The Celtic players have come in for real criticism for their league performances this season with fans insisting it’s simply not been good enough. The Hoops were lacklustre in away games in the first half of the season. They lost on the road to Hearts, Hibernian, Kilmarnock and Rangers and dropped further points to Motherwell, St Mirren and Livingston – all prior to the winter shutdown.
They did rally after the break but have still not won in four league matches under Neil Lennon.
However, despite all that, the Hoops will finish the league campaign with more points than last year. So surely that’s progress?
Best of a bad lot
Well it depends how you measure progress. Brendan Rodgers’ side failed to win 14 of their 38 games last year (37%), drawing more than a quarter of their matches in the league. They scored 73 goals and conceded 25, leaving a goal difference of +48. In total, the Hoops generated 82 points.
This year they’re on 84 with a game to play. The Hoops have won 26 of their 37 matches (70%) – a vast improvement from last year. They’ve also scored two more goals and conceded six fewer ahead of Hearts’ visit on Sunday.
Further improvement needed
With our main rivals seemingly on the up, we simply can’t afford to drop as many points next season. We should set ourselves a target number then aim to make that.
A sensible target would be 93 points. That number has been good enough to win the league title in Scotland for each of the past 16 seasons. Not since 2002/2003 has the runner-up finished with more than that (Celtic with 97).
It’s not an unrealistic aim either. If we beat Hearts on Sunday we’ll finish on 87 points for this season. That’s just six short of the magic number. Two losses or three draws turned into wins. Surely that’s not too much to ask for.
Of course Celtic could win the league on fewer points as we often have in recent years, but it would be nice to have a little extra security.