History will record that season 2012-13 was more successful for Celtic than season 2013-14 but the champions’ league performances this season have been comparable only to those of season 2003-04, when the club completed a 25 game winning streak.
With seven games to go we have already collected five points more than the team which reached the knock out stages of the Champions League last season, and this season we have had a worthy competitor for second place, who are favourites to complete the domestic treble of League Cup, Scottish Cup and Best of the Rest titles.
Kris Commons, Virgil van Dijk and Fraser Forster have correctly gained enormous plaudits throughout the season but the story of Celtic’s success is more nuanced. We don’t just have a great keeper and a great central defender, we have a central defensive partnership which is better than either of the two partnerships I watched in the Manchester derby on Tuesday night.
In other times the story of our season would be the injuries at right back, but the standard of cover there, with Lustig, Matthews and Fisher, is such that no one really noticed.
The strikers didn’t really get going until Leigh Griffiths arrived in January, and much of our player investment over the summer missed the target. This had consequences on the autumn, when we came up short of last season’s (over) achievements in the Champions League, but we have a plentiful squad of players, including Forster, Lustig, Matthews, Izaguirre, Ambrose, van Dijk, Brown, Johansen and Commons who are more than capable at Champions League level, with others knocking at the door.
Congratulations to Neil, his technical team, the many who work to keep the ship pointing in the right direction, some behind the scenes and some front of house, and to each of the players who left their mark in the history books.
On the equivalent day six years ago, we recorded that Gordon Strachan had joined Willie Maley and Jock Stein as the only Celtic managers to have won three consecutive titles. Neil Lennon’s name is now added to that list.
With all this championship coverage, did the phrase ‘Good day to bury bad news’ slip into anyone’s mind? “There is a reasonable expectation that the Company has adequate resources to continue in operational existence”.
You know when your chairman tells you he has a reasonable expectation the company will continue in existence that there’s nothing to worry about. All the doubters have been put in their place.
Seville – The Celtic Movement, is out now:[calameo code=0003901710a55b5798f06 lang=en page=52 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]