Maxwell reveals June football highly unlikely, so season is done. Now it’s a fight for 9IAR

CELTIC manager Neil Lennon was delighted with the 96th minute goal against Dundee at Dens Park a year ago today.  Odsonne Edouard late goal gave Celtic the win and opened up a TEN point gap at the top of the Premiership over nearest challengers the Rangers.

“It’s significant. We are not taking anything for granted but it’s significant,” Lenny said to Celtic TV afterwards.

“Psychologically it’s HUGE. Is there a bit less pressure going into the Rangers game? Yes. I think so. It means we don’t have to win it.

“Ideally we would love to win it and get over the line as quickly as possible. But all the onus is on the other teams around us.

“The gap between first and second now is bigger than second and third – and that’s significant for us.”

The manager was speaking to the club’s own TV channel after the match and that looked like it was heading from a frustrating stalemate until Scott Brown nicked possession back and set James Forrest away to set up Edouard to score a glorious winner.

Lenny reflected on his striker’s eventful afternoon in his post-match interview.

“He didn’t play great, but he gets the important goal,” the manager said.

“Now that’s the responsibility he has to take on board. He’s a young player, he’s come with a huge transfer fee and he’s paid another huge chunk of that off today.

“Being Celtic’s main striker is a big responsibility and he’s learning as he goes along and he’s scored important goals already this season and he’s done it again today. It’s brilliant.”

Lenny celebrated like a REAL Celtic supporter would and he loved every single second of his run down the touchline to share his elation with the away support. What was he feeling?

“Relief, emotion, happiness. There was pressure going into the game, there always is with Celtic.

“I’m not overly happy with the way we play at times and we changed our back three which I thought would have been better.

“We got a little bit desperate at times, throwing the ball in which is not like us.

“And in the end it took a real turn of pace to the attack to get the goal and they should learn from that now and hopefully that will register with them going forward.”

Celtic went on to win the game against the Rangers at Celtic Park by 2-1 with goals for Odsonne Edouard and  a late sickening James Forrest winner (as far as Steven Gerrard and his ill-discipled players were concerned).

So on St Patrick’s Day in 2019 Celtic were 10 points clear and went on to win the league by 9 points, a lead that was reduced through losing a dead rubber match at Ibrox after the title had been secured.

One year on Celtic are 13 points clear on St Patrick’s Day and are well on our way to winning the league for a 9th successive time. On the park the Rangers towel was well and truly thrown in, off it though these unscruplous opportunists are now pinning their hopes on a global pandemic to try to deny Celtic the title.

Today UEFA indicated that June would be used as the month when the 2019/20 season must  be completed. Celtic have 8 games to play, as have all the other sides in the league, except St Johnstone and the Rangers who each have 9.

Ian Maxwell, the CEO of the Scottish FA was interviewed on the BBC Sportsound programme on the radio this evening. Maxwell confirmed that the Scottish Cup semis and Final are postponed and will not happen until next season, but will happen. And he also indicated that Scotland’s Euro Qualifier against Israel is also highly unlikely to happen in June.

Maxwell also hinted as strongly as it is possible to do so without actually being 100% – let’s say he was 99.99% certain that these Premiership games would NOT take place in June.  And as UEFA have a deadline of 30 June to complete this season this means that  this campaign is effectively over. Maxwell talked about the medical advice that was being given to the Government regarding the coronavirus peaking at the very time that UEFA reckon games will be staged in order to finish the season. There is next to no chance that it will be safe to play in or attend games in June in Scotland.

And he also pointed out that when the players are able to gather together to resume training they will need 3 or 4 weeks to get themselves ready to play. Maxwell talked about August or even September for football returning.

The elephant in the room of course was what would happen to this season?

Would Celtic be Champions and Hearts relegated? Or would the title be declared Null and Void?

Could there be an amendment to the league for next season to allow 14 teams to play in the Premiership ie promoting Dundee Utd and Hearts – an option that The Celtic Star has been promoting and that Ann Budge at Hearts also  now favours. This is also in line with the proposals that the English premier League sides are looking at.

On the last reconstruction of the Scottish game it was mentioned that the arguing was only set aside when Celtic CEO Peter Lawwell gave up £1million per season from the Champions’ prize money to allow this money to be distributed among the over clubs.

The other evening The Celtic Star had an article on our reconstruction ideas and also warned against the Null and Void chancers. We mentioned the Sports QC Nick de Marco in the article and were rather pleased that he  quickly posted a link to our article and mentioned it on his social media accounts.

Now plenty of famous people read The Celtic Star but we were chuffed at the thought of the leading Sports Lawyer in the country – The QC that Celtic hired a year ago to take on the SFA after their ludicrous charges against Scott Brown in that 2-1 win over the Rangers at the end of March 2019 – was reading our views on this highly contentious subject. It was only after listening to Ian Maxwell this evening that we realised that perhaps it was no coincidence or compliment that Nick de Marco was reading The Celtic Star the other evening.

When you stop and think about it, he’s probably got better things to do with his leisure time and he is as far as footballing loyalties go a QPR supporter. So why was he reading The Celtic Star talking about Null and Void chancers and reconstruction? The answer didn’t dawn on us until this evening. Nick de Marco QC was reading The Celtic Star for a reason, HE WAS WORKING.

Ian Maxwell wouldn’t commit on the decisions that Neil Doncaster and the SPFL Board – which of course includes the Rangers MD Stewart Robertson who released an aggressive statement last night outlining their position. Robertson of course will have to excuse himself – if he has any honour – from any vote. But the situation this evening is clearer than at any stage since play was suspended.

This season is over bar the arguing over Celtic being awarded the title and Hearts being relegated.

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About Author

Born just as Celtic were stopping the Ten, Lubo98 follows Celtic home and away and helps run his local Celtic Supporters Club. He goes to all the games and is a Law Graduate. Has a particular fondness for Tom Rogic among the current Celts and both Lubo and Henrik form his earliest Celtic memories.

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