My friends in Celtic, 10 trophies in a row has been achieved, a level of dominance over Scottish football not known, even under Jock Stein. With the League Cup secured, we have won 17 out of 20 league games, topped our Europa League group for the first time, but all of this will count for little if the league title is not won come May.
By any objective measure, Celtic have improved this season. Had we started this season as we started last, the league title would already be beyond our reach. However, marked improvement is not enough. Newco have made even more significant gains. They have won 16 of their 19 league games, came second in their Europa League group and reached their second major final. A win in their game in hand would put them to of the table by one point.
December started with a comfortable 1-4 win at Ross County, but in the eight games since then we failed to score more than two goals. A late rescue against Hamilton Accies painted over some cracks but the edifice came crashing down as Newco deservedly won 1-2 on Sunday.
We played terribly, lost the tactical battle, missed a penalty and invited crisis into our world. It is likely to be several months before we get a chance to feel better about our league title chances.
Those objective measures of improvement are of no comfort, it is vastly more important how we are measure against domestic rivals than how we performed in previous seasons. The objective State of the Club is impressive. The trophy cabinet is full, most games are a sell-out, and finances are sustainable, despite no Champions League income. We recruited well in the summer and continue to transform young players with potential into valued talent.
We are seeded and favourites to win our Europa League last 32 game, and based on our group stage, there is every reason to hope for a run deep into that competition. Our perspective would look altogether different if only Newco were their usual shambolic selves. But they are not. They are a good team with a good manager who have many of us worried.
Celtic have been getting things strategically right for a long time. The level of dominance we have, together with our financial strength, does not happen by accident. We are a well-run club that has absolutely no intentions of letting this league title slip.
Newco are at their best. They recruited well and have not endured the injury record we have this campaign. They are financially below the water line and will find it difficult to recruit in order to improve their team next month.
Celtic, despite their high points total, have not been at their best. They can and will spend. Several areas of the team will improve. The team that visits Ibrox on 15 March will be ready for the challenge.
Had we won on Sunday, the league title would be considered a given. Much of our chat in the weeks ahead would be about the Scottish Cup and a fourth consecutive treble. Instead, we need to quickly up our game. Situations like this are why we run our business on a sustainable model, with flexibility available when required.
You could make the point that winning everything all of the time is not good for the long-term development of a football team. Without a viable challenge, aspirations are not set as high as they otherwise would be.
It was different when we faced Oldco for the title. Like now, they were forever spending more than they could afford or raise, but their budgets were similar to ours, which meant we had to walk a line between financial viability and being competitive. If having little or no competition is not healthy, the scenario we faced with Oldco was a lot worse.
Celtic are now planning to form a team capable of winning pretty much every domestic game between now and the end of the season. That is the bar required. It will be difficult and there are no guarantees we will win the league, no matter how much money is spent.
The one thing you know about Celtic is that they know how to win trophies; in fact, they have forgotten how to lose them. Enjoy the remainder of this season, it will hopefully deliver a cherished and historic title.