Deep breaths. In and out. In and out. That was … stunning.
I have never seen a Celtic side this relentless, this determined to score, this dangerous in the final third or this capable of producing stuff that leaves the opposition in a daze.
Those of us who had doubts about the Ange appointment were told – by all who had seen his teams play – that we were wrong and that we were in for a treat, that we would see things we had never seen before from a Celtic side. Those people were right.
Every promise that was made to us about what AngeBall would look like has been kept.
This is what we were told to expect, and in the second season, where it was said that we would see a ramping up from what we watched in the first campaign we are witnessing this team evolve into something Celtic fans haven’t seen in a generation.
In Kyogo, we do now have, without any dispute, the finest striker since Larsson.
He was majestic today.
And yet he wasn’t even the best man on the park.
Neither was the Player of The Year runaway favourite Jota. No, it was Liel Abada, who has had to warm the bench these past few weeks, who got a hat-trick and an assist who I thought ran the show.
But there was not a failure in the Celtic team today, not one, not a single one.
The mantra of this team is “we never stop” and even when the game was so far out of sight that United were simply a dot in the rear-view mirror we never did.
Some will be disappointed we didn’t hit ten. Some will be disappointed that we didn’t hit the club record all-time score line of 11-0, a record that has stood for more than 100 years. You know what? I’m not in the least bit bothered because if ever a Celtic side was going to hit double figures it’s this one. If ever a side could re-write the club records this is it.
All of this is down to one man.
A lot of managers talk about having a football philosophy, but when you see what it is that they try to do it can be difficult to discern any difference between their style and the style from the previous regime.
I have never seen a Celtic team this aggressive or hungry for goals. Not an O’Neill team or a Rodgers team far less a Strachan, Lennon, Hay, McNeill or Jansen one. Those are the managers I remember watched win league titles for Celtic, and none of those seven men turned out a team that did what this one made look so easy, so routine, today.
It’s not that I haven’t seen big wins.
I remember Dunfermline and Aberdeen as particular highlights from yesteryear. But this team has something none of them did. And it does this stuff regularly; last season we saw six goals three times and seven once.
We’ve got five already against Kilmarnock and now nine against United. Know what’s different about them? When we scored six three times and seven once last season we did that at home. At Celtic Park, where you expect us to thrash teams.
We have scored three (Ross County), five (Kilmarnock) and nine (today) away from home, in our three away matches. See the pattern? Seventeen goals from our first three fixtures on the road. Last year we needed a late winner at Ross County to get three points … our win there a few weeks ago was comfortable. The improvements are obvious.
I know there are people across the city, in the media and elsewhere who continue to delude themselves that this is not a good Celtic team, that somehow we are simply taking advantage of poor quality opposition. They regard the 9-0 result today as an embarrassment to the league. Perhaps the EPL has the same problem as Liverpool did the same yesterday.
By this time next week those same people will have no place to hide. The scale of their folly will be revealed to them. This Celtic team will spank them like an acting-out stepchild.