So the season kicks off at Tynecastle, a place where we always get a rough and tumble match. If anything screams “fix” it’s this, especially as it looks as if our first home game will be against Aberdeen, what with the St Johnstone match probably being postponed.
Luckily there’s an easy home tie right after the Aberdeen one, followed by an away trip at Inverness.
The fact is, the brains at the SPFL have decided to delay our title celebrations for as long as they can, and the hope clearly is that we will begin those celebrations under a cloud.
To say I’m unsurprised is to put it mildly. I had a feeling the “fixture computer” would throw up garbage like this, and it has duly obliged. To think this is random is an insult to our collective intelligence. At the end of the day, someone has to program this thing and instruct it on certain stuff, and you know that someone has because we’ve been paired with Sevco at New Year.
You can see exactly where they are going with this. Deny Celtic early momentum. Keep Rodgers on his toes from the beginning. So you start away to Hearts, then sandwich other games between internationals (where we’re over-represented compared to other sides) and Champions League qualifiers, and hope it negates home advantage.
If we drop points in some of those matches we could be behind heading into the second quarter of the season with away games at Pittodrie and Ibrox.
There’s nothing “random” about this selection. Nothing at all. It all fits together a little too perfectly, a little too well, for it to be simple chance.
You know what though? Good.
If this is the best they can do, if this is all they’ve got, then they’ve got nothing at all. Within the space of the first month we have a chance to deal a heavy blow to the title pretensions of all of our “rivals” and that’s nothing to mourn. If we do hit the ground running they’ll all be eating dust before the season’s properly began.
Bring it on, I say. Bring it on.
It’s not being able to unfurl the league flag, at home, on the opening day that will grate with many fans and it should. It’s been an unwritten tradition in the league for decades and although it’s not always adhered to, it should be. The champions should have the honour of opening their campaign in front of their own supporters; it’s as simple as that.
This is simply ridiculous. It’s an insult to our club.
No wonder a lot of the Celtic fans are furious about it on social media, and it’s impossible not to notice how badly the whole thing stinks. I didn’t know the computer understood the difference between hot and cold balls.
Even so, as I said, this presents us with a delicious opportunity to stamp our authority on all the pretenders out there. It tremendously simplifies things for us going into the opening quarter of the campaign; hit the ground running, start with a run of victories and everyone else is playing catch-up right out of the starting gate. An away win at Hearts means we go home games against Aberdeen and Sevco knowing we can hamper them all in quick succession.
This fixture list was intended to give us a tough start. We can make it the complete opposite; we can make it a perfect beginning.
Onward to six in a row.