I’m 41 this year.
Just saying that makes me want to drink a bottle of Jack Daniels.
Looking back down the time-tunnel at years gone by, I see periods of light and dark. I remember walking out of grounds in disgust, days when I dreaded going to work, when the idea of looking at a newspaper was just sickening, more than I could bear.
You know about those days, all of you.
Everyone has stories like that, and of unbearable people who made the Dark Days even darker.
Do yourself a favour, later on tonight, when you get a minute from the partying and the drinking and the revelry. Take sixty seconds. Spare the Dark Days a thought, and all those who made them harder than they had to be. Wherever they are. Whatever they are doing. And then have a right good laugh, because our Dark Days were nothing on where they are right now, and what they’ll go through in the next few years.
People are going to say we shouldn’t concern ourselves with that.
Today belongs to us.
And they are right.
Nothing will take it away from us.
But I think remembering the Dark Days are what makes you appreciate these all the more. Because it wasn’t always like this; the next generation might grow up never knowing what Dark Days are. I hope that’s the case … but then they’ll never know how glorious it is to leave them, to emerge from them in the sunny uplands, with your face turned up to the sky.
We deserve a day like today.
A day when we stand here on the brink of an historic accomplishment which might never be repeated.
Our club never cheated.
It played by the rules.
It built year on year, consolidating, developing its infrastructure, so that when the right man came along he could make it run as smoothly as any well oiled machine. All the years we were accused of the biscuit tin mentality, as others were running up unsustainable debts … the media sneering at our signings; £600,000 for Larsson … £300,000 for Lubo … remember those? If we’re now so far ahead of everyone else they can barely see us in the road, well it’s because we suffered and bled and sweated and worked for this day.
And the football we’ve played to get here … well, this is a club which prided itself on playing the game the right way.
In recent years we didn’t, and that, as much as anything, is why Ronny didn’t make it here. Under Brendan the old ways are restored and Big Jock’s mantra about “pure beautiful attacking football” has become the watch-word of this team.
Is this the greatest Celtic side since his?
I don’t know but they are playing the best football I’ve ever seen from a Celtic team. I think this is certainly the finest I’ve seen in my life.
Going unbeaten in the league, that’s a once in a generation achievement. Going unbeaten in a domestic campaign … that’s something we’ll never again see in our lives, that’s a millennial moon-shot. None of us expected to be going for the treble with that goal in mind.
So enjoy it friends.
Savour every second of it.
More important, cherish the people you spend it with, this great big Family of ours, because there’ll never be a day quite like it again. Take time every hour or so to look around and think of what Celtic has meant to your life, about how it’s brought us all together, and appreciate it.
Time goes by very fast these days. It slips through your fingers like grains of sand.
So whilst we’re here, in this moment, let’s wring every drop of pleasure from it.
There are more adventures to come from this team, of course, but today will stand out, no matter what we do from here.
Because this is a day we will tell future generations about.
We’re living in history.
We’re watching it unfold.
We’re playing a part in it just by being here, and by commenting on it, and by providing the impetus for it.
This is a special day, but we are special fans and this is the world’s most special club.
I cannot wait for the kick-off.