What this Celtic team have achieved so far this season has been miraculous. It’s easy to forget the sense of despondency that enveloped Celtic Park at the beginning of the campaign, when not only had the team just lost the league by 25 points, but stalwarts of the club had departed; from long term CEO Peter Lawwell to club captain Scott Brown, and £33m worth of further talent.
Little did we know that the last minute appointment of an unknown Greek-Australian manager, after Eddie Howe turned us down, would change everything.
That said, it was a bumpy start. We had no recognised first choice goalkeeper, only one right back who had never been near the first team, and few options at the heart of defence. Unsurprisingly, points were dropped at Tynecastle and Celtic failed to qualify for the Champions League. However, Ange Postecoglu brought in 12 of his own players, with a net spend of -£10m and things dramatically changed.
It took a matter of weeks for the boss to implement his radically new style of play, a style that has subsequently been labelled ‘Angeball’. At the same time Celtic knocked AZ Alkmaar out of Europa League qualification and got the highest points of any club in Scotland in the group stages – nine against Real Betis, Bayer Leverkusen and Ferencvaros.
Fast forward to the winter and this Celtic team in transition won their first piece of silverware in the form of the League Cup. The fact they came from behind, within 45 seconds, to earn the win only added to the mystique of this rebuilding story.
A dogged team endured horrific injury problems to stay in the SPFL hunt and then came of age with a massacre of theRangers in the Glasgow Derby in February, before cementing top spot with a vital victory at Ibrox. These were defining moments, which put a Celtic side who were rank outsiders for the title, on the brink of being League champions.
On Sunday, this miraculous team can earn their crowning glory with another huge win at Paradise. It would be a fitting special moment for a group of players that have defied the odds all season. To knock the Invincibles off their perch when we were in disarray just a few months ago would be incredible, particularly as theRangers have shown that they’re no mugs by reaching the Europa League semi final this year.