The late Roman Republic’s greatest military enemy was a Gallic general named Vercingetorix. In spite of his intelligence and strategic mind, he was defeated by the much greater warlord Julius Caesar.
He was kept in prison for six years and then made his final journey.
Whenever a Roman general won a great victory, he was entitled to a triumph, a victorious parade through Rome itself, at the head of his army. They were lavish, inspired affairs.
The general rode at the head of a great procession, in a gilded chariot, wearing a laurel leaf crown.
Behind the general, the war wagons would roll through the city, filled with the loot and the treasure of the war. And finally, behind those, marched the defeated enemy.
Vercingetorix’s last function was to serve as the proof of Caesar’s power.
In 46BC he was paraded through Rome like an animal, down towards the forum, and at the Temple of Jupiter he was ceremonially strangled.
When Celtic’s team touches down in Australia, it will be the start of a wonderful trip which promises nothing but great things for our club and everyone in it. It’s a tour of the champions, a tour from a team who have already secured a title and who are nine points clear in the race for the second one. At the helm is a favourite son and national icon.
Celtic’s organisation of this has been brilliant, all except for the one dark spot with which it began; the presence of the Ibrox club. I vowed not to watch one minute of the Aussie tour if we were playing them on it.
The board ought never to have agreed to it.
Yet even their presence there was well thought out.
Celtic knew who the star attraction was going to be. They knew who would have top billing. Ibrox were the supporting act, the undercard, the side-show tent filled with freaks.
Us going as champions would have made their position even more excruciating.
In that scenario, their only function would have been to serve as the defeated army in Ange Postecoglou’s triumph, and our nine-point lead in the league would have rendered Van Bronckhorst in the role of Vercingetorix; the beaten general awaiting his appointment with the noose.
Can you even imagine that? If they had still been on this trip this would have been the moment when they were forced pull out of it. What other choice would they have had?