Scottish football returns tonight after the longest midseason break in its history. Celtic have a nine-point lead, the best squad in the country and a unit around the club which few of us recall. But if you think it’s all over, think again. We have played 15 games and still have to face the teams in second and third place away from home twice.
What’s more, the self-flagellation that ensured the sacking of Giovanni van Bronckhorst is over, now we compete against a talent so formidable he knows to insist on a suit/brogue combo – fashionaccio, for what will surely be a few short months of tenure.
The main positive from the break is the return of captain, Callum McGregor. Pretty much everything else has downside risks. Form changes after a break, training and eating routines are disrupted, what was intuitive can become… tuitive.
You and I have seen Celtic bridge a greater gap with far fewer games to play, towels were thrown everywhere apart from the Celtic dressing room, where presumably a fear of John Clark ensured they were folded neatly after use.
I reckon we will open the door for a challenger only if we are first to drop points, which could easily happen on Saturday. Conversely, if Hibernian take a point tonight to defy their form going into the break, which saw them lose six in seven, including to the bottom three sides in the table, you will not be able to get a bet on Celtic winning the title.