Championees – Opposition Tears in Celtic’s Champagne and it’s Absolutely Delicious

Settling into the Monday routine today was a strange experience. It’s not often the working week stretching out in front of you also comes with an undercurrent of childlike Christmas morning excitement.

To say the early part of the day wasn’t quite as productive as usual would be an understatement. To say I’ve been any more productive since would be a bare faced lie.

Most of the morning was spent checking in on the Celtic website and constantly refreshing the page. Having already gone through the anti-climactic Friday afternoon and having the bubbly on ice, only to be denied by whatever administrative issue delayed the decision. I’d decided I wasn’t going to be sucked in this time but I failed spectacularly. It ended up being the very same routine as Friday afternoon but this time with a very happy ending.

I had a little trepidation as to how I would actually feel when the news broke, would it feel diluted in some way? But when it flashed up as confirmed that Celtic had won 9-in-a-row there was a feeling of elation immediately followed by relief.

Make no mistake this was the historic league title we all wanted. The first team to win nine consecutive titles twice and the first time it’s been done in my lifetime. It was done with a style of play that is befitting of the historical importance, and it’s been done due to the relentless nature of this group of Celtic players.

From the 7-0 opening day win over St Johnstone that set down the marker to the way the team responded from the 29th December Glasgow Derby defeat – going through the post break fixture list only dropping two points – was simply incredible.

This team makes a habit of winning and the 13 point lead at the top of the Premiership table was only ever going to be extended had football not stopped on 13 March. Had we had to play this league title out on the field of play I had no doubts as to where the trophy would reside. When that destination was going to be decided by the rest of Scottish football’s input I had far more concerns.

Somehow our rivals seemed emboldened by the stopping of football. A support and manager who had all but relinquished the league title – and given up on all silverware when knocked out the Scottish Cup by Hearts – had suddenly become a credible challenge to Celtic despite meekly surrendering on all known form since their celebrations at Celtic Park in December.

In reality the only real challenge to Celtic was to come from a concerted media bombardment. Initially to complete the football season, then when hope faded, to push for a null and void season, before finally lashing out with asterisk league titles and the little matter of Scot Gardiner creeping up the backstairs and trying it appeared to engineer an alternative conclusion on behalf of..well we all know that story now.

And the folks at Club 1872 have hardly been magnanimous in defeat today, yet their response, below is strangely delicious. Oh and Celtic already won 9IAR in 1974.

In amongst it all the SPFL board managed to engineer an EGM and the threat of legal action simply by making a hash of a virtual show of hands. I felt far less nervousness when the outcome lay at the feet of the Celtic team than I did when it was played out on the front and back pages of the newspapers and SPFL Zoom calls from the chairmen of the 42 clubs.

Yet here we are. The Champagne can be opened and a historic second 9-in-a-row can be celebrated by all of us. A massive achievement, delivered in a way none of us would have expected only nine weeks ago. The players can’t be with each other and the fans won’t be able to fill the pubs or celebrate such a momentous league win inside Celtic Park. But given where the world stands at present it’s really a small price to pay.

A few short months ago there was debate over the manager and Neil Lennon came through it all. At Christmas time our south-side rivals were rather prematurely reporting our demise. Yet here we are.

Celtic have won 9-in-row and I’m sure I’ll taste a few tears of the opposition in the champagne tonight. And just a wee heads up to my boss ahead my return to work on Tuesday. Don’t expect me to be any more productive tomorrow than I was today. There are nine good reasons for that.

Niall J

About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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