Euro 2020 is the perfect tonic for dismal Celtic season
Celtic fans hardly have much to sing about after a disastrous 20-21, and so Euro 2020 is a very welcome bonus.
It felt like every match was a potential for disaster. A complete lack of tactical identity meant we didn’t really know what to expect one week to the next. The board dragged its heels on our manager, and it was up to him to make the changes by resigning. On the pitch and off it, it was tumultuous.
It seemed the legacy Celtic had built was built on sand. The way things came so drastically off-track was so rapid and dramatic that it was as if this wasn’t a team who’d just won multiple trebles in succession. Let alone titles.
Yet, this summer, we’re going to be watching a Scotland team that has 6 Celtic players in it. Now, to the Scottish Celtic fans: I can’t tell you how to feel about our national team. There’ll be some who remember the Lisbon Lions in their pomp getting fewer than 20 caps. Snubs aplenty for Celtic players over the years, and feelings of a bias towards our rivals. Or, indeed, preference being shown to players in the doldrums of the English game.
I get that, it all makes sense.
However, I’m nothing if not someone loudly yelling into the void, hoping for a response, so let’s try it: Euro 2020 is a good thing, and it’s something we should embrace.
Euro 2020 is a gift after a rough spell
Whatever you think of Steve Clarke, he seems to recognise the impact of Celtic players. Our first squad in a major tournament will feature the bedrock of the current Celtic squad. Some of these players have been with us for the entirety of 9IAR, while others are new fan favourites.
Callum McGregor will have an important role to play. Greg Taylor makes it, behind two of arguably the best left-backs in the game in Kieran Tierney and Andy Robertson; that’s gone under the radar. Jack Hendry has a chance to make his redemption complete. David Turnbull, our POTY and YPOTY, will be there. James Forrest, who could’ve had a seismic impact this season were it not for injuries, will surely start at least one or two matches.
Ryan Christie, so often a star for Scotland, can go back to putting smiles on our faces. Fine; it’s Scotland. You’ve watched our national team getting battered on the continent for years, I’m sure. We’ve been disappointed when it looked like it was impossible. We’ve expected nothing, and still been left miserable. At times, being a part of the Tartan Army, or even a casual observer, can seem utterly fruitless.
And yes; the qualification route does feel like it was a bit like winning a raffle, in a sense. But who cares? We’re going to be there [UEFA]. Covid-19 might hamper the ability to actually get to go to matches, or even to share these moments with friends and family. However, there’s an actual kernel of optimism that we could do something in a major tournament.
At the forefront of that effort will be Celtic players; some men who’ve worn the Hoops with distinction. That isn’t a tough sell, if you ask me.
The perfect opportunity to put the season behind us
Look; I realise I’m writing for a club website. Our priority is Celtic, and it always will be. However, the “joy” of international football is letting rivalries subside, ignoring what’s happened at club level and getting behind a shared cause.
Honestly, I think it’s not just us that need that. For the first time in a generation, collectively we can get behind something. For how fractured our society seems at this moment in time, this is a bit of a blessing.
We may end up disappointed. There may be skelpings handed our way from quality opposition. Or, we could go and bloody the nose of some big names and make a dent. Honestly, we don’t know what to expect from this squad; if used properly, there are some frightening technical talents there. Talents that we know all about.
So, maybe you don’t care; and that’s fine. Still, after the season we’ve had, would it not be something to put rivalries to the side, and embrace the rarity of Scotland being in a major tournament? To be the underdogs not expecting much, instead of being a crumbling elite like Celtic have been this season?
I know what I’ll be doing this summer.