The Psychology of being a Celtic supporter – So many Celtic supporters I meet are pessimists

The Psychology of being a Celtic supporter – Part 3

It’s not ever day we have a Doctor of Psychology writing for The Celtic Star but it certainly has been the case over the past few days. Today Doctor Pat continues with this fascinating insight he has provided into the Psychology of being a Celtic supporter.

Before we go onto today’s third instalment, we’ve included links to parts 1 & 2 for those who have a bit of catching up to do…

So let’s move onto Part 3 and hand over to the Doc…

As a medical doctor and Psychotherapist and a life-long Celtic supporter I have wondered about many aspects of the psychological processes that shape my obsession that sees me set my alarm and rise at 2 or 4am from my bed in Wellington, New Zealand to watch a live Celtic match in Scotland on my computer on Celtic TV.

As an aside, being a linguistic purist my pet hate is hearing Tom Boyd constantly mispronounce Rogic and Bitton. I find it so casually disrespectful to listen to him not even caring to learn how to be accurate.

Paul Cuddihy the other commentator always gets it right. I do not even consider sacrificing my sleep even for the mighty All Blacks or the Olympics or the World Cup or indeed any other sport or team. I can always watch a replay the next morning.

I am happy to watch darts or ten pin bowling or basketball or netball or even sumo wrestling. I must be getting soft in my golden years because I confess that I sometimes struggle to rise from my kip at that time when we are playing say a Livingston or St Mirren but certainly never have any problem doing so when playing any version of a team based at Ibrox.

I never saw Rangers win 9 in a row. I never saw us finish mid table. I never saw us come that close to bankruptcy. I never saw Fergus McCann. Never saw the construction of the new stadium. I never saw the asterisk years when we were cheated out of titles.

I never saw Lubo play in the flesh nor John Collins or any of that era. I saw the very best years either live as a young man or on TV. I’ve watched us since the Internet was invented and have watched us dominate in Scotland once more in recent years.

I’ve rejoiced in the Triple Treble and dream of 9 and 10 in a row and a possible if improbable Quadruple Treble. I’ve seen us beat Barcelona and Real Madrid. I wrote this  as a lecture last June thinking if we get through 4 qualifying rounds in July and August we will be in Pot 3 of the Group Stages.

Do you believe in destiny?

When I wrote this last year I had just been asked to give a lecture next end of May in Istanbul. That city hosts the CL final. I dreamed of being there watching Celtic winning. I’m a dreamer. I’m also a schemer and have arranged  to present a seminar in Poland when the Europa League final is held at Gdansk.

When you are a Celtic supporter you are entitled to dream.

If you support any other team in Scotland it’s not a dream. It’s a nightmare. This is a great time to be a Celtic supporter. Enjoy it while you can.It’s going to be 10 in a row. And probably 11 and 12 and so on.

This is surely a great time to be a Celtic Supporter. I have noticed something strange however.

Perhaps it’s because I missed out on the worst years of Celtic. I was born and raised as a pessimist like the majority of Scots are but I’m now a self-made optimist but so many Celtic supporters I meet are pessimists.

They have come to expect success and every setback no matter how small can become a harbinger of doom. I have heard Celtic supporters criticise a Celtic player for having a bad season, or a bad game or even for making one bad pass.

Celtic supporters have unreasonably high expectations. We are stunned by a draw or a loss. We tear up our betting slips in disbelief when this happens from time to time . Our rival supporters however see every flicker of success as a sign of probably winning the league. This is desperation. We have the ‘too good to be true’ mentality and they look everywhere for signs that they might string a few victories together.

I believe that 10 in a row will be unlikely to be seen again in my lifetime. By the time I give this talk it may well be 9 in a row. I cannot see how the biased referees that infect Scottish football could ever allow us to experience 10 in a row. Cheating will be rampant next season. It’s not paranoia. It’s bitter experience.

What matters most in football is not individual skill. It’s teamwork. It’s never say die. As Bill Shankly once said “Winning isn’t the only thing. It’s everything.” What turns talent into ability is technique and discipline. To that I would add your psychological toughness. That’s what’s required for self-discipline.

Hail hail.

Dr Pat

Doctor Pat – Wellington, New Zealand – The Psychology of being a Celtic supporter for The Celtic Star.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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