Can it really be just a few months ago that the media was almost united in telling us how bad Scottish football was? Can it really have only been ten weeks ago that we were being told Celtic should be handicapped because our runaway success was “embarrassing”?
You notice how one good run from Sevco dampened it down?
The simple fact is, we’re in a title race again. And it’s Aberdeen who are providing it.
Sevco remains a deadbeat shambles. The Pittodrie club has stayed close on us in spite of a bad spell of results. That’s partly down to our own deficiencies of late but you have to give them credit; they have hung on in there and are pushing us hard.
Nobody is talking about handicapping now.
There’s a realisation that Scottish football is in better shape than these hacks thought.
They can’t come out and simply admit that of course, because if they do then our 69 match run looks mammoth and we might get the full credit for it that we deserve instead of constant barbs about the poor standard of every other team.
What frustrates these people is that it’s not Sevco who are making us work for this. All the nonsense that’s been trotted out by the ex-Rangers players in the media about how Scottish football “needs” their NewCo to be strong has been revealed as utter hogwash.
In the last few weeks the clubs from Edinburgh have taken points from us. Aberdeen are only two points behind us, albeit we have this game in hand. Hibs were playing sublime football earlier in the season and they showed against us and Sevco that they are capable of it. Aberdeen are certainly the most efficient team in Scotland outside Celtic Park. Motherwell were briefly on fire until the triple header against us exhausted them and blew out their lights.
None of these clubs, or their fans, gave more than a passing thought to what happened at Ibrox save for the Dons and that was only because of the managerial fiasco. If Sevco swirled down the tubes not one of these clubs would care. Their fans would keep going to games. They would be doing what they are doing right now; building squads, expanding stadiums and infrastructure, moving forward, just as Celtic are.
Scottish football isn’t in the sunny uplands yet; there are still too many sub-par players at the clubs, but Hearts beat us resoundingly yesterday when they were forced to play with a squad of players augmented from their youth ranks.
They were hungry, they were energised, they showed the strength and desire that the serial failures at that club were unable to muster. This is the future of our game, not clubs signing garbage from the English lower leagues.
Scottish football is growing strong and if clubs invest more faith in their younger players it will continue to.
A challenge to us, a real one, a sustained one, will finally emerge.
In the meantime, the media’s bitter voices have been silenced.
For a while.
At least until it becomes clear that Sevco aren’t going to improve any time soon.