To fans who follow teams who rarely, if ever, win major trophies – like the fans at Ibrox, maybe – the idea that some title wins are sweeter than others must seem like a strange, almost arrogant concept. Their clubs would kill for the successes that our fans take for granted. But the reality of it is that we do know what we’re talking about.
Some titles are just … better. This is going to be one of them.
I would go so far as to say that this will be the sweetest title since we stopped Rangers from doing ten in a row back in 1997. Every win since has been great, and the O’Neill victories in particular were brilliant and Rodger’s invincible title was special.
But all of them will seem pale next to this one, and there are so many, many reasons why.
Let’s start with the first one; I don’t think I’ve never more wanted to see a manager win a title than I want to see Ange win this one. He is just such a genuine, good man. He is thoroughly decent in a sport that is filled to the rafters with egos run amuck.
But there are other reasons of course.
There is how we’ve done it from the worst possible start, and with the hacks confident that we wouldn’t even finish in the top two. Keevins predicted a third placed finish right from the off, before a ball had even been kicked.
He may be wriggling like a worm on the line now and trying to say that he based it on data (there were no games so there was no data) but he said it and he revised it only when he later said we might even finish fourth.
The criticism was so over the top and extreme, not only of Ange but of the whole club, that a lesser man than our manager would rub their faces in it when he gets over the line. He won’t. He has too much class.
But a lot of them should be eating their words.
So too should Dodgy Dave King, who gleefully suggested that his “house of cards” prediction had come true.
Ha! What a fool that man is. His prediction was ludicrous in the first place, because we are just too well run for that to have happened … but he believed it and a lot of the hacks believed it.
We are financially secure.
Our issues were about leadership, not about the fundamentals.
We are miles ahead in all the areas that matter.
That said, I know a lot of our own fans were seriously worried that we might collapse, or that we may find ourselves playing catch-up as they ran away with this title and probably a couple more to come. With Champions League money they might have been in a position to try that … but our own fundamentals would have remained strong anyway.
Now they all the problems they had before even as we grow stronger still, and that’s another reason that this title win is going to be so sweet, because it will have a momentous impact not only on this club but on the one across the city as well.
It will also be sweet because of the manner in which it has been done, the kind of football we’ve played, the signings we’ve brought in, the excitement at every level in the club about what we might do next, and with Champions League cash to boot.
The importance of having a calm summer where there are no qualifiers to play cannot be overstated either.
This team has players in it who will immeasurably benefit from a summer like that, and when you consider how ready they will be for the start of our title defence that should send tremors of fear down the spines of all those who will face us.
I am so looking forward to the weekend. I look forward to every weekend at the moment. But this one is going to be great because it will take us right to the brink.
The one I’m really looking forward to though is the one to follow it, Hearts at home, the day when we should formally wrap the title up. It cannot come quickly enough for me.
This has been a great season … it deserves a great ending.
It will be the sweetest in decades because we’ve fought and clawed and earned it. Because we’ve been brilliant for much of it. Because the manager has endured and come through the flames.
Hoisting that trophy above his head will be the crowning moment of his career.
But I think the best is yet to come from this guy and this team … and so I expect that even sweeter victories are going to follow this.