And so we are Scottish Champions for the 53rd time! It is a fine feeling, and how funny it is that our friends and acquaintances who support the other team suddenly become so much more likeable now that they have to shut up when football is mentioned.
No more will be get quite so annoyed at the scowling spoilt-brat face of Morelos, the arrogance of Jack and in particular that salute of Arfield. We can now laugh at all that. Their gas is temporarily at least at a peep, and even if they win on Saturday, we can find it funny. “Oh the poor Unions Bears, they have no silverware, and there’s no Mister Sheen, cos there’s nothing to clean.” And the silence is just so wonderful.
But let us talk about our noble selves. Enough has been said about the League, I think. It will be all very well if we beat records for points and goals, but the main thing is now of course the Scottish Cup final – our 60th. (40 wins, 18 defeats and one abandoned because of a riot is our record so far. A treble is at stake, we should do it – but as I never tire of saying “Remember Feyenoord!”
But now is also the time to look further ahead, and in particular the European Champions League. We are very aware that so many people in England and Europe will be saying that this was JUST the Scottish League and that we simply couldn’t hack it anywhere else.
Well, it may be that some day we will play our football somewhere else – who knows? – but what we can do in the meantime is put up a performance in the Champions League which is commensurate with our wonderful support and atmosphere, and with our glorious but now so distant European greatness of yesteryear. Our supporters deserve more than they have got in Europe in recent years.
Observe that we are not wanting instant triumph. That would perhaps be a little too hopeful! (Although I do recall making a few prophecies in 1966 and being told to “grow up”.) But “commensurate with our support” would put us, I imagine, in the last eight of the Champions League. That does not seem to be too far out of place. That would be respectable.
But of course, there will be many people, not least within our own ranks who use sentences beginning with “But we cannot compete…” or “Do you know how much they pay their players?” or “We are simply not in the same bracket as…?”. We have been told how good we have been this season – the word “ridiculous” was heard yesterday in the context of how we played this season.
What about being a little bit “ridiculous” in Europe as well? It will be the task of Ange and his men to raise the game, and raise it considerably, but I am not going to believe that it can’t be done. He does have the players – talented, enthusiastic, committed and loads of them. Callum McGregor says it is a “privilege” to play for Celtic. That attitude can go far.
There will, of course, be many siren voices telling Ange to try his luck elsewhere, particularly in England. There are and will be opportunities, such is the rate of sackings down there. To Ange I can only say “Brendan Rodgers”, the man who sold his soul for filthy lucre in 2019. Now all right, Brendan will now not die in the workhouse or on the streets, and he did win the FA Cup in 2021, but he was sacked because he was a failure at Leicester when he could have been a continuing success for Celtic.
So will Ange supplement the squad? Will there be a “marquee” signing or two, or will they just be normal players? Can we call them “tents”, incidentally? No-one knows, but there are many, many great players out there who would jump at the chance of donning the green and white!
The future is bright, and it will remain green and white.
🤩 Amazing Scenes at Celtic Park!
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) May 8, 2023
🗣️ “You realise the passion that exists for this club.”
— Celtic TV (@CelticTV) May 8, 2023
King Ange pic.twitter.com/y7XBL63OyD
— Different View (@Mitch777Steven) May 7, 2023