Our Title “Challengers” Are A Mix Of The Gutless And The Clueless

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On Friday, something ugly reared its head yet again; this criticism about Celtic being “too good” and how badly that reflects on the game here.

Instead of blaming us, people better look at our so-called title “rivals”, because the “fault” lies there.

For the last two years I’ve been fairly constant in two beliefs, in relation to where the title challenge, when it comes, will originate.

First, I’ve said that it will come from the north of Scotland, from Aberdeen, specifically.

But I’ve also been clear that I do not think it will come whilst Derek McInnes is the manager. This is a guy who’s dodged scrutiny for years now, and there’s no sign whatsoever that he’s going to get any now, except maybe from Aberdeen fans.

There are two clear reasons why Celtic are so far ahead of the rest in the SPL right now.

The first is that we are quite simply brilliant.

Coming back from 2-0 down at halftime today, we were simply magnificent in the second half. Everything you want to see from a top team was there in abundance today, and we powered through a packed Motherwell defence to score four times. We deserved the win and all the credit that goes with it.

The second reason is this; our “rivals” are a collective mess.

Aberdeen are a joke. From all accounts they played exactly the same way against Sevco as they did at Pittodrie; sitting back, allowing the Ibrox club the freedom of the pitch. I wrote on Friday about how scandalous I thought McInnes comments in the media were; this was a guy who set himself, and his team, up to fail.

As long as he is the manager at that club they’re going nowhere.

Hearts blew a lead today, and then missed a late penalty. Their own momentum has been dented as a result. They have shown a frailty this season that the new manager is going to have to sort out and fast. They still look short of real quality, but they deserve enormous credit for the way they have handled their club strategy; they’ve built slowly, and clean.

Their new manager faces a difficult task, but not an impossible one.

Their own rivals, for second, are there for the taking.

You have to hope that something changes at Tynecastle or Pittodrie, otherwise we’re going to win the title by a country mile before the turn of the year. It’s time to stop giving these teams credit for being “plucky contenders.” They aren’t contenders. There’s no “title challenge” to speak of, and there’s not even really a battle for second place. There’s a mud fight. There’s a scramble. Whichever team claws its way across the line wins.

It’s depressing, because our team would benefit from a challenge, and in the long term we need one. It won’t come from Glasgow; I am not stirring when I say that. I’m stating a fact. So it has to emerge from somewhere else. Aberdeen have the stature and infrastructure for it but are held back by a manager who, frankly, is a posing fraud and a coward. Hearts are building a club right now, but they’re doing it in a fashion that suggests they can sustain themselves. One of those two sides will get it together, eventually.

But today they are just all over the place.

The race for second might be exciting the imagination of the hacks, but it’s a scrap to see which club is the best of a bad lot, because everyone below us tonight looks shambolic.

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