BRENDAN RODGERS smiles at the camera and informs the viewers: “We’ll be better and stronger next season.”

The Irishman will never become famous for firing out rash and empty promises in an attempt to play to the gallery.

We can leave the hubris and hooha to another part of the city. Did I really pick up vibes before the turn of the year about the possibility of a quadruple at Ibrox after Philippe Clement’s Ibrox side had beaten Aberdeen 1-0 to lift the League Cup in December?

It seemed the shrill from the referee’s whistle was still echoing somewhere around Hampden when some scribes who should know a lot better were quick to inform the nation that Rangers were the only club that could complete the domestic treble. Gee, thanks. Einstein, eat your heart out.

CROWNING GLORY…Brendan Rodgers is smiles better with Celtic’s 54th title.

A few got a tad over-excited and threw in the Europa League for good measure. Fantasy and reality are unusual companions, but the more delusional out there will grasp hold of anything to remain afloat and bullish.

Rodgers and Celtic, after back-to-back league defeats against Kilmarnock and Hearts, were practically dismissed out of hand.

Benfica, too, appeared to be there just to make up the numbers in Clement’s path to Euro glory in the showpiece at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin later in the season.

When the real world was re-introduced to the overly-optimistic support, Celtic were crowned champions of Scotland for the third time in succession, the twelfth time in 13 years and 54th in their history.

Rodgers and Co also won the Scottish Cup, dismissing You-Know-Who in the Final at the national stadium to complete the double.

Oh, and Italy’s Atalanta won the European prize after decimating Jeremie Frimpong’s Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 in Dublin’s fair city.

Now, dear reader, here is where it all gets very interesting. Celtic have their sights firmly fixed on another Premiership success which will elevate them to 55 titles.

That is the same number claimed by Rangers, or any other moniker you care to bestow upon the current inhabitants of Ibrox. Celtic are closing in and that is creating consternation among the brown brogue brigade.

Yes, we all acknowledge that a number of their awards were annexed by nefarious means following some financial jiggery-pokery by those in power at the time.

HAPPY DAZE…retiring goalkeeper Joe Hart leads the celebrations after the title was delivered in style at Rugby Park last month.

To any right-thinking individual, there is a sound and valid case all honours gained during a prolific and corrupt period between 2001 and 2010 should be declared null and void. Those trophies were achieved by unlawful means.

Eventually, HMRC caught up with the club’s misuse of an Employee Benefits Trust (EBTs) which had been set up to avoid paying tax and national insurance on player and staff salaries.

For their prolonged dodgy fiscal deeds, the Ibrox club were banished to the naughty step for a few years. However, crucially, they were not stripped of titles or other trophies won by felonious means during that time span.

I’ve said it before and no doubt I’ll say it again, but it’s monumentally preposterous that a judge, some bewigged character by the name of Lord William Nimmo Smith, ruled secret payments to players and other influential employees did not help them win five Premier League titles. Ludicrous doesn’t come close.

Still, dear reader, that’s the lay of the land today. Forget all the talk about both clubs each sitting on 118 honours, the one that really matters is the league championship.

Celtic have won 54 untainted titles to Rangers’ 55. You could make a case that the Govan club have no right to claim that figure – and I’m not talking about the misuse of EBTs. Back in 1891, they shared the crown with Dumbarton.

Anyway, let’s overlook that little fact.

It’s now in Celtic’s hands to equal the 55 in the forthcoming crusade.

And then Rodgers and Co will be up to ramming speed as they set course to take their rightful place at the pinnacle.


Click Here for Comments >

About Author