So a new year is about to roll around and thank goodness. 2020 has been hellish hasn’t it? There’s no other way to describe it.
Away from football there’s been destruction and devastation across the entire planet. So much so that football has continued to be our release from it all. An opportunity to switch away from Covid and focus on what we enjoy in life.
On the pitch, it’s been a rollercoaster of a year. The highs of nine-in-a-row to the deflation of nearly costing ourselves the 10 – we’ve been through it all this year.
But as we prepare to enter a new one, now’s the time for three bold and optimistic predictions about what lies ahead over the next 12 months. Let’s delve right in.
Neil Lennon will resign as 10-in-a-row winner
Hold the bus – we said we were being optimistic right? Don’t worry, this is a story with a happy ending to it.
Yes, Lennon will depart. Not because he’s been forced, however. Optimism remember.
Nope, I genuinely believe that after the 10 has been won this season (and it will be), Lennon will be off. He’ll look at the achievement as his greatest ever in football, and it will be. And at that point, I think he’ll have had enough.
There doesn’t feel as if there’s any long-term planning going on at Celtic. This doesn’t particularly look like a team that has the foundations for which to build on. In fact, it looks as though there could be a mass summer clearout with players entering the final years of their deals.
It’s going to be a massive rebuilding job, and after the 10 is won, Lennon will be happy. He’ll feel his Celtic managerial destiny has been fulfilled. This is what he’s been targeting. It’s what’s been keeping him in the hot seat through all of the criticism.
When it’s won, expect a massive release to come over the manager. Whatever happens this season, Neil won’t be here next year in my view.
Celtic will reach the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League
Okay, so this is probably as bold as it gets. This year, we were knocked out of the Champions League at the second qualifying round at home to Ferencvaros. Last year it was the third qualifying round vs Cluj.
Indeed, we haven’t actually made the group stages of Europe’s biggest club competition since 2017/18. So why then will we qualify next year?
This links to the previous point. Celtic for me will be under new management and I expect it to be an ambitious appointment. One which appeases the support and satisfies their demand for the highest standard in class.
With that comes a promise to that manager to invest in the team. I know – predicting the board to step up and show some ambition. I did say it was bold.
It remains to be seen at what stage we would enter next year’s competition. It could even be the team that sits second at the end of the season (Rangers) will also be given a chance to qualify.
But I’m feeling a real big summer of change at Parkhead and for the better. When the burden of the 10 is lifted from this club, I really want to see it rise and discover its potential. We’ve been obsessed with the 10 far too long. It’s time for this club to experience true growth from next season onwards, and that will only happen in the Champions League.
Celtic’s 2021 success will see off Steven Gerrard
When we’re celebrating the 10, doom and gloom will sweep in across the city.
Rangers will have had enough with Steven Gerrard at this point. If he doesn’t resign to save face then he’ll be sacked at Ibrox. Celtic’s dominance has been crippling them and making them more bitter by the year. Securing the 10 will be their tipping point.
And when that happens, our rivals will be at their wit’s end. Unsure of where to turn to, they’ll tell Gerrard where to go. Three attempts at taking the title off Celtic and zero taken? He’s already at 0 trophies out of a potential 7 since arriving in Glasgow.
They’re clinging on to this idea that he was brought to stop the 10. Yes, he was, but my goodness he isn’t half taking his time about it. Make no mistake, he was brought to win the league (at the latest) within two years. There’s no way he came to Glasgow and was told “right Stevie, win the league in your third year”.
He’s taken them forward, but that won’t be enough when Celtic deliver the title of all titles. Gerrard will be gone, and the ridiculous hype train that follows him will lose a fair amount of passengers.
So there – our three bold predictions for 2021. How many will come to fruition? That remains to be seen…..probably none of it.