Do We Care About Celtic’s Three In A Row Triumph?


Celtic could clinch yet another league title this week if they win at Firhill. Even if they don’t secure the Premiership win this midweek its inevitable that they will not have to wait too much longer for a championship party.

Now obviously winning such competitions are important to a clubs history and will be celebrated in some fashion. The players and the management team will deserve the up most credit for their achievements. But when I look at Celtic’s season I still feel a bit ‘meh’ about it.

That seems crazy when you look at the league stats. Celtic are twenty-three points clear at the top of the table, have scored an incredible 74 goals in 30 league games and only conceded 14. They’ve also won 26 matches, drew just three and lost only once in the league this term.

But the football hasn’t been exciting.

A lot of that is down to a lack of competition. That isn’t Celtic’s fault but it does make it a bit dull watching them. Certain sections of the Celtic support must agree as the club have only once broken 50,000 for an attendance in the league this campaign. Also lets not forget that the big teams in Scotland always add season ticket holders to all attendances even if they don’t make it through the turnstiles. ¬†Against Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup only 30,000 made it to the game. I couldn’t find a record of the crowd against Morton from this season league cup tie which tells its own story.

As I say I don’t blame Celtic for that predicament. Many will say they miss Rangers and they do from a commercial point of view but I would doubt Rangers would be able to compete with their hooped rivals at this moment in time or anytime soon for that matter.

I think Celtic’s lack of cup success this term has also put a bit of a dampener on their season. They should be doing better and Neil Lennon and his side won’t be judged as being great if they can’t secure a treble.

Europe wasn’t a great sideline for Lennon and his troops this season but they just can’t compete effectively with sides like Barcelona, Ajax and Milan every year. Obviously the spending power of Milan and Barca take them away from Celtic but the Glasgow side did spend double that of Ajax but still managed to finish below them in the group. One of Celtic’s main issues has to be lack of competition at home. The other sides play in competitive leagues and Celtic always have to step up in quality after playing in a mundane league tie in Scotland.

I’m also a bit disappointed by the lack of Scottish talent getting into the first team at Parkhead.

Captain Scott Brown has improved under Lennon, although he still gets caught up in some unnecessary incidents. Charlie Mulgrew has also impressed under Lennon’s regime and his ability to do well in various positions is of great benefit to the cause. Kris Commons has had a great season but alas no longer plays for Scotland. Leigh Griffiths has hit the ground running since his January arrival but I will reserve judgement on him until I see him play against Europe’s elite.

See its the younger players I am a bit worried about at Celtic Park. James Forrest seems to becoming a bit stagnated as he fails to improve on his early promise, mainly due to persistent injuries. Loaning out players such as Tony Watt and Dylan McGeouch and replacing them with average foreign imports seems silly to me. I think in the current climate Celtic can afford to blood more young Scots into the team. That would help our national sides and also create more interest within the Celtic support as they see local lads they can easily connect with.

Now for all the apathy I have felt by watching Celtic this term I have to say I have enjoyed the Scottish Premiership up to a point. It certainly hasn’t died because of the financial meltdown that started at Ibrox.

The emergence of a successful Aberdeen has come at the best time. An estimated 70,000 Dons fans turned up so see the team return home with the League Cup. Now why on earth can’t they turn up for more league games and sell out Pittodrie every week?

Dundee United have impressed in parts this season with boss Jackie McNamara showing faith in young Scottish talent and being rewarded with fine displays from Gary Mackay-Steven, Ryan Gauld, Stuart Armstrong and Andrew Robertson.

Stuart McCall has once again had success with Motherwell and Inverness Caley Thistle have done well remaining in the ‘Top Six’ and reaching the League Cup Final.

Obviously after the financial troubles at Tynecastle and starting on minus points Hearts are certainties for relegation. But the added factor of a play-off between the side who finishes second bottom of the Premiership and the second top team of the Championship has meant that the bottom half of the table remains intriguing for us neutrals. St Mirren, Partick Thistle, Kilmarnock and Ross County are all still in a dog fight to secure their top league statuses.

Now for all that the other sides have been refreshing to watch and the league has benefited from the new structure, they need to push on and challenge Celtic more especially in their own games with the Glasgow giants. I don’t necessarily mean push them all the way in the title race but make life a bit tougher for them in the games in which you play them.

If one of the other sides could also have a decent run in Europe then that could also lift our game.

Congratulations to Celtic when they finally get their hands on the trophy. I just hope next term it can be a bit more competitive and interesting. I am a big believer in competition breeding success. We all need to push ourselves and our rivals in order to improve our game.

