half and it was a big effort.
"Now I want us to kick on from that, although it's not easy to replicate what they showed in the second half. We'll try to push that out of them if we can."
Hibs' problem is the reverse of Celtic's -- how to regain the brio with which they played in the first half on Wednesday, when they had outstanding chances to double or even treble their lead.
They also have to contend with James Forrest, a 20-year-old still learning his trade, but the individual who has revitalised his older colleagues on more than one occasion this season.
"He's one of those little baby-faced assassins," said Lennon, with all the relish of a Mafia don contemplating the work of a newly nurtured hitman. "He looks like a 14-year-old -- but once he gets out on that pitch he plays with real determination.
"He really wants to hurt teams and that's what I love about him. I enjoy watching him play, I really do."
Forrest has not demonstrated the sheer virtuoso trickery of a recent Celtic prodigy, Aiden McGeady, but he looks likely to produce a greater goal yield than his midfield predecessor who never got into double figures in the league. "Yeah, he's definitely more direct than Aiden would be," said Lennon.
"They're two wonderful players -- and Aiden was a decent finisher once he got in there -- but in terms of where he is, James is probably a little bit ahead of where Aiden was.
"Plus you have to remember that Aiden played with myself, (Stiliyan) Petrov, John Hartson, Chris Sutton and basically stood out in that group, which is credit to him."
Charlie Mulgrew is fit again, which may mean another back-line reconfiguration alongside Thomas Rogne.
Georgios Samaras, too, is available, although if he plays it is likely to be as a substitute in a winning team to give him the chance to eke a little confidence from the proceedings. (© Daily Telegraph, London)