THE angry brigade has fallen mercifully silent and the irate villagers can put away the pitchforks and the flaming torches for another few days.

The Celtic Park fortress isn’t likely to be stormed and the inhabitants are relatively safe for the time being.

Two vitally important victories have had a compassionately soothing effect on the irrational ‘what if’ contingent who have been up in arms in recent weeks, despite the team winning eight of nine games in an unbeaten sequence.

WHAT IF we lose to Hibs at Easter Road? That’ll be the league blown. We’ll never recover from that.

WHAT IF we go out of the Scottish Cup to St Mirren in Paisley? A defeat will surely extinguish any hope of silverware success in a disastrous campaign.

ROAR OF DEFIANCE AND DELIGHT…Brendan Rodgers celebrates the dramatic win over Hibs last week.

The doomsayers were having a field day, gorging on admittedly some perplexingly and mystifyingly low-key exhibitions from the team that could complete the current crusade with a league and Cup double to bring their collection of domestic honours to a phenomenal nineteen from a possible 24 over a truly memorable eight-year period.

I suppose when you are deluged by such overwhelming and welcomingly persistent success – omitting the catastrophic 2020/21 term – it can make a perceived drop in standards all that more intolerable.

The reactions of some have been regrettable, I believe. There has been a fairly obvious build-up of stress. We all deal with anxiety in our own way. Medical science informs us in such moments of nervous tension your body can go into fight or flight mode.

The encouraging news is when the threat passes, your body usually recovers.

WHAT IF Celtic win their next 13 league games and lift the 54th crown in their glorious history?

WHAT IF Brendan Rodgers’ men are successful in their next three Scottish Cup-ties, all in Glasgow and starting with Livingston in the quarter-final at Parkhead next month?

The doom and gloom merchants will have to deal with a paroxysm of joy. How on earth will they cope?

LEADING THE WAY…inspirational captain Callum McGregor.

It’s not outwith the imagination to envisage a team at full-strength, captained by Callum McGregor, going on a victorious rampage through the fixtures. It’s hardly unknown territory for most of the players currently wearing those famous green-and-white hoops.

Just last season, the team unexpectedly toppled to defeat against St Mirren in September and then embarked on 13 consecutive domestic wins in the remaining three months of the year.

There was a 2-2 stutter at Ibrox on January 2 2023 before the team took off again in another breathtaking sequence of domestic triumphs, 17 on the bounce before a 1-1 home draw with Motherwell on April 22.

Just to let you know, dear friends, your humble scribe does not view the world through rose – or green – tinted spectacles. My Glasgow upbringing makes certain of that.

So, such a series of pleasureable achievements is not too demanding to fathom.

Also, I don’t buy into the overblown hoo-ha that is coming from another part of the city. People should not confuse good results with good performances.

Philippe Clement has certainly transformed his players into more committed combatants, no argument with that observation, but they are far removed from a team that should send shudders of fear or trepidation through the Celtic dressing room.

Celtic have been perched at the Premiership pinnacle since beating Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox club 3-0 at Parkhead on February 2 2022. They may be removed – albeit temporarily – if the Govan club can beat Ross County by at least three goals tonight.

That may trigger more angst and consternation among the ranks of the jittery, but no team wins the title in February. Not with 39 points still to play for, that’s for sure.

So, let’s remain positive at a time when love, affection and adoration should be in plentiful supply.

It is Valentine’s Day, after all.


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