Sports Magazine

Points Proven

By Thebhoymcclay @thebhoymcclay7

Celtic cannot allow media outlets, pundits and commentators to overshadow this seasons’ achievements, in what is turning out to be a league campaign which will be secured through sporting integrity, diligence and hard work.

Notwithstanding the 10 point deduction, Celtic were four points ahead of the game and powering home like a thoroughbred. Neil Lennons’ warriors galvanized, confident and with the momentum of a runaway train – are on an unbeaten run which has not been emulated since a decade past when Martin O’Neill’s inspiration guided his own Celtic team – captained by the current manager – to a domestic treble. A swing in the Bhoys favour of seventeen points had already been overturned in a whirlwind period of fifty-three winter days and had left Ally McCoist and his Rangers team on the ropes. The knockout blow was to come, and everyone in green & white and across the city knew it – The Valentine’s day rebuff from HMRC has only brought the celebrations forward, and likewise with my experience from the closing stages of the 1999/2000 season – Rangers fans will want the curtain drawn on 2011/2012 as soon as possible. The only way Celtic can end this campaign negatively, is with a winning margin which does not reflect their on-field superiority.

Hours before the Govan Road was turned into a scene reminiscent of the Kim Jong-Ill funeral procession, Peter Lawell mirrored the viewpoint of the majority of Celtic fans when stating that the club does not, and will not need a strong Rangers side in the SPL for its own survival. Furthermore, Celtic would see this as a building block to a resurgent, and successful period in its history, where it would look to not only dominate in Scotland – but to take a significant step in European competition.

In Lennon, Celtic have a man who learned from one of the great managers of our times, and an individual steeped in hooped history. In his time as manager, Neil Lennon has, even this season, been close to the brink. At half-time at Rugby Park I was even doubting his managerial credentials, but again he battled back and from the depths of despair, Celtic resurrected their season beyond most fans own wildest dreams.

The squad built by Neil and his scouting network is young, dynamic and full of quality. Against Hearts recently, in the four nil Tynecastle victory, the average age of the starting XI was 23 – a statistic even the boss would have not envisaged at the start of his reign, feeling experienced individuals such as Jimmy Bullard and David James would be more beneficial than pure raw talent with little big game experience. Alex Ferguson was able to prove to Alan Hansen, that kids can win trophies – on top of last season’s Scottish Cup triumph, this Celtic team can gain an enormous amount of confidence and self belief with a domestic treble, the destiny of which, is very much within the teams control. A team which grows year on year, and can add silverware to its ongoing development – is conducive to building a historic and legendary legacy much, like the Lisbon Lions and Jock Stein created for themselves.

The next level of progression has to be the Champions League and the elite European competition has produced many Jekyll and Hyde results in the last eleven or so years staggered participation. Gordon Strachan, was able to guide his team twice to the knockout stages where even O’Neill could not, with a mixture of homegrown talent and experience from further afield. Bankier and Lawell now need to stand by their man, and with their full support and the stability of the team, they could be writing their own history.

Only time will tell how fulfilling any future domination can bring if the ongoing downsizing at Rangers continues – that is why it is up to the rest of Scottish Football to step up and show they can cement a challenge worthy of the leagues continuing funding and support.

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