On the field on 2 February, we swatting Ibrox aside as if they were nothing more than a minor irritant.
The performance was superb.
There were those who watched it, amongst the commentariat, who thought that there was a clear gulf in quality between the two teams. A closer look reveals a gulf in quality between the squads.
Yesterday’s financial returns, and the whopping £27 million profit in them, is the proof that the real gulf lies where it always has, off the pitch. Our club is immeasurably stronger than the one at Ibrox, and this isn’t just down to a bigger stadium, which on its own gives us a financial advantage of £6 million in a bad year.
On top of that, we’ve got a commercial operation which runs like a Swiss Watch, and where we work with several top firms.
Remember when Ibrox advertised its business when it was looking for a kit deal a few years back?
Do you think we ever have to do that?
The top firms line up to throw money at us.
It’s inconsequential next to the standards of what the top European clubs earn, but that’s a mere consequence of being based in Scotland. The truth is, these numbers dwarf anything another Scottish club can make and it makes us look like one of the super clubs by comparison.
In a two horse race that matters.
The cash we have on hand is enormous, and it’s hugely impressive that we’ve rebuilt the surplus a year after the whole game was struck by the virus. God alone knows what shady financial arrangements Ibrox made to survive it, but everything we did is up front and available for scrutiny, and it was all above board.
Think for a moment of where we were twelve months ago, and think on how big a transformation in our fortunes has taken place since then.
Coming out of the global health crisis, we had an immense first team squad rebuild to do.
The press didn’t see where the money was coming from, and neither did anyone at Ibrox.
Their fans were gleeful about the prospect of us trying to do it on the cheap.
But I had written a couple of articles suggesting that the transfer kitty could have been as high as £40 million if we got the fees we wanted for the players who would be departing.
In the end, I was way off; we were able to do the rebuild for just over half that.
The other half is visible on the balance sheet, and although that figure will shrink in the second half of the season, as always happens with these things, we will probably come in at a profit when the season ends.
That’s a magnificent achievement for a club which has spent in excess of £20 million on players, and especially one in Scotland.
Part of it is that we posted almost as much income in these interims as we did in the whole of the last campaign, the one ravaged by the bug. Our finances last season could have been a car-crash. It is to this club’s immense credit that they were not.
But this year’s, they are going to be a triumph.
Bear in mind, the media is going to try to tell us that this is all due to our “playing trading” but even without selling players, we are making an interim profit of £7 million, and that is astonishing when you consider that the effects of the health crisis were still being felt during the early stages of this campaign, and haven’t entirely left us yet.
We are still experiencing a mini-downturn; for all that, the cash registers continue to ring and the money has continued rolling in.
We are in the strongest position we’ve been in for a long, long time and I never expected to be writing that in February last year, when this entire club was in the doldrums.
The remarkable thing is that the worst months of crisis were still in front of us.
That makes the turnaround all the more amazing.
Back when Dave King made his notorious “house of cards” prediction, some scoffed whilst others blanched; what if he was right?
I know that, speaking personally, I thought it was the ravings of a lunatic, because he apparently said it and believed it and I could not comprehend how he could really think such a thing.
Last season’s collapse did, for some, appear to confirm his view.
But all he had done was grossly underestimate the strength of this institution.
Celtic is a bigger club than the shoddy operation he and his board cobbled together over there; that’s just the simple truth of it. Our fundamentals are secure, and I cannot talk enough about how important that is, and how much it sets us apart from them.
When Rangers went to the grave we became the last remaining superpower in the Scottish game, and in point of fact I would argue that as their club was built on such shaky foundations we have been the only superpower in the game for a lot longer than just the last ten years.
Either way, the current club at Ibrox remains a pale shadow of us.
It is galling that their club managed to stop the ten in a row, but we are closing in on an even bigger prize, and I’ll get to that at a later date.
For now, we should enjoy where we are and what this moment represents; the proof of King’s ultimate folly, the proof of the strength of Celtic.