DO Celtic want to win this league?

I only ask because they should be miles ahead given all their advantages, but right now sit third in the Premiership with the team in eighth place just seven points behind them with 17 games played.

That side, co-incidentally, are Hibs who were superb at Easter Road on Sunday and fully deserved their 2-0 win and I’ll come back to that later.

Three defeats and three draws leaved Brendan Rodgers one point behind a rejuvenated Rangers and a remarkable Kilmarnock.

Did anyone see this coming?

They have a game in hand, the League Cup has been won, the club is in Europe and there is plenty of time and an entire transfer window to put things right, so please spare me any talk of a crisis or disaster.

But a few injuries and the absence of Leigh Griffiths has shown us that the squad is not being as strong as it should be.

As I said last week, January has got to be a busy month at Celtic Park. Sunday proved that two strikers and a midfielder are needed.

Hibs weren’t afraid to have a go at Celtic and other managers would have noticed that.

Neil Lennon is a good manager. His formation and tactics were perfect.

Neil wasn’t happy with the way things ended for him at Celtic and so would have enjoyed his team’s performance.

Celtic were very much second best and that will worry Rodgers. Indeed, there will be more than a few concerns for the manager. at this moment in time.

The Celtic team I played in were great at free-kicks. We had Alan Thompson, who was superb, Henrik Larsson and Stan Petrov. All three would fancy to score when they stood over the ball at a set-piece in a good area.

After that, Shunsuke Nakamura, the best I ever saw, treated free-kicks as penalties. His ability to get the ball up and over a wall and past the goalkeeper took your breath away.

Kris Commons and Charlie Mulgrew were also pretty handy 25 yards from goal.

Griffiths scored a free-kick at Hamilton a few weeks ago and was also on corners. I cannot over-emphasise who important set-pieces are.

On Sunday, Olivier Ntcham was given two goes, both pretty central and a good distance outside the box, and twice he failed to get the ball over the Hibs wall. Within ten seconds of the second effort, Hibs had made it 2-0.

Good grief.

This has to be sorted because the league shows that there won’t be many easy games coming up. Chances such as that cannot be squandered.

And then there is the Scott Brown quandary.

I hear the argument about the captain and Ntcham not being compatible and I do understand that argument. But I am not having it that Brown, a Celtic captain, a club legend about to make his 500th club appearance, is done.

Personally, I don’t believe Brown will head to Australia at the end of this season, although a three-year deal in the sun must be tempting. He has put in so much work to get his football club close to ten in a row and I just can’t see him walking away from history.

Before his injury, Brown was the best thing since sliced bread. I can’t get my head around those who now say he’s finished. How has he gone from the team’s leader to being too old within a few weeks?

I would still have the captain in my Celtic team. Every day of the week.

Rodgers maybe has to work out who plays alongside him, but Brown remains key.

And I am worried we might lose Dedryck Boyata in January.

The Belgian has been badly missed and with six months of his contract to go, would the club turn down, say, £6m next month or lose him for nothing in the summer?

Celtic are in a title race. That is undeniable right here and now. All the teams around them have improved from last season. Perhaps except Aberdeen who haven’t really go going yet – and they are a place and only three points behind us.

Ryan Christie being back in training is terrific news. Kieran Tierney will be brought back in for the Motherwell game on Wednesday and, I hope Tom Rogic.

Celtic then have another home game on Saturday when Dundee come to Glasgow. They should win both and six points might well be enough to put them top as they head to Aberdeen on Boxing Day.

Then it’s Ibrox and after that the winter break. The players need a rest.