Go back through many title-winning campaigns and last-minute winners will be crucial to many of them.
We had plenty of them under Martin O’Neil, and just as many under Gordon Strachan too. Even Neil Lennon in his first spell and Brendan Rodgers have fond last-minute memories to look back on.
It’s been rare this season that any side, particularly domestically, has managed to keep Celtic at bay. Only Livingston and Hibernian can claim that they managed to halt another Hoops march to three points.
Yet in recent weeks, pressure has been cranked up a notch since then. Rangers’ winning run in the Premiership has meant that they’ve still managed to stay level with us up until the start of December. During that period, Celtic have gone on an impressive seven-game winning run in the league and an 11-game run in all competitions.
Tonight against Hamilton has been the first time in that league run that we’ve been held until the final moments. Therefore, it’s been the first chance Celtic have had to show their dig and character.
Just like Strachan vs Rangers or Rodgers at Rugby Park, Lenny had his big title-boost moment tonight.
The captain steps up once again
Scott Brown popped up with the winner just like he did back in February at Rugby Park. His fine solo goal tonight has meant that Celtic finally pulled two points clear of our arch-rivals.
Of course, this isn’t the first time this season we’ve had to show resolve. Already, Celtic have managed to win games in the closing seconds on two other occasions against Lazio. Both of those games were against a top-class Serie A side too.
These last-minute winners have helped propel us to massive success in both Europe and domestic terms. The goal tonight against Hamilton can’t be underestimated in terms of importance. Just as Rangers were showing signs of runners-up at Pittodrie, we were showing the mark of Champions at Parkhead.
Celtic, with their 90 goals for the season so far, have had plenty of matches in which they’ve strutted their stuff. The 7-0 mauling of St Johnstone. The 6-0 destruction of Ross County. 4-0 at Pittodrie before half-time. The goals have fair racked up.
But tonight was a different test, and one we proved we were ready for.
This is a team that continues to show that they’ll take some beating in order to take their league title. That glorious last-minute goal trait continues to crop up when Celtic need it most. A sign of champions if ever there was one.