I thought I’d dust off my keyboard and start writing again. Football has been on hold for over a month now, but with the immediate future of the game in debate, the drama is just beginning.
With the exception of the few, every nation has been affected by coronavirus. It has devastated the world.
The reality of the pandemic has altered our outlook on life. I have to admit that whilst Celtic and football are amongst my greatest passions, I have not been able to concern myself with anything other than welfare of my family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.
My profession as a keyworker has been equal to family in that I have had to balance both areas. So there has been little breathing space for creativity with the exception of educating and entertaining my children at home.
Lately, talk of how to resolve matters in the domestic game in Scotland have come to a head. Sport seems minor against the canvas of a pandemic crisis, but football is also a business and the business world is suffering too.
The global economy is in a boxing ring with coronavirus and it cannot get back to its corner. It’s bleeding and we won’t know just how bad the injuries are until the final round has gone and we assess the long term damage.
Scottish football, like many other busineses across the world is trying to find a resolution to this limbo state. A lot of idle talk has been spouted across social media as well as in the media and it’s only now after a period of dealing with lockdown that people are beginning to think about the future again.
We are far from being out of the woods with this pandemic, but I think people have become accustomed to the way they have had to live their lives of late. A little bit more attention on dealing with matters that have been on hold is both constructive and necessary.
Of course when it comes to Scottish football, things are never straightforward. With or without a pandemic going on there is no panacea when it comes the game in Scotland.
In an ideal world we would love to see the season out. No team more than Celtic in fact.
With 9IAR and a quadruple treble on the table Celtic are the only Scottish team in a position continue to makimg history right now. There isn’t one fan or player at the club who wouldn’t want to see this season through, but it appears matters are shifting towards ending the season as it stands.
The divisions below the Scottish Premiership have already awarded the titles to Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers. The newly crowned Scottish Championship and League One winners each had a convincing points lead over their nearest challenger as well as a superior goal difference.
Does that remind you of another league in Scottish football? Seems very familiar to me.
With eight games remaining for most clubs, I think the only league championship that was realistically still in a race was Scottish League One. Celtic, Dundee United and Cove Rangers all shared similar standings that put them way out in front of their nearest rivals.
Whilst every SPFL division remained mathematically open to two clubs each at the very least, it was extremely unlikely that those in top spot would throw it away. However, there was a very strong and obvious case that Scottish League One was going down to the wire.
Raith Rovers were only 1 point ahead of Falkirk with the latter in possession of a far superior goal difference. They were just 4 points ahead of Aidrieonians, who were a single point ahead of Montrose and with East Fife only 2 points behind in fifth place, this Championship was wide open with only 8 points separating 1st and 5th place.
There are a few clubs that can rightly feel aggrieved about these developments and League One should be one of them, though with complete professionalism Falkirk accepted this albeit reluctantly. I take my hat off to them and the top five of that league for doing so.
Clubs suffering relegation, when there was still a possibility of surviving the drop is a tough deal. With talk of restructuring the leagues as a potential solution, the majority have accepted the situation.
I don’t see how Rangers, Inverness Caledonian Thistle or Edinburgh City would have made up the ground or the goal difference in their respective leagues. You would get great odds though it would be a wasted bet.
In the case of the Scottish Premiership, a title race was alive as 2019 drew to a close. Though by the time the season restarted after the winter break, the Ibrox club had all but thrown in the towel.
There was no way they were catching Celtic as the games rolled by. Between late January and early March of this year, respective results by each club in the league were night and day as you can see from the illustration at the top.
The only competition Rangers had a slender chance of progress in was the Europa League. Yet winning that is as much a fantasy as it would have been catching Celtic which is why all we’ve heard from the Ibrox hordes are the null and void cries.
Put simply, it’s their only hope of halting Celtic’s march towards a ninth successive title and it’s not even on the table. After the winter break Celtic came back all guns blazing and Rangers didn’t have the answers.
The truth is Celtic won the title before the league was suspended having earned an extra 11 points and scored an extra 23 goals this year alone. That isn’t a title race, that’s a Celtic masterclass.
Not one sane person believed the title race was still on. If you believe Rangers’ 1872 and 2012 are one and the same then you might be one of the few that did.
We can talk mathematics until we’re royal blue in the face. The key fact is that Steven Gerrard’s second season was over before coronavirus gripped the nation.
Rangers never returned from their winter break. Celtic did and with real conviction.
9IAR was only a few games away for Neil Lennon officially. It wouldn’t have gone down to the last game especially with two games against Rangers.
With a semi final against Aberdeen on the horizon, Celtic were 90 minutes from the Scottish Cup Final and a quadruple treble. More history in the making.
These are all things that are real. Everything at Ibrox of late is fantasy.
I’ll give them full credit for pushing us at Christmas. The warning signs were there in the League Cup Final when we probably should have lost, but after defeat at Celtic Park in the last game of 2019 we came back strong in 2020.
They made a good bit of progress in the Europa League, making it one round beyond us. After one leg though that looks dead too having succumbed to defeat on home soil.
There is nothing left on the table for them. Two seasons under Gerrard and no trophies.
It was our title to throw away and that’s what Rangers required. That and for them to stop haemorrhaging points too and that showed no signs of abating judging by their form.
Celtic will be crowned Champions and deservedly so. The Scottish Cup may eventually get played over the summer behind closed doors as it’s only three fixtures and four teams.
Until anything official is announced, it’s all just conjecture of course. There is however only one outcome to this and it involves Celtic as justifiable Champions once again.
Stay safe and stay home.