Imagine, if you will, my total lack of surprise that when Neil Lennon was talking to the media the other day that they tried to get him to say something that threw a crumb of comfort to the Ibrox club and its fans in relation to this title race.
They wanted him to offer hope that the title race can still be won by Ibrox. I don’t know whether they reminded Lennon that our team came back from a big deficit in 2011-12 but it was certainly foremost on their minds as it has been for weeks now.
For all I give Lennon stick on here, I never for one minute expected him to do anything like that, and of course he didn’t. Instead he reminded them that although league leads have been clawed back before they don’t tend to when the team out in front is a footballing juggernaut like the one Ange Postecoglou has built at Celtic.
In some ways, the question as to whether the Ibrox club still has a chance to catch us is one of the stupidest currently circulating in the media, because of course they do. A lot can happen in the course of a title race, and indeed a lot does happen.
But just as you can watch a team and know, instinctively, that it has the Mark of Cain and is doomed to suffer relegation, even if there’s a long way to go, so too you can look at a side motoring every week and know that nobody is going to catch them because they’re just not going to stop. In the same way, you can look at a time that is still getting results and see weakness and vulnerability and disaster just one slip up away from roaring over them.
That was the Ibrox club earlier in the season, just as the team motoring away has been us. Our form is good enough that you can’t easily see where the dropped points are going to come from. Their own has been sufficiently bad that you wonder if they can go on a winning run.
A new manager gives a team a lift sometimes. We’ve all seen that happen.
So it’s not impossible that they might find their feet and go on a run. But for them to win the title we still have to take a huge dip at exactly the same time, and Lennon knows what we all know; the confluence of circumstances where a runaway title leader loses form just as a side which hasn’t had any suddenly finds its feet are rare if we’re being generous.
Aside from the idea that Lennon would ever subscribe to the idea of giving Ibrox hope being pretty absurd in itself, he knows that this is all a complete fantasy. Celtic’s squad has not been this strong in years, and we have here a manager who will not allow complacency to creep into our performances.
Listen to the Ibrox club and all they can muster is “we can beat Celtic three times” when their focus should be on the next game and the one after that and the one after that. If they get through them, then they can, if they dare, come after us.
It’s this egotism that will ultimately lead to disaster for them, and Lennon knows that too. Which is why whilst he said what everyone knows, that no title race is over until it’s a mathematical certainty, he said something else everybody knows too … but so many refuse to accept.
That there’s nothing they can do to win this.
That we can only lose it. And we show no signs whatsoever of doing that.