CELTIC legend John ‘Yogi’ Hughes agrees with Neil Lennon that the champions must rise above the present hysteria.
The Hoops have conceded eight goals in three successive games, have lost 2-0 to Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side, 3-1 to AC Milan – both at Parkhead – and drawn 3-3 with Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
Sixties hero Hughes, the seventh-highest goalscorer in the Parkhead club’s history with 189 strikes, has had a close look at the mounting “crisis” and gave his forthright views to Celtic book author Alex Gordon in another CQN EXCLUSIVE.
Yogi, now 77, said: “I see that heads must roll and panic buttons are being pressed furiously all over the place. For goodness sake, let’s restore some order and analyse the situation in the cold light of day.
“Neil Lennon and Celtic have lost just one league game in 2020 – and the eleventh month is due to kick in on Sunday.
“Okay, it was a hard loss to accept – no-one can disagree with that – but it is still just three points and we play the Govan lot another three times in the campaign. Who is to say what the position will be when those games come around?
“It was on December 29 last year that we lost 2-1 to Gerrard’s team at Parkhead, the first time they had won in the east end of Glasgow in nine years. No wonder they went crazy with their celebrations!
“But look at what happened in the interim period, the three months between that game and the next that was due at Ibrox on March 15. Celtic would have gone into that fixture with a 13-point advantage with only eight games remaining afterwards.
SILVERWARE SKIPPER…Scott Brown holds the ninth successive title.
“The coronavirus pandemic, of course, wiped out the game and the remainder of the season, but at that stage my old team were favourites to win the match in Govan. Celtic had maintained on a steady course while others showed they could not cope with the pressure.
“Who is to say it will not be an action replay this time around? It’s a massive advantage to have the knowledge of what is required for going the distance in the race for the flag.
“Celtic have done it in the past nine successive years. They have players such as Scott Brown and James Forrest who have been involved in all nine.
“Others such as Callum McGregor, Leigh Griffiths, Kristoffer Ajer, Nir Bitton, and Tom Rogic have also been involved along the way.
“And don’t forget Neil Lennon was in right at the start when he led the side to the crown in season 2011/12.
“So, the history is there. Who at Ibrox can match Celtic’s pedigree? No-one! That’s the easy answer.
“As I mentioned in CQN yesterday, we are not the finished article and it is taking a while longer than anticipated for new Bhoys such as Vasilis Barkas and Albian Ajeti to settle in and I’m sure David Turnbull will prove to be a shrewd buy once he integrates properly.
“So, please, we don’t need a knee-jerk reaction. We may not have hit the ground running in our quest for the historic ten-in-a-row, but I have no doubt we will get into our stride. And then we’ll take some stopping.”
TOMORROW: Big Yogi looks at the test ahead – and recalls the day he ran amok against Aberdeen.