It feels weird to be talking about dates when we might clinch the title, being that this is still January, but with the biggest lead any side has had coming out of the Festive Period it’s not so crazy to be giving some thought to it.
On top of that, the SPL’s decision, today, to publish the date on which we contest the second home game with Sevco opens up an intriguing possibility; that we might clinch the title against them at Celtic Park. It’s a long shot, but it’s not impossible, not by any means.
These sort of occasions only rarely come together, but they do happen, even when the possibility seems remote at best. Being honest, I would have bet everything I had against the dominos falling just so back in 2012, when we went to Ibrox – with Rangers staring death in the face – and only had to win to secure the SPL crown.
Yet there we were, even if we were never going to be allowed to win. Two diabolical refereeing decisions had us down to nine men when we were already a goal down. We had only ourselves to blame for losing to Aluko’s tenth minute strike, but the red cards were a scandal, especially the one handed to Wanyama, and to make matters worse Neil Lennon was also sent to the stand at half time. It was a miserable day in spite of our late rally.
VideoCelts and CQN have already written on the permutations it would take for this to come off; in fact, it’s not a stretch by any manner of means. If you accept that Aberdeen will drop points – they will – and we win our game in hand and go 22 points clear then it’s game on because Sevco would only have to drop six points – and provided we won all of our seven league games – to be coming to Celtic Park knowing the consequences of defeat.
Now, I must admit, a Sevco league decider has its merits but I don’t feel the heady sense of excitement I once would have at this prospect had we been playing Rangers. Those days are gone, and I’ve accepted that – gladly, with a cherry on top – and I’d be willing to settle for stripping Sevco of their pretensions and their pride as the Next Best Thing, but to be honest I don’t really care when Celtic wins the league this season, or against who.
First, I want as many of the guys who’ve spent their money on season tickets to enjoy it as can do so, which means that it would be better won at Celtic Park. Sevco are the first visitors there in the March – April timeframe when this will be decided. Following that game we’re away twice – at Dundee and Hearts, neither of which would be ideal – before returning home on 4 April for the game against Partick Thistle.
It seems unlikely that the title would be won that day; if it’s not against Sevco then the chances are that it’ll be in Dundee or Edinburgh, which would be a little limited in terms of the maximum number of supporters who could be there to enjoy the occasion.
Second, throughout all of this, one eye will ever be fixed on the Scottish Cup and what happens there.
We have the Fourth Round tie to play in 10 days. The Fifth Round will be played in early February, around the 11th. The Quarter Final is pencilled in for 4 March. If we get to the semis we should go into those games with the league flag already flying at Celtic Park, as they don’t take place until 22-23 April. That will be a huge weekend, as far as the treble goes.
With the heavy weight of that lying on us, does it really matter whether we win the league at Celtic Park against the Sevco upstarts?
Of course not, but if you were planning a perfect season before it kicked off no-one would have complained had you written that into the script.
Let the fates decide what they will. If we miss that particular square on the board, no problem at all.
We’ll win the title when the moment comes.
But if we land on it … man, oh man … get ready for a title party to raise the roof.
(In the metaphorical sense, rather than the literal one if you know what I’m getting at.)