Those into their sports betting would have had Celtic’s season pretty much nailed on last Summer, but though it may have been fairly predictable it doesn’t mean there weren’t massive highs and bitter lows throughout this overly extended season. As opposed to looking at the season as a whole, it is a good exercise to break it up into its constituent parts, to see if as a club it really can be deemed a success, and which parts need improving on next time out.
The title was won with four matches of the season remaining. Despite what anyone says otherwise, lifting the Scottish Premiership title is the number one priority for the club, and their number one objective when they set out in August. Everything else is icing on the cake, even if it is icing we as fans have come to enjoy the taste of and expect to be offered year in year out.
Progress is another determining factor. Ange’s men won the title, accumulating more points than last season and scoring more goals and picking up more wins. The only negative is in the goals conceded column, which shows that the Bhoys shipped more goals this season compared to last.
Back to back titles, and just shy of the hundred point marker, all in all it has been a vintage season, league-wise.
The Cups (Domestic)
At the time of writing, the Scottish Cup final against Inverness is still to be played. Regardless of the result, and you have to be hopeful of a positive outcome to secure the treble, it has been a superb cup run. After a five to nothing win versus Greenock Morton in the fourth round, Celtic put a total of eight past St Mirren and Hearts with just one conceded to set up the tie against Rangers in the semi.
The League Cup was a similar story. 4 – 1, 4 – 0 and 2 – 0 victories over Ross County, Motherwell and Kilmarnock respectively again saw a clash with the men from the other side of the city. A Kyogo brace sealed the 2 – 1 win prompting wild celebrations.
Drawn in Group F with Real Madrid, Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk, it was always going to be a tough ask to get out of the group, especially with the German outfit being way better than many were expecting. Third place and a place in the Europa League was a realistic target however. As it turned out, it was a disappointing European campaign for the Hoops.
It was also one of missed opportunities, the most obvious, crucial and damning one being the 1 – 1 home tie against the Ukrainian outfit. A win in that game, which would have been no less than our play and possession merited, would have extended Celtic’s European campaign.
Next season this really is the area that the club needs to improve on. If nothing else, it will ensure their status as an elite European club. Champions League football is essential revenue wise and to attract the right calibre of international players, but the club needs to be progressing into the business end of competition, even if it is the Europa. That is for the reasons stated above, but also to give the fans a different experience than that of the domestic one which they have year in year out.
To achieve that, it may very well need a change of tactical approach as well as a recruitment drive, the two of course going hand in hand.
The two met six times in the season, the four Premiership games, plus one in each of the cups. The Bhoys ran out successful in both cup matches, while the league games were somewhat of a mixed bag.
A four nothing win in September at Celtic Park was followed by a two all draw at Ibrox. The last two instalments of the fixture saw the Hoops win 3 – 2 at home, losing 0 – 3 away, though the last game came in the week of the league title victory.
Ange continues to go from strength to strength, not just in terms of the way he sets up his team and gets them to play, or his vision of the future, but also in the way he is handling the media. There is little doubt he is a world class manager, and as a result there will always be noise in the press of him being linked down south.
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