I like Neil Lennon. If Neil Lennon is talking about football, I shut up and listen. But I respectfully disagree on other subjects. If the last three years have taught us anything it’s that Celtic don’t need oldco or newco Rangers. Unequivocally, Celtic Park is quieter since Rangers liquidated, the level of competition we previously had added many to the gates, none of us feel the anxiety of genuine sporting challenge, but so what?
If Celtic sell 40,000 instead of 50,000 season tickets are we mortally wounded? The accounts would suggest otherwise. Does it mean we cannot compete in Europe? I refer to Neil’s record. Does it mean we cannot attract quality players? Well, it means we will not be able to attract some players, but I’m more than happy with the calibre of players we’ve recruited at the moment. Good riddance to the parts of Celtic that went out the door when Rangers were flushed down the Liquidation Lavvy.
I’m going to cut Neil some slack. I’ve been among Rangers fans and been generous enough to acknowledge income will rise at Celtic if newco ever reach the top flight. It costs nothing to be magnanimous.
What we do need is competition, the like of which Aberdeen have given us in the league this season and they and Dundee United may provide next season, if current trends continue. Congratulations are due to Hearts, who won the Championship before the clocks went forward, an incredible display of dominance, but as our two cup wins against them this season (3-0, 0-4) proves, they are miles away from providing the level of competition we see from Aberdeen.
Don’t have time to get dragged into a larger debate at the moment, but whenever Scottish football next turns its mind to strategic development, how to bolster Aberdeen and United should be top of the agenda. I enjoyed our four games against United this month and the recent league game against Aberdeen. More of them would be welcome.
We have a league split at the moment, where the top six hive off to play for the title, but it comes with only five games to play. An earlier split, allowing us more games against those at the top, while creating more opportunity for teams at the bottom to pick up points from their peers, makes more sense. Especially if more commercial income could be shared with the likes of Aberdeen and United.
Have you ever walked up Ben Nevis? Will you ever do so? It’s a big task if you are starting from scratch. When is it safe, what do you wear, what if something goes wrong, how long will it take, what about nourishment along the way?
The Ben Nevis Huddle delivers much of what you need on a plate. The Foundation have it all in hand. You get to walk up the mountain with a couple of hundred other Celts. They let you know what you need to know, check the weather for you and generally look out for things. They have left no one on the mountain. Yet.
What’s more, you get to do it in the name of Celtic FC Foundation, for our work with autism, downs, the homeless and destitute, those marginalised from our society, and those living in third world poverty.