That, today, was not the performance many people expected. Even some of the Celtic fan writers thought that this would be a difficult game, one where we might even look tired after the midweek exertions. There was the suspicion that there might be something of a comedown, and the warning went out that we would have to play like genuine challengers to win.
But we didn’t do any of that. Instead we turned in another high tempo performance which, in the first half, absolutely blew Motherwell out. That was not the display of a team which sought to be taken seriously as challengers; that was a performance from a team of champions, a team destined to win the title. They were absolutely magnificent.
The measure of our dominance can be measured appropriately by what we did at half time; we took off Abada, who was running riot, and Hatate who more and more looks like the complete footballer. That we felt able to withdraw both to rest them for Aberdeen this coming midweek speaks volumes for how potent this squad has become … and our dominance in the first 45 minutes where, as against the Ibrox club, we were magnificent.
The second half was more proof that this is a squad to be genuinely feared; every substitute we brought on would have walked into any other side in the country and that we scored another – through Maeda – and could have had several more is amazing when you consider where this squad seemed to be just a few months ago.
For fans of the Ibrox club who had tuned in hoping – some of them actually expecting – a draw or even a Celtic defeat, they would have been seriously disturbed by what they watched. Neutrals can tell when a side has grown into a title winner; anyone capable of objective analysis looking at this Celtic team would have to draw that conclusion.
We are a long way from having it wrapped up of course, and the timing will depend on what a certain club elsewhere does to keep pace with us … but this has the feel of something which has developed its own momentum, unstoppable momentum.
This is a special, special team we’re watching here.