Charlie Nicholas looks at the talking points from the first half of the SPL season
Charlie Nicholas talks Celtic and Inverness, plus Rangers' absence, in his SPL half-time round-up.
Last Updated: 03/01/13 1:48pm
"This not a Celtic team that has found it particularly easy to score goals this season, especially at home, and they don't go and control games all the time, but they are a decent side and they have improved. The win against Barcelona, though, highlighted how important the Celtic fans are to the success of their team; Neil Lennon's tactics have been spot on, and they have some good players, but an enormous amount of credit must go to the fans, who have been special on European nights."
Why Celtic's key men should stay put in January
"There is interest in Victor Wanyama (pictured), who is a very physical midfield player, has impressed in the Champions League and can get better, while Gary Hooper, who has been linked with Liverpool, is a goal scorer and goalkeeper Fraser Forster has made tremendous progress - but why should they rush to leave? They have the Champions League double-header with Juventus, Celtic should win the SPL and there is every chance they will get the domestic Treble, too, so it could be a sensational finish for some of these players. Plus, Celtic don't have to sell because they have brought in revenue from the Champions League."
Who else has impressed in the SPL?
"The team of the season so far has been Terry Butcher's Inverness; they have scored the most goals and are a very attack-minded side. Terry has signed some little gems, Billy McKay (pictured) has been sensational goal-scoring-wise and their defence has been a lot more solid. Dundee United have disappointed, Aberdeen have been up and down, Hibernian have been better and we know about Hearts' problems, but Inverness have really caught my eye."
How Rangers' absence has affected the Scottish top flight
"People will say it's only recently that Celtic have gone nine points clear, but they have played a lot of their fringe players because they haven't had the pressure of looking over their shoulder for Rangers. The decision-makers put Rangers down three divisions and I think they jumped the gun a little bit and now a lot of SPL clubs are having to sell their players; we have just seen Motherwell star Jamie Murphy join Sheffield United for £100,000 when last year you were looking at a figure of £900,000."
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