CELTIC have not lost a league game in 2020 – and Neil Lennon will attempt to make sure that will still be the case after the derby at Parkhead this afternoon.
A victory over Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit will see the champions leapfrog their city rivals into pole position in the Premiership in their bid for a historic TENTH successive crown.
If the home side do not slip up, Lennon’s men will be in the comfortable situation of a two-point advantage with a game in hand.
It’s an exalted position to which the nation’s serial title winners have become accustomed in recent years.
Celtic were 13 points ahead with only eight games to play when last season had to be abandoned due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic which followed the 5-0 triumph over St Mirren in the east end of Glasgow on March 7 when Leigh Griffiths rattled in a hat-trick.
The Hoops were duly – and rightly- awarded the FIFTY-FIRST flag in their history, winning the first away back in 1893.
CROWNING GLORY…Scott Brown celebrates with Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor after his last-gasp winner over Hamilton Accies last season.
Lennon led his side to nine wins out of 10 after the turn of the year in season 2019/20 – the only hiccup coming in the 2-2 draw with Livingston in West Lothian.
At the same time, Gerrard saw his team’s desperate quest to derail the champions fall apart. The Govan outfit lost to Hearts (2-1), Kilmarnock (2-1) and Hamilton Accies (1-0). They also dropped points in draws against Aberdeen (0-0) and St Johnstone (2-2).
Their five successes came against St Mirren (1-0), Ross County (2-0 and 1-0), Hibs (2-1) and Livingston (1-0).
While Lennon racked up 28 points from a possible 30, Gerrard had to be satisfied with 17.
This term, the Glasgow foes have 26 to the Hoops’ 25, but that will change around 2.30pm tomorrow.
As far as this year is concerned, Lennon has amassed 53 points with Gerrard on 43. There is a massive difference between winners and losers.
This time out, the former England international midfielder has seen his side draw twice – against Livingston 0-0 and Hibs 2-2 – while winning the other fixtures against Aberdeen (1-0), St Mirren (3-0), St Johnstone (3-0), Kilmarnock (2-0), Hamilton Accies (2-0), Dundee United (4-0), Motherwell (5-1) and Ross County (2-0).
Over the period, the champions have scored 59 goals while the Ibrox side, with a game more played, have hit 55.
CQN has looked at Celtic’s league form in 2020 – it makes impressive reading.
Wednesday, 22: Kilmarnock 1 CELTIC 3 (Edouard, Griffiths, Jullien)
Saturday, 25: CELTIC 3 Ross County 0 (Edouard 2, McGregor pen)
Wednesday, 29: St Johnstone 0 CELTIC 3 (Ntcham, Forrest, Griffiths)
Sunday 2: Hamilton Accies 1 CELTIC 4 (Edouard 2, Jullien, Forrest)
Wednesday 5: Motherwell 0 CELTIC 4 (Edouard 2, McGregor, Griffiths)
Wednesday 12: CELTIC 5 (Ntcham, Jullien, McGregor, Christie, Simunovic) Hearts 0
Sunday 16: Aberdeen 1 CELTIC 2 (McGregor, Ajer)
Sunday 23: CELTIC 3 (Ajer, Edouard, Griffiths) Kilmarnock 1
HAT-TRICK HERO…Leigh Griffiths celebrates after his terrific trio against St Mirren in March.
Wednesday 4: Livingston 2 CELTIC 2 (McGregor, Rogic)
Saturday 7: CELTIC 5 (Griffiths 3, Edouard, McGregor pen) St Mirren 0
Saturday 2: CELTIC 5 (Edouard 3, Frimpong, Klimala) Hamilton Accies 1
Sunday 9: Kilmarnock 1 CELTIC 1 (Christie)
Saturday 22: Dundee Utd 0 CELTIC 1 (Ajeti)
Sunday 30: CELTIC 3 (Forrest, Ajeti, Jullien) Motherwell 0
Saturday 12: Ross County 0 CELTIC 5 (Edouard pen, Ajeti, Duffy, Ajer, Klimala)
Wednesday 18: St Mirren 1 CELTIC 2 (Duffy, Forrest)
Saturday 19: CELTIC 3 (McGregor, Christie, Ajeti) Livingston 2
Sunday 27: CELTIC 3 (McGregor, Ajeti, Elyounoussi) Hibs 0
October 4: St Johnstone 0 CELTIC 2 (Griffiths, Klimala)
*DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Rangers this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.