Celtic will learn which players can be relied upon as title showdown at Celtic Park looks likely

There have been plenty of attempts to define what an “unmitigated disaster” is in the past few days, but the Rangers winning the title at Celtic Park before the split seems like a pretty solid definition.

The recent run of results now means that the clash next month could be where the title is won, so it’s understandable that many fans will be fearing the worst.

Even the most optimistic Celtic fan has now accepted that 10IAR is not going to happen, so we’ve been reduced to the point where the only thing that matters is losing in the right manner.

Everything has to be geared towards next season now in terms of morale, momentum and the playing staff, so we should find out who can be trusted over the next few weeks.

The main thing for the fans to look out for will be which players are just going through the motions of pretending to care, and which ones are actually showing the bravery required to pick the team up.

What we need to see is words being backed up by actions, effort and bravery on the pitch – but that bravery has to include actually getting on the ball and trying to make things happen rather than trying to hide behind others.

You have to fear a Jordan Jones style incident where someone takes a stupid red card to show how much they care, but that is the behaviour of a coward and all it does is put the team in an impossible position on the pitch.

The bare minimum that has to happen is a morale boosting last stand with a victory to confirm that they won’t be winning the title at Celtic Park, and it will allow the team to build towards next season.

There will be a belief on the other side of the city that the Rangers winning the title signals a shift in power and a period of dominance to come, but there’s every reason to think that Celtic will bounce back stronger than ever.

The great managers always say that the hardest thing to do is to retain a title – everyone wants to beat you and the players naturally relax and become complacent, so there’s no chance that they obtain this many points next time round.

Steven Gerrard may also recognise that his stock could be hurt if he presents a weak title defence so he could be off too, so Celtic need to ensure that they have their house in order.

We’ll learn over the next few weeks about which players actually care and actually want to show some fight when everything isn’t going well for once, while we need to see the club pushing forward and ensuring a new period of dominance rather than wallowing in the sadness of the current run coming to an end.

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Still trying to figure out exactly why Vidar Riseth hammered the ball across his own goal line that night in Perth....

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