Reminders of Celtic's 2005 Helicopter Sunday disaster don't stand up

By David Walton

March 24, 2020

Helicopter Sunday back in 2005 will forever remain painful to the Celtic supporters, but it’s not something Rangers and rival fans can use as a reason not to hand the Hoops the title.

Alex Rae last week first brought it up (Daily Record). He used it as an example of how anything can happen in a title race. Therefore, Celtic apparently shouldn’t just be awarded the championship crown. Hugh Burns was next to talk about it as he laughably tried to conjure up a case for Rangers coming back in the title-race (Scottish Sun).

Funny that. Both former Rangers players too. Who would’ve thought?

Former Rangers midfielder Alex Rae (Ian MacNicol/Getty images)

The reason it’s being used isn’t just because of what happened at Fir Park when Scott McDonald scored twice to hand Rangers the title. Nope, it’s because Celtic were five points clear heading into the final four matches.

Celtic would go on to lose 3-1 at home to Hibernian before that shocking defeat at Fir Park on matchday 38 to lose the league in heartbreaking fashion. But the thing is – it doesn’t hold its weight as an example of why Celtic shouldn’t be crowned champions this season amidst the current health crisis.

Some big differences are being ignored

First off, as mentioned, Celtic were five clear heading into the final four matches. However, in 2020, we’re 13 points clear of Rangers. Yes, our rivals have a game in hand, but there’s no guarantee given their run of form that they’ll win it.

Speaking of their run of form, that’s another thing to take into consideration. Under Alex McLeish back in ’05, Rangers won 14 of their final 17 games. Regardless of whether we win the league or not, that’s an impressive run. This season, however, they’ve only managed to win four of their nine Premiership matches since the winter break.

There’s no evidence given the above stats that Rangers would suddenly reign Celtic in. In 2005, at least they were on a good run of form going into the closing days of the season. The same can hardly be said this time around.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Rangers boss Steven Gerrard (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic also dropped 15 points before they lost to Hibs and Motherwell 15 years ago. This season, however, we’ve only dropped 10 heading into the closing stages. We need to lose double the amount of games too for Rangers to win the league.

So to use 2005 as an example is ridiculously weak. Rangers only needed two results to go their way in order to swing the title race in their favour back then. This year it’s four defeats – we all know that wouldn’t have happened.

But hey ho, whatever keeps them happy.