Talk of Celtic being in rivals' shadow is defeatist, negative nonsense

By David Walton

May 5, 2021

As Celtic desperately look to bring the curtain down on a horrendous season, there’s no denying our rivals are loving life.

They’ve won the league and look like going unbeaten in their domestic league campaign this season. They’ve done what they set out to achieve, whilst Celtic have gone from disaster to disaster.

Listen, we’ve been the first to criticise the club this season. We’ve done it all year and we believe that’s been well merited given the lack of clarity, common sense, and even communication with its supporters. However, what none of us should do at such a critical moment in our history is get ahead of ourselves.

Recently, some of the top Celtic-minded pundits have been giving their say on what’s required. Firstly, we had Chris Sutton state that Celtic are going to go through some “hard yards” next season and that it won’t be until 2023/24 until we have our next title push [Daily Record].

Last night, it was big John Hartson who put forward his concerns about the long-term. Speaking on the Go Radio football show, he said the following:

“Rangers might dominate for the next three to five years. They might do now what Celtic had previously done. They have a manager who was allowed to bring his staff in, they have an assistant manager who is technically very good, but Celtic look so far behind now, there is so much to do there.”

No room for negativity or pessimism; Celtic must realise rivals are there to be got at

There are so many reasons as to why talk of being in Rangers’ shadow for the long-term is way over the top. Listen, we fully respect and adore Sutton and Hartson, but we’ve heard this kind of thing in the past.

We’ve seen this season alone how such a dominant side can crumble. Celtic were on course to win the league by 13+ points before it was called last season and secured a quadruple treble. In addition to that, we were playing some of the best football we’d seen since the 2016/17 invincible campaign.

Then all of a sudden our empire comes crumbling down and we lost the league by god knows how many points it is now. But that’s just one example.

Look at the revolution under Martin O’Neill after the painful John Barnes/Kenny Dalglish era. O’Neill came in and immediately secured the treble. You then had Neil Lennon come in post Tony Mowbray and come within a Georgios Samaras penalty at Ibrox from winning the league. Even Ronny Deila’s Celtic side had plenty of issues and were turned into invincible treble winners one year later under Brendan Rodgers.

Celtic celebrate the invincible treble (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It’s absolutely bewildering to start talking about being behind for two, three, or five years. Where has this kind of discussion come from? Yes, the rebuild is arguably going to be the biggest we’ve had in the club’s history. Or at the very least, one of the biggest.

However, even in our worst season in modern-day football, we’ve still shown that we can compete with Rangers. Yes, there’s something missing, but we haven’t been bossed in every derby game this season. In fact, it’s been highly acknowledged that we’ve been the better team in more than one of them.

Work needs to be done, but let’s drop the idea we could be behind Rangers for years. That kind of attitude will have us accepting yet more mediocrity next season.

In other news, it’s time for Celtic to make the Karamoko Dembele call we’ve all been waiting for.