SILENCE was golden for Celtic as the club sat out the unedifying mixture of serious discussion mixed with squabbling, desperation and even the odd meltdown which engulfed Scottish football before finally being rightly confirmed as the champions of Scotland for the ninth consecutive season.
That magnificent achievement marks the penultimate stop on a long journey, which supporters hope will see Celtic reach their destination next season, with the club surpassing their own record which they have now matched by winning nine-in-a-row.
The standard was set by Jock Stein’s legendary sides of the 1960s and 70s, and for a club that places such importance on history it is often too easy to look into the past and imagine that such glorious days could never be sampled again.
In recent years, however, Celtic have sought out new records to break as their supporters enjoyed a period of domestic dominance which no side in the history of Scotland’s game can claim to have equalled. The Lisbon Lions made Celtic the Kings of Europe, but even they did not perform the kind of domestic clean sweeps Celtic have enjoyed in their recent history.
The souped-up Rangers of the 1990s, meanwhile, even in their financial excesses as they tried and failed to out-do Celtic both in Europe and at home, fell well short of the standards Celtic have now set.
It is a roll of honour worth repeating. Nine consecutive league championships, 11 consecutive major honours, an undefeated treble, a double treble, a treble treble – and now, even, the prospect of a quadruple treble.
That prospect remains because of the value the Scottish Cup has for the game, and the possibility that with only four teams left involved and three matches left to play—all slated to be at Hampden Park—there is very real hope that these will be among the first matches in Scottish football to take place in front of spectators.
Sadness, frustration, boredom and fatigue may all have characterised the coronavirus lockdown so far, but now those in green and white have some new emotions. The release of joy at their club’s achievement is now paired with an anticipation that they may yet witness the crowning glory for the league season which has just been concluded.
A Scottish Cup is so close they can almost touch it, and a quadruple treble would make up for the real frustration that they could not witness their club’s latest achievement on the field of play. They may yet have their day.
For now, the heartiest congratulations must go to Celtic FC, especially to their manager Neil Lennon (above), who has lifted five of those nine league titles, and their captain Scott Brown, who has been a shining example of their desire to win honours through all nine of those seasons.
Hot air and froth will no doubt follow from certain corners, the only possible fruit of such misplaced and impotent rage, but Celtic supporters will let that wash over them with a smile on their faces, sure in their knowledge that for the ninth time in a row the Bhoys were the best in the land and deserve all the plaudits and praise that the right-thinking observers are giving them.