It was an afternoon of bawling, wailing, whimpering and snivelling – and even when Motherwell eventually left the park after their 6-0 thumping at the home of Scotland’s Champions the sobbing continued – as 60,000 in the stands and the worldwide diaspora watching on, impressed by the ‘Well’s willingness to show their emotions on the end of a doing, opened the floodgates of their own as they said adieu with bubblin’ for Bittton and tears for Tam.
🗣 “I’m speechless!”
Nir Bitton ends his Celtic career on a high 💪pic.twitter.com/6MLWUVTg8l
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 14, 2022
This was an afternoon of raw emotion from start to finish, whether it was the outpouring of gratitude for two faithful and medal laden servants to the Celtic cause from the stands, or the inevitable and unavoidable releasing of emotions by the departing players themselves, or indeed the normally stoical front of the manager slipping under the weight of the toughest of jobs being lifted, momentarily at least, yesterday showed the world what it means to be part of Celtic, what a wrench it is to leave it and what a joy it can bring us all.
It’s been the toughest of seasons and the most magnificent too, and when you add to that mix the loss of two longstanding and key stalwarts to the club, the end of proceedings was always going to be as raw as almost every week of the campaign along the way.
Sometimes the end of the season can be a time for regret setting in, as you realise weeks will pass until you can see the Celts in action again and you wonder how you’ll fill those weekends. This time around everyone probably needs time take stock, let it all soak in and recharge mentally and physically – players, staff and support alike.
But yesterday, as era’s ended, a thumping win to send us on our way surely signifies the beginnings of something special.
Bitton and Rogic may well leave a big hole in Celtic’s squad in terms of experience and nous, but many players yesterday graduated with their own experiences of winning silverware for Celtic, and now have a strong foundation built alongside an understanding of the relentlessness and demands that come with playing for Celtic. That’s how Bitton and Rogic started, and that’s the cornerstone many of our players winning the first silverware of their careers have now built.
The foundations at Celtic for a successful team both domestically and in Europe are fully laid, it will now be down to the manager and his plans, no doubt already well under way, to build on top of that. If he does so – and is supported in doing so by you know who – you really do get the impression Celtic are at the start of something special and that this season as incredible as it has been is just the beginning.
This is a squad of players who will now be hungry for more, who wouldn’t be after experiencing what they did yesterday? And this is a group also some way off their peak. There are layers that can be added to Scotland’s champions, to support them and add to their undoubted strengths, and if we get that right there is no limit to what this club can achieve.
There were tears for souvenirs across the Celtic supporting world as we all said goodbye to two key players from Celtic’s incredible recent history, but there were also tears of joy for what the new generation has started and the trials and tribulations they navigated in doing so. For some yesterday was all about goodbyes, for those stepping into the breech they have barely said hello, and that’s an exciting prospect to consider as we count down the days to Celtic’s return.
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