It was the headline that decided me. “Celtic Won’t Say It But The League Is Over” is how it reads on the news aggregator sites. And it’s from the BBC. Who in God’s name at the BBC is talking guff like that?” was what I thought.
I clicked on the link and it’s from the “Scottish football podcast” with some comedian, a Celtic fan site rep and Peter Grant. I have no idea which of them uttered that statement – the comedian, I would hope – because I didn’t listen to it.
But it’s nonsense. The reason nobody at Celtic will say that the league is over is that – surprise! – the league isn’t over. There are 23 games left to go, and the lead is a mere nine points. In twenty games time, if the lead is still nine points, it still won’t be technically over. Talk to me in twenty-one games from now if we have a nine-point lead.
Because then it would actually be over.
Nobody inside Celtic thinks this way. This is how titles are lost from positions of strength, and within the walls at our ground they are well aware of it.
In 2010-11 it was Celtic who were miles behind in November, and clowns like Keevins called that one. Just last year they had us out of the league race by October. Ange himself shot that down. What do you reckon he would say if someone suggested to him that the league race was over and that everyone knew it but no-one at Celtic would admit it?
I’ve seen league races thrown away by teams who got complacent because they thought it was in the bag. One of the earliest memories I have of us winning a tight league race was in 1985 as Hearts tossed it away on the last day, and they thought they had it in the bag.
We aren’t nearly champions yet. I think we can psychologically kill them off in January, but even then nobody will declaring it over, nobody at Celtic anyway. This one has a long way to go, and whilst I am supremely confident that’s only because I know that nobody at the club is. They have to act like this will go to the wire.
And that’s what will guarantee that it doesn’t.