Celtic officially claimed their fifth title in a row against contenders Aberdeen in Glasgow on Sunday. It was billed as a title decider long before yesterday, but in truth it would have taken a miracle for the Dons to claw it back.
For Celtic to lose their last three games and Aberdeen win all of theirs wouldn’t have got you favourable odds. The Dons would also needed to have overcome a 30+ goal deficit and thatbwould have been some feat indeed.
Regardless, the Hoops took the initiative and raced into a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes at Celtic Park. It wasn’t one way traffic though, Aberdeen had come close themselves and weren’t going away quietly.
Nonetheless, Patrick Roberts, a shining light for Celtic since arriving on loan, helped himself to a double. Two sublime left foot finishes put Celtic in a comfortable position going in at half time.
By the looks of things, Celtic were in the mood. The title was theirs and the team, missing both Brown and Johansen in the midfield, were actually passing to each other.
Vice Captain Charlie Mulgrew went off injured at half time leaving Efe Ambrose to fill in alongside Erik Sviatchenko. At 2-0 the game was far from over but when Mikael Lustig, deputising once more as captain, slotted home number three I was thinking maybe 4-0 or 5-0?
But no, if there was ever a game that summed up Ronny Deila’s tenure as a Celtic manager this was it. After a decent first half which produced two fine goals, the team virtually capitulated after the interval.
Despite netting a third goal (thankfully), the good work was slowly being undone by a variety of issues. Leigh Griffiths, a goal machine, couldn’t find the net.
With no real backup for his role, it is one of the many achillies heels with Celtic today. Another comes in the form of Efe Ambrose.
There was a time when we just thought his errors were random acts. They are in fact a key part of his blundering game play and he will have to leave this summer.
Over all, Celtic seem unable to kill off an opponent or stay the course for 90 minutes these days. I smelled blood on Sunday, but Celtic didn’t and in the end walked a tight rope to edge over the finish line.
I don’t think any Celtic fan would disagree that Sunday’s game is typical of what we’ve seen far too often under Ronny. In fact, it is the games where we have started well and thrown it away that have prevented us from making progress this season.
Last season we saw things turn around and this season we were looking to build on that. Of course that hasn’t happened and for that reason, Ronny is going.
So if we needed any reminder of why things have to change we got it today. Albeit, we got off lightly on this occasion.
All that is left are two games but at least we’re being saved the pain of waiting two weeks. Celtic will visit St Johnstone on Wednesday evening and then lift the Scottish Premeirship trophy for the fifth consecutive time on Saturday against Motherwell to wrap up the season.
Ronny will lift the trophy for a second and final time then say his farewells to the Celtic faithful and Scottish football. We may find out this week or the next who his successor is but we are no further forward than just rumours at the moment.
Between the bookies, the media, social media and taxi drivers, its a pretty long shortlist with no real accuracy. Everyone reckons they know something about who it will be and when it will be announced.
That being the case, Celtic’s dugout is going to be a busy place next season. Perhaps some of the safe standing area will be needed to house all these new appointments that folk seem to know about.
For now, my top three men to take over remain David Moyes, Brendan Rodgers and Michael O’Neill and in no particular order. So long as it’s the right choice and they are given what they need, I’d take whoever can help Celtic get back on the European map once more.
The Champions of 2016.