When Ibrox legend Walter Smith issued a statement in June 2012 saying, “We wish the new Rangers Football Club every good fortune”, he no doubt hoped that one day the club would win a major trophy. That happened yesterday, when Celtic lost only their second domestic trophy since 2016 and their first league in a decade.
Credit where it’s due, “new Rangers Football Club” have yet to lose a league game this season and are worthy winners. Like old Rangers, they chose to play Casino Football, accumulating £86m in operational losses in their 8-year of financial history, while, as ever, Celtic live within their means. There is not a hope in hell they would have won the league this season otherwise.
Notwithstanding this, Celtic can reflect on a season of unmitigated failure, and the feeling that they never asked a question of a team who famously bottled every opportunity to win a prize against full time opposition. Had we got our act together, even as late as January, the outcome may have been different.
Today, the consequences of failure are ours. We will explore the reasons at the end of the season, none is insurmountable. The consequences of playing Casio Football are structural and also for a later date. We got many things wrong this season but trying to live without our means is not one of them.
In January 2005, When Martin O’Neill’s Celtic were sliding below the water line before our eyes, I told you we were 5 years into a Generation of Domination (I was mocked and abused thoroughly for my trouble). How spectacularly correct that turned out. It was not a gambler’s hunch; it was the inevitable outcome of how Celtic and Oldco were corporately managed.
I know it’s difficult to step back and look beyond today’s pain, but this is not Self-Flagellation Quick News, I’ll leave that to others. What was overwhelmingly evident in January 2005 remains so today. 21 years in, we are now in our second successive Generation of Domination (cue 2005’s blind reaction). All that has changed is the weather, not the climate, so forgive me a lack of panic.