The only club capable of stopping Celtic from doing ten in a row is Celtic.
It may sound big headed, self-entitled or even a little disrespectful to any club who has designs on stopping Celtic but the reality is the Parkhead club has put themselves in a place where they are peerless.
People talk down the Scottish game for Celtic’s dominance like we should be somehow ashamed of putting ourselves in a position to shine while other clubs imploded.
We have seen the original Rangers liquidated after years of financial mismanagement and illegal side contracts and Hearts come close to the same fate before saving their club from financial oblivion but I digress. Celtic are made to feel like they’re doing something wrong in many ways for being the team to beat but in reality, we have brought ourselves to this point by making astute decisions and having the club run the correct way to a point.
Celtic have been cruising to ten in a row but this year we have seen a massive hiccup in our plans to make history by beating a record Jock Stein’s side set all those years ago. The hiccup didn’t come as a result of Brendan Rodgers slithering out of Celtic Park, it came before that.
The stuttering form this season has seen Celtic bow out of the Champions League before it even begun when a mediocre Athens side eliminated Rodgers men. This was followed up by a woeful start to the campaign when it came to away performances. Both of these symptoms of a club who refused to build from a position of strength last summer and selling their top striker on the final days of the window. While I give the board kudos and Brendan Rodgers has taken a lot of heat since his departure, there’s no getting away from the fact the board’s decision making has been poor as of late.
After a slow start, the accidental emergence of Ryan Christie coincided with an upturn in fortune along with Celtic’s stunning home form kept Celtic’s head above water.
The defeat to The Rangers at the end of December was largely due to massive injuries where Brendan Rodgers would deploy a novice midfielder as a sole striker, an attacking midfielder, turned holding midfielder turned left back for the day with injuries to key men during the game also playing their part. Again it was lack of squad depth that saw Celtic suffer. I don’t refer to squad depth as in how many bodies we have at Lennoxtown, because there are a lot! This speaks more to the massive gap in talent between first team players and the rest.
Celtic haven’t lost a single domestic game since the turn of the year and they deserve massive credit for pulling together and getting the job done. A self-inflicted wound delivered by “one of our own” gave our rivals a glimmer of hope but that little spec of light at the end of the tunnel was quickly extinguished by a returning Neil Lennon who answered Celtic’s SOS when Brendan Rodgers selfishness threatened to derail our good start to the year.
The club sits top of the league today with an 11 point gap and while they’re comfortable they can hardly be accused of doing it with style. When you look back at this season, people want to talk about gaps closing and rivals challenging. The reality is Celtic brought themselves down a peg, poor performances with a lack of imagination in the transfer window has seen us grind to eight in a row, rather than absolutely smashing it.
It’s clearly a massive understatement to say the club has a big summer ahead with everyone’s eyes firmly on the board. Fans want ten in a row and so does the club but the lack of energy around the place right now is a cause for concern – as is the frightening amount of turnover we’re likely to see this summer. Loans ending, contracts finishing and players simply wanting to move on. It’s a daunting task but it also provides an intriguing challenge for any manager Celtic might be looking to bring in.
Money will have to be spent, more imagination in the transfer window is now not a luxury, it’s an absolute necessity. Should we stagnate any further, we will bring ourselves down another peg and give our rivals incentive.
It’s crazy to think the rebuilding which will have to be done when we could end the season on a triple treble but that’s where we’re at.
We need a captain of the ship sooner rather than later and from there we must build to make sure we reinvigorate the squad for the next two seasons at least.