And so ends 2022, from a footballing perspective.
What a year that was.
We opened it behind the Ibrox club in the league, but with a growing confidence.
I thought that if we had a good window it was ours to lose. I already thought we had a squad capable of mounting a challenge. When the boss added to it, we were never looking back.
This time last year, as another COVID lockdown threatened Christmas and saw the January fixture delayed, we would have been astounded to know what 2022 brought. There was to be but one black spot – the Scottish Cup semi-final. The rest has been glorious. This team has made itself the strongest domestic force. It is quite incredible.
As good as this year is, we are all entitled to look forward with ever more optimism. If this year has been about cementing our place as the top team in the country, the next campaign could do more than that.
It could shatter most domestic record on the books.
We aren’t going to finish with an unbeaten record of course; St Mirren already took care of that. But there are other records which are within reach. Points totals. Goals scored. Goal difference. Home form. It’s all there in front of us and after 18 wins out of 19 so far in the league campaign there is a good chance that some of them will fall.
To reach the points total we can only afford to ship four more points between now and the end of the campaign; that’s sounds like a weird stat but it’s a fact. In our Invincible season, when the record was set, we dropped points in four league matches, costing us eight points. This season, we’ve lost a league game which has cost us three.
So to beat what Rodgers’ team did, we can only afford to drop four more in the course of the season. But 18 wins from the first 19 suggests that it’s more than possible.
The top scoring team in SPFL history was set by O’Neill’s team and then broken by Rodgers’ side as so many other records were. O’Neill’s side got 105 and Rodgers’ team got 106. That record looked like it would last forever … but after 19 games, the halfway point, we’ve already got 61 … and that puts us well on course to set a new standard there.
The goal difference record currently stands at plus 81 … Rodgers’ team again.
We’re currently on plus 46. That record is also within our reach.
Let’s be honest; if any Celtic side was expected to break goal-scoring records it is this one, and that we’ve got so many players capable of scoring them is just part of the reason why. Here’s a point to remember; last night, Kyogo scored his 14th league goal of the campaign. That would have made him the top scorer in the top flight last season.
So as good as 2022 was, and as much as we’ve enjoyed it, we’re hurtling into 2023 with a real sense of belief not only in the team and the manager but in the whole club.
This transfer window, like the one last January, could well end as a triumph … and if we emerge from it with this nine-point lead or greater, then the title is ours to lose and some of those records will be ripe to fall.