With eleven games still to go in the premiership, Celtic currently sit six points ahead of their nearest rivals, in part due to the teams 2-1 win in the recent game at Ibrox followed up by an emphatic 7-0 demolition of St Johnstone.
Ange Postocouglou’s team have turned the tables and are leading the pack for the teams 52nd Scottish league championship.
But are Celtic really back?
Having not lost in the league since February, Celtic are on their best run of the season.
Following the Scottish cup semi final defeat, there is more determination than ever at Parkhead about getting over the line.
Ange has worked miracles since he came in, and the speed of the rebuild has been astonishing.
No wonder most fans are confident.
One thing that Celtic fans will be loving at the moment is the excellent transfer work of Postocouglou. The summer transfer window is looking like an incredibly successful for the team. 20 year old Liel Abada has probably been Celtic’s best player this season, possibly with Jota who is certainly a fan favourite. What should also be a fan favourite is the exciting betters offers at the official website of Novibet.
Still that confidence is not for nothing.
This team has been built the right way.
A lot of clubs might have been tempted to take short-cuts and sign over the hill has-beens who’s claim to fame was having played in the Premiership down south; they would have prioritised short term success over the long term.
But if you look at the rebuild which Celtic has done this season, you can see that they are looking to the future.
Some fans may worry that the teams leader in minutes is 34 year old Joe Hart, the oldest member of the squad; he’s also of course the guy who is most likely to play every match as the man between the sticks rarely changes.
But looking down the list, Hart is the only player in his 30s to be in the top 11 for minutes for Celtic this season.
Of the 30 Celtic players to make an appearance this season, only Hart and James McCarthy are over 30.
Celtic have prioritised youth.
Cameron Carter-Vickers, Liel Abada and Jota have all been key for Celtic this season, and they are all also under the age of 25. On top of that, David Turnbull, Anthony Ralston and Reo Hatate help to make up an excellent young core that looks like it is taking Celtic to another title.
This is absolutely all down to the excellent transfer business which has been done by Ange Postocouglou.
The summer transfer window was incredibly successful for the team.
20 year old Liel Abada has probably, consistently, been Celtic’s best player this season,
Abada has hit the ground running in Scotland and it seems as though Celtic could easily make a large profit on him some day in the future. Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter Vickers were both brought in over the summer and have formed a sturdy partnership at the back which has Celtic as the best defence in the league.
Pretty much everywhere you look there is talent in the Celtic squad.
With a great bunch of young players, Celtic certainly look as if they are assembling a team capable of dominating Scottish football again, and probably for a long time to come.
But it is important for the club to continue to build on these foundations.
Celtic fans know that for the team to be “back” it’s not enough just to win one league title.
Missing out on 10 in a row last season hurt, and although there were mitigating circumstances it dented the confidence of the support that the club is built to take on all-comers. Some of the doubts would be erased if the title does in fact come home this season … but the club has to continue to prioritise success at home … and match it with success abroad.
Celtic have returned to being top of the table, and now our rivals are the ones who are hurting.
But this Celtic team should be aiming for more than just one title, and the exciting thing is that Ange is clearly looking beyond the here and now. When he talks about how this team won’t even be close to meeting his standards until the next campaign, you can see that he’s got big plans and won’t rest on his laurels. It’s an exciting time.
The one fly in the ointment is that we didn’t do better in Europe; the exit at the hands of Bodo/Glimt was massively disappointing. The Conference League gave Celtic an opportunity to really step up our game and we didn’t perform well enough.
Aside from retaining the title, that’s where the real progress needs to be be mext season. Celtic fans may not kid themselves on about the Champions League (or the Europa League unlike some others) but losing in the first round of the Europa Conference League play-offs is not what fans have in mind.
There also still needs to be work done this summer, with Carter Vickers and Jota both set – at the moment – to return to their clubs at the end of this season. Celtic is believed to still want both; most fans agree that one out of two will represent good business, and surprisingly most think it should be the big defender.
Regardless, that still leaves a little work to be done in the summer … but by God, the club looks in a good place.
Yes, Celtic are back … the relative youth of this team means that it will only get better, and if we win this title and bag the Champions League cash, the manager will have everything he needs to improve it further.