Following Celtic’s 1-0 win over St Johnstone on Boxing Day, Celtic are 11 points clear at the top of the SPFL table going into the New Year. Celtic are on a 17 match unbeaten run and there has been increased talk of the team being able to go unbeaten for the whole season. Now I know most people will think that Celtic winning every single game should be expected, given the state of Scottish football and the gulf in class, but going a whole season unbeaten would be an incredible achievement and it shows how good this current Celtic team is. Last season Celtic’s league form suffered the weekend after Champions League games, with points being dropped against, Kilmarnock, St Johnstone, Inverness CT and Ross County. This seasons Champions League campaign has not gone well but the players attitude to the league this year has been better, with defeat being avoided after playing in Europe mid week.
There are many reasons to downplay Celtic’s successes in the league with the facts that Rangers are not back yet so where is the real competition? Hearts, who many saw as the third best team in Scotland, are in financial troubles and with a 15 point deduction and a depleted squad after having to sell their best players to fight off going bust. Hibernian, who are another big club are starting to rebuild under Terry Butcher so it will be a while before you could even consider them challengers to Celtic. Aberdeen and Dundee United are other big clubs in Scotland that just cannot compete with Celtