And so ends the season when some of the stupidest sports writers in all of football believed that the uppity Australian would be sent on his way and a Dutch manager who had reached a European final stood on the precipice of total domination. He didn’t last the season, and if the Aussie does depart it will because this season was such a triumph that an alleged super club was so impressed by him that they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
The season ends with a treble for Celtic. Another one, yes. It reminds me of my old man seeing Barcelona come out in the Champions League draw a few years back and sighing; another trip to the Nou Camp. Most football fans live their lives without ever being in the ground. I know people who were sick of the sight of the place. Will we get sick of trebles?
Not in this lifetime folks, and for those who take it for granted I say “don’t” because the struggle to get here was long and hard and during the 90’s especially it was an endurance exercise. I went seven seasons without seeing a trophy growing up, until Pierre Van Hooijdonk scored at Hampden in an otherwise forgettable final against Airdrie, and you could argue that the worst was still in front of us. I look back on the Aadvocaat treble as my darkest time as a Celtic fan because having climbed out of their shadow I didn’t know if we were entering another long spell of dominance.
It was built on sand, we know that now. EBT’s were in use and eventually they toppled that club like the proverbial house of cards, and what climbed out of the grave was a pale imitation of Rangers at best. Remember this and remember it well; we didn’t dominate in the years that their pitiful NewCo was clawing its way through the divisions. Oh we won things, but we saved the total ownage until they were right beside us in the top flight.
For one season only they basked in the sunny uplands, but on either side of their one moment of triumph is a a trophy haul which is without precedent in the history of the game here. We have secured our eight treble overall; at the start of 2000’s we were on two; these are our years, this is the scale of the victory which, in some ways, was inevitable hen the stadium was finished.
It’s all in front of us now; next season we may well overtake The Lie by torching the last thing they have left, their “status” – wholly appropriated from the dead, like Norman’s mother lording over the Bates Motel. Are we in the middle of Celtic’s greatest spell, or is this just the end of the beginning? Let me tell you; the media would love us to think it’s the beginning of the end.
But they thought that at the start of this campaign, and here we are. The manager might stay and he might go, but Celtic’s strength doesn’t lie in one man and it never has. Seven of our trebles were secured without his help; for the four we won on the bounce very few Celtic fans had even heard of the guy. When I write, with utter confidence, that we’ll be the team to beat next season its as true as it was when this one started and almost all of them wrote us off.
These people never get embarrassed being wrong, and one of the great things about days like today, as I sit here in a rocking Celtic pub putting the finishing touches to these initial thoughts, is that I know they’re gearing up to be wrong all over again.
I’ll write properly on this tomorrow folks, but for now I want to get drunk and celebrate the treble. I’ll catch you all in the morning, on the other side of the hangover.