The one lesson Celtic has taught Scottish football this season
Bad predictions are a staple of sport, especially when it comes to Celtic and Scottish football.
They’re the lifeblood of the industry, in fact. Especially when social media is so prevalent, and gives everyone, fans and journalists like, the chance to air their views on the game. It’s great fun, especially because most of the time, everyone’s wrong.
Take it from the person who wrote about what a “gamble” it was bringing Joe Hart to the club. But I am – in this rare occasion – far from the most egregious example.
Ange Postecoglou arrived at Celtic without a reputation in Europe. Such was Scottish football’s euro-centric point of view, that a guy who managed Australia at a World Cup, and won titles in the both the A League and J League, was a nobody.
As opposed to say, Roy Keane, who was backed to the hilt despite his last managerial job being a decade a go, a miserable period at Ipswich Town.
The doubts came thick and fast. His signings weren’t good enough, or wouldn’t adapt to the Scottish Premiership. His style was too risky, and Celtic’s defence would be porous. If he didn’t get to a good start, the title race would be over by Hallowe’en [Daily Record]. So on, and so forth.
Celtic may not have won the title yet, and are in fact, 7 points behind with a game in hand in the race for the Scottish Premiership at the time of writing [BBC]. But the signings have been excellent, the Hoops have been solid at the back, and we’ve won the first available piece of silverware available.
What have Celtic taught Scottish football? Writing us off is a fool’s errand.
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Celtic have much to prove, but Scottish football clubs are on notice
There’s still a long way to go. The Scottish Premiership will likely go down to the wire this season. Rangers have improved over the last couple of years, and Celtic’s difficult early start cost us.
But winning the Premier Sports Cup, Ange’s first trophy available to him, is a huge boost. In many corners, we wouldn’t have been expected to achieve a thing this season. Not a thing. For all it sounded, it was as if we’d ruled ourselves out of contention in the summer.
Utter nonsense of course. But it actually served as a boost for Celtic. We don’t like being written off, or told how to feel. Not by other teams, the popular press, anyone.
It only gives us resolve to back the doubted. For a club borne from defying the odds, having a manager attempting to do the same with a brand of football we were dying for, it’s a perfect recipe. If Ange, so pre-emptively pilloried, is succeeding then so are we.
As if the Scottish football press and some cynical fans needed more evidence not to assume things, to pontificate without evidence, or make themselves look foolish.
But they had the chance this summer and grasped it with both hands.
Now as we approach January, who would you rather be; someone that trusted the process, or a naysayer who’s been made to look very daft indeed?