Celtic’s Spellbinding Performance Last Night Was This Team At It’s Very, Very Best.

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This season is winding down in just the way we wanted it to. Not just with a title, and a Scottish Cup Final on the horizon, but watching Celtic again, Real Celtic, the team which blazed its way to the title last season and which has ended this one in style.

Last night’s performance was brilliant. The team was outstanding.

Everything about that was a joy to watch.

A lot of us felt more nervous about last night than we did about the game at Celtic Park at the weekend. I don’t know why. Did we all really over-estimate Hearts and Kilmarnock? In some ways yes, and in some ways no. I think we underestimated ourselves.

We weren’t the only ones guilty of that.

A lot of Ibrox fans clung to the idea that we were vulnerable in these matches for way longer than they should have. In one sense, I understand it; Hearts and Kilmarnock have both beaten us this season, which is more than their own club has managed to do. That’s maybe why they found it easy to imagine it happening again.

But Hearts had done it to us home and away. Kilmarnock is never an easy place to go; that ground has inspired a lot of nightmares down through the years. But we dispatched both of those teams with ease, and the football last night was the best of the whole campaign. It’s as if we flicked a switch somewhere – Motherwell, that was when I first saw signs that this team was starting to play good fast attacking football again – and never looked back.

People who wanted to pick holes in that would ask, “Well what about the Hearts game?” And the answer to that is the same as it was then; that game was decided by the officials. In the aftermath of that game, nobody panicked. Nobody got angry, except at John Beaton. The fans kept on backing the team, the team simply moved past it and won the next two league games, got the point at Ibrox and then won the next five on the bounce.

In the end we had nothing to fear.

The Real Celtic has showed up for business at the time in the season when that matters most, just as the manager predicted that we would. The goals have been flowing too; the average has gone way up since that day at Fir Park. In the eleven games since we’ve cracked three or more goals past our opponents in eight of them, and that’s how leagues are won.

There were standout performances last night – O’Riley, Maeda, Johnston, Forrest and Idah were especially brilliant, although once again I want to pay tribute to Callum McGregor – but it was a team effort and a team triumph, just as the title itself is.

The guys who have come to prominence over the last few months do deserve special merit – Forrest has been excellent and Idah has been a revelation and most of the blogs support our signing him for the next campaign – but it’s about Rodgers’ core group and the way he has gotten the best out of them at just the right time, and how we saved the best for almost last.

What’s this team got left? There must be a temptation to bench a couple of players for the weekend, in preparation for the cup final, but I wonder if it’s not best just to play the top players and keep the momentum going. Rack up another big score and we can strike a heavy psychological blow prior to Hampden, and that has to be a consideration.

Play like we did last night, and we will blow them away regardless. That was fantastic to watch, a team in full flow, confidence surging through every player, everyone knowing his role and what the other players would do … not only was it the best performance of the campaign, but it was obvious that these guys are enjoying themselves on the pitch, and that’s something we’ve not seen much in this campaign up until now. And it’s glorious.

It’s ironic that the end of the season has brought the kind of football which makes us wait eagerly for every match, but Rodgers was right to say that it’s the right time for it. He told the media that we would go out for the game at Celtic Park against our rivals and “have some fun.” We got the result, but the real fun was last night at Rugby Park.

That was Celtic at its very, very best and a reminder of what this team is capable of. We’re in a really good place. Saturday is flag day … and beyond that a double to play for. That’s what I can fun, the most of it we’ve had this season.

And it has delivered one trophy already. Bring on the next one.

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  • Mark says:

    What a time to be alive. The season has been hard but I fully believed in Rodgers to get us there. We can enjoy this now and regroup in the summer. What a feeling

  • Saulgoodman says:

    James i like the idea play full strength team on Saturday , why because these players are hitting form as a team – no rest as let’s be honest , they’ve only started playing last few weeks so no one is tired , imo all in , only decision for brendan i think kyogo or idah + its idah for me looks our strongest starting 11 .

  • Jim M says:

    After the sevco result on Tuesday coming back from 2-0 down ,the peepul must have had their hopes up again thinking that if Kilmarnock had done us over it would have been all to play for on the last game of the season for us both , so it was brilliant to get the 2 early goals to calm the nerves , as it was unlikely but mathematically possible sevco could, but wouldn’t manage it.

    Once again their hopes and dreams have been continuously shattered, as you’ve said James, this has been a very enjoyable league win considering all the media bias , crap Brendan Rodgers has had to take from them and interference from above with the lack of backing, big up to the team and Brendan Rodgers for getting us over the line, CHAMPIONS AGAIN , HAIL,

  • Darren Kerr says:

    Thats up with Love Street, Tommy’s title under Gordon, Wims wonders, Martins first season and the invincible season. Well done Bhoys and our incredible Celtic family. Love you all. HH

  • Joe McQuaid says:

    Couldn’t agree more James – but I would add that we have a league double in sight with the women’s team on Sunday. Win against Hibs in Paradise and they secure our first Women’s League trophy.
    Let’s make some noise for the Ghirls!!!

  • Johnny Green says:

    I just hope the board are not as overwhelmingly convinced about that performance as you are James….cue their miserly thoughts of not having to spend too much to improve things…… let’s not go there please,

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Yep – A scintillating performance for sure…

    A wee bit momentum at Parkhead Party Paradise on Saturday –

    The Celtic Ghirls Champions on Sunday please…

    And The Scottish Cup will hopefully be The Icing on The Cake !

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