(Note: This author was also bored by the Rangers 9 in a row era, the Barca dominance in recent years and Spain’s current monopoly of trophies in the international stage.)

16 Responses to “Do We Care About Celtic’s Three In A Row Triumph?”

  1. Unfortunately you are probably have to get used to the monopoly which is probably just in its infancy right now.

    I think the big positive right now in Scottish football is that clubs are being run more sensibly than they had been for a good while and attendances by and large are on the up outwith Celtic.

    It would be great to see Pittodre packed week in week out though and I do think that if Aberdeen can hold onto their players they represent the best chance of another Scottish team seeing group stage European action.

  2. Thanks for the comment Big G.

    Yes I fear you are right with your assessment that this is just the start of the monopoly of one team winning the league.

    I am certainly not advocating sides spend big on chasing Celtic. Just improve on the small things like promoting youth and using better tactics in the bigger games.

  3. You’ve had a big moan about the state of it all and I can’t disagree with a large proportion of what you say as it is obvious that Scottish football isn’t in an ideal situation right now and even a blind man could see that. But where are the solutions you may wish to offer? You can’t just say “it’s shite” and offer no alternative plan that might make our top league more competitive.

  4. That is a fair point. I would actually suggest Aberdeen & Dundee Utd keep doing what they are doing and if they sell players they reinvest that cash in youth set up & scouting.

    If I really did know the answers then I would be a millionaire.

    I’d also suggest teams do more in terms of involving their communities and that would hopefully see even more people turning up for games.

  5. An interesting article but it seems to me that you are bored of anything successful. It is not the fault of Celtic that the clubs in other parts of the country cannot compete. There are plenty of them with large catchment areas for supporters yet they do very little to entice them into the stadium. I find it amusing that these teams can request 25k+ tickets for cup semi and finals yet only have average gates of 4-5k. If the people who moaned came and watched their teams then the clubs would have more money enabling them to buy better players, invest in better youth facilities and coaches and the product overall would improve. People keep saying that Celtic should be blooding more young players, well it is easy to say that until you are in charge of a club of the size of Celtic. The expectation is to win everything, every year and if you don’t then the faithful will revolt. Is this an atmosphere that allows itself to the development of a young player, probably not and sending them out on loan to get some experience is a good thing, they can take advantage of that competitive football and that should mean they are in a better position to challenge for a 1st team place when they return. The fact that we have seen clubs like Killie, St Mirren, Aberdeen win trophies for the 1st time in years is a good thing for Scotland and it is a good thing for these clubs as well. The league will remain at Celtic for the foreseeable future purely down to the financial clout the club have but that shouldn’t stop other clubs from trying to narrow the gap, trying to win the cups and also trying to get into Europe and actually stay there past August. We are a small country but that doesn’t mean we should accept failure quite so easily. A couple of years ago Cyprus had a club make the last 16 of the Champions League, now I am sure we all think Scottish football is better than Cypriot so if they can do it then so can we. There are a few shoots of recovery for the Scottish game and I really hope that Aberdeen continue to prosper, Dundee Utd continue to improve with young Scottish players and I want to see Hibs and Hearts back competing instead of fighting relegation and eventually Rangers will be back, not like a knight riding to the rescue but coming into a league where there is genuine competition, meaningful matches every week, decent crowds watching the matches and all the clubs living within their means………..Armageddon didn’t happen, so the fear factor has gone, lets see if it can be built on.

  6. It will always be slow but quite a few teams in Scotland are short term thinkers and that hasn’t helped.

  7. Ally I agree with you and tried to make both points in the article.

    In terms of blooding more young players… Look celtic have been quite a few points clear at the top for some time now. The fans always like seeing young scots coming through and will give them time.

    As for being bored of success. No I am not bored of success, I am bored with dominance.

  8. The article is a moan and hopefully within tim things improve but things should have been done years ago. As fans if we don’t keep questioning teams then they will lapse, they have proven that time and again.

  9. I suppose dominance comes from a desire to win and a belief that you are better than other people, that’s how Spain, Barca, Bayern, Man Utd have ruled the roost for so many years, a lot of people cannot cope mentally with that. The only way to break the dominance is to buy it or work harder than they do.

    One thing you have to say for the dominant teams is they run faster, longer, work harder, practice more and have the desire to be the best, they should be applauded for that not criticised.

    The players and fans of the “smaller” clubs in Scotland are just happy to have the money that Celtic and formerly Rangers brought into the game, it helped balance the books but the demise of Rangers has meant they have had to rethink their model, in doing that maybe they can rethink their ideology as well. Aberdeen stand a great chance of doing the double although I would like to see Dundee Utd win the Scottish Cup. Will that transfer into a huge increase in season ticket sales, I really hope it does because if these clubs have a few more pounds then it will make them stronger and in turn make the league stronger.

    The SFA are doing their bit with the introduction of the Performance Schools across the country and that will be into year 3 in the Summer and it is an excellent program with a long term view of development. A young player has peaks and troughs BUT the pro clubs release people after 6 months of poor performance instead of asking what can be done to make the good again, why have the gone downhill. A good way to work would be for pro clubs to buy into the 4 year development program as well, that allows the player to actually develop in an environment where they are not scared to fail, but instead will learn from it and get better.

    Dominance is a result of hard work and planning and while people may find it boring, never underestimate what it took to get there.

  10. I am not being critical of the teams themselves. You are right its not by chance that they dominate and its down to belief and hard work and that should be applauded. But the fact that the others can’t compete or challenge makes it boring to me.

    It can be beautiful and can take a lot of hard work to do but when you take away the element of surprise and shock and things get so one sided it just doesn’t work for me.

    The SFA haven’t promoted the game properly for years and a lot has come too late for a full generation of Scots.

  11. Dominance is borne out of ability, hard work and desire, most clubs that experience it, deserve it.
    It is up to the pretenders to the throne to step forward and challenge. I do believe that a strong challenge next season will come from Aberdeen and Dundee United, I for one will welcome it, as it will be good for the game in general.

    With most clubs experiencing an upswing in attendances this season, the future augers well for the game. As for Armageddon, it existed only in the dark minds of those who do not have the interests of the game at heart.

  12. Yes, winning three in a row matters…

    Now on to the three things that irritate me in the rest of your op/ed:

    #1. If Celtic lost EVEN a few games this year with kids in the side, there would be bodies flying our of windows on the east side of the city. Don’t believe me??? Look at the squad for Morton. Lenny tried kids and they got stuffed.

    #2. Meh…. So, with no cup glory, now you’re bored… You wanted to play the kids… See what I mean? Now, it’s just not good enough.

    #3. Rogic, McGeoch, Watt and McGregor may not just be good enough. If you think so, tell me who you would replace out of the “imports”. You have three to choose from: Johanson (silky playmaker), Biton (bully in the midfield and Griffiths (More goals than Samaras ALREADY). The kids who have done well have been rewarded because of injury and performance.

    So to complain about kids not playing at Celtic is crazy. Which one of the kids that you’ve mentioned do you fell comfortable with in Europe? My answer is “None” and that includes Watt after his escapades in Belgium.

    Yes kids can play for Aberdeen and DunUtd. Why? Because they never expect to be in the UCL. Could you imagine if Lenny had to go into the qualifiers with just his kids this July and August? The same lot that scream about “play the kids” would be screaming about a “lack of ambition from the board”.

    So, am I happy with Celtic? Yes. Do, I long to see the glory of 1967 again? Yes. Will it happen? In my heart I say YES!

    But my brain says win the league and get back to the group stages so we can keep banking that 20,000,000 check from UEFA.


  13. I fell I have to agree with Chris Sutton on blooding young players…do it if they are good enough. Its nice to see young Henderson getting a run in the team as for Forrest its not the SPFL that is hindering his progress its a succession of injuries that prevents him from getting a good run in the team. Overall Celtic will dominate the league but lets see more fans at Pittodrie, Tannadice Easter Road etc to help make our football more competitive.
    Hail Hail

  14. What a lot of mince. Bayern Munich have just won Bundesliga by a bigger margin. German football rubbish with nocompetition?

  15. Dr J – I think when you’re winning by a few every week you can bring on a youngster or two. Possibly even start one or two also if you are 15 points or more clear of your nearest rivals. I never said play all of them or even a bunch of them.

    Was Jock scared to bleed in young Scots players? No.

    If Celtic fans can’t see the bigger picture then that says more about them than me.

    JMac – I did say injuries have hampered Forrest.

    Paul – My opinion is that German competition isn’t as good when Bayern dominate and cherry pick players from their rivals.

  16. Fair article but its’ pretty tough on Celtic to be held responsible for the failure of other clubs to be competitive domestically or particularly in Europe. We have played a full part in trying to get Scottish football back on its feet & promoting its interests globally but continually are painted as the villains of the peace. The root problems in Scottish football continue to be unsustainable business models, negative media coverage, & a lack of ambition. Time for others to share the burden beyond Celtic, and hopefully the progress Aberdeen DUFC & Motherwell continue to make is evidence things are turning.

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