Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas has defended Celtic manager Neil Lennon’s claim to be crowned champions after admitting he would’ve wanted the exact same outcome if he was the Hoops boss.
Lennon came out on Friday after the indefinite postponement of Scottish football was announced. He stated at what should’ve been a pre-match presser for the Rangers match that Celtic should be named the champions if the season can’t finish.
That’s led to a host of different opinions on the matter coming out. Rangers released a statement yesterday stating that no title can be won if 38 games haven’t been played. They then bizarrely claimed that they also wouldn’t play behind closed doors.
However, Nicholas has told it like it is in today’s Daily Express (17/03, Page 57), and admitted there was no chance Rangers were going to win the league in any case:
“I have no issue with Neil Lennon insisting that Celtic should be handed the title. If I was in his shoes I would probably say the same thing. Some people reckon there could still be a tight title race if Rangers win their game in hand and the two remaining Old Firm derbies.
“But if the season does resume, Celtic will win the title anyway. I cannot see Steven Gerrard’s team clawing back the 13-point deficit. At the other end of the table, Hearts could feasibly win enough games to keep them safe.
“I don’t think it matters to Celtic when they win the league, just as long as they do. It could be done and dusted within three or four weeks of the campaign continuing. If all fixtures are fulfilled, then there can be no dubiety or questions lingering over titles.”
Pushing faint title challenge is embarrassing
There’s no denying that those skilled in the art of opportunism have used this is a chance to push some sort of pretend title-challenge that would’ve occurred had the league carried on.
Rangers believe that no champion should be crowned with a “significant” amount of games to go. Therefore, they’re clearly pushing the idea that Celtic could still be caught by them.
Mathematically, yes that is indeed the case. However, that would require Celtic to drop more points in the final eight matches than they have done all season. It also requires Rangers to go on a lengthy winning run until the end of the season. The same Rangers who have only won five of 11 domestic matches since the winter break.
To use some sort of ridiculous pretend and hypothetical challenge to Celtic’s crown is an insult to your intelligence. Even Nicholas has acknowledged that Rangers have no chance of taking the title at this point.
This is why finding a way to end the season would be ideal this afternoon when UEFA discusses potential action with its 55 member associations. If we can get these games done in any format and come to a definitive conclusion, Celtic’s success won’t be questioned by anyone.
Celtic’s form this season deserves more than an asterisk beside their name. Here’s hoping the SFA/SPFL come to their senses with whatever action plan they put forward.