WELL, dear reader, what were you worrying about?

The Premiership silverware was never in danger of being removed from its favoured location in the east end of Glasgow.

Shame on any of you who bought into the baloney that bounced around with reckless abandonment that Celtic were about to have their trophy cabinet raided.

Philippe Clement was being hailed as a genius, a guru of the touchline, a masterful tactical technician, a man who had Brendan’s number. The Belgian egghead, apparently, was in the throes of leading the Ibrox club into a glorious new era while totally eclipsing their neighbours across the Clyde.

HAIL, HAIL…Brendan Rodgers in a familiar role.

Poor old Celtic and their manager were about to be consigned to football’s rubbish dump.

Hoops fans were advised: “Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted. Maybe see you again in a decade or so.”

Not an exact formation of words, I accept, but you get the drift.

I wasn’t quite reaching for the Valium at the prospect of my favourite team heading for the knacker’s yard. And, trust me, I am  not being wise after the event.

Your humble scribe wrote in this column back in December – check it out here – that I found it “as hysterical as it is hilarious” about some observations from folk who should know a lot better wittering on about “a seismic shift” in power in Glasgow.

Okay, Celtic weren’t exactly ripping it up at the time and there had been two awful back-to-back defeats to Kilmarnock and Hearts to puzzle and perplex us all.

And, yes, there was reason for concern while the champions, after winning the crown in eleven of the previous 12 years, had parted company with a bit of their lustre and allure. Maybe some of their fearsome pizazz had faded.

CHEERLEADER…Joe Hart takes pole position in the Celtic sing-song after the 5-0 title-clinching win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

But I thought – and said so – that it was crazy to write them off. There was way too much quality, on and off the pitch, at Parkhead to discard us among the no-hopers.

You have to wonder about the motives of some people who were far too eager to put the boot in. Seemed like wishful thinking to me. The utterances of the truly desperate.

Look, we have to accept that winning trophies and games of football is not any team’s God-given right. We had encountered choppy seas, but I didn’t believe for a heartbeat that the good ship Celtic FC had been holed beneath the waterline and irreparable damage had been done.

Even before the turn of the year, one particularly irrational national newspaper reporter wrote about “the demise” of Celtic. Really? I must have missed that notice in the obituary column.

I had not even been aware we were on life support.

There was an overload of Clement bon homie being thrust at us and, to be fair, he had looked an upgrade on the previous incumbent in the Govan dug-out, the floundering Michael Beale, after his mid-October appointment.

CHAMPIONS…Celtic players celebrate three in a row.

It seemed that the final whistle was still echoing around Hampden on December 17 following the Ibrox team’s 1-0 win over Aberdeen in the League Cup Final, that we were being informed Rangers were on the cusp of the domestic treble.

It reached frightening levels of absurdity when some so-called journalists discussed the quadruple as they threw in the Europa League for good measure.

Discreetly, I pointed out that Clement had yet to take his players to the home of the champions. I asked how he would cope with the acid test of coming face to face with his adversary, the good Brendan.

History tells us, dear friends, that it didn’t end well for the Govan club at Parkhead on the Saturday afternoon of December 30.

Thanks to a stoppage-time equaliser, it got a little better in their corner of the city on April 7, but Big Phil and Co were back in the doldrums last weekend when they waved goodbye to any remote possibility of the Premiership trophy being wrenched from its present location.

Celtic, six points ahead with two games to play. There was more chance of me being asked to replace Joe Hart in goal next season than Brendan’s Bhoys not getting the job done.

As for the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden a week on Saturday? The ballyhoo from the blue corner appears to have subsided somewhat, but the trophy holders, of course, will treat their opponents with the utmost respect.

The champions, in fact, will afford their opponents the sort of proper regard Celtic were denied not so long ago by so many.


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