To understand where we are right now, you only have to look at the hysteria on the social media accounts of our rivals. They are touchy right now, about everything.
You cannot mention their finances without them freaking out.
You cannot mention our signings without them coming on to sneer.
You cannot remind them that we’re ten years from Administration Day without them banging on about “55” and the alleged “150th Anniversary.”
Yeah, they are unhappy with their lot in life. They are trying to pretend excitement and optimism, but they know too much uncertainty surrounds their club. You can see what we’re trying to build at Celtic.
It is less clear what is being put together over there.
We all know that their fans are an angry bunch, but I’ve seen them come ever more unspooled as this season has gone on. They expected to be well clear of us right now.
They certainly didn’t expect us to have taken the first trophy of the season.
Most importantly, they thought Ange was going to be a disastrous appointment and instead have found him ambitious, ruthless, driven and smart. He is also media savvy; they are not used to seeing a Celtic manager with the hacks running scared.
It’s been a long time since I saw my fellow Celtic fans this optimistic.
It is a long time since I saw the lot across the city so unsettled.
They are the ones sitting on a six-point lead, but you can tell that they are worried that it isn’t enough, especially with a trip to Celtic Park on the way and no assurances about what kind of team they’ll have for it.
They understand that the second half of this season is going to be a battle, and their current boss has not been tested in a real scrap yet, and that plays on their minds.
They know a bunch of their players are leaving in the summer, and that bothers them. They know interest in those still at the club will be all over the papers this month … and that it will unsettle people.
And it scares them. And so they are snappy and aggressive and angry.
I know this first hand. There are a handful of them who stalk this blog, reading every word, and desperately trying to comment on every piece. Not one of their comments every gets through; they have restored to all sorts of pitiful behaviours to do it too; some of them come back over and over again with different email addresses.
It’s not that they have nothing better to do, although they clearly don’t; it’s that we are in their heads right now in a big, big way.
And what’s in our heads? The simple pleasure of watching our team.
We have three new signings to look forward to when we start against Hibs, and they are exciting players who we’ve been waiting to see for much longer than just the last week or so.
I cannot wait for that game, and it is especially exciting because it looks as though we will be playing it in front of a full house. That’s another thing you daren’t mention for fear of driving them nuts, which is why I take such pleasure in doing so now.
There is something in the air as we head towards the next round of games.
The Celtic fans are buzzing. The confidence is flowing through us.
All of Scottish football can sense it, but our rivals most of all. And it has them eating the stuffing out of the padded walls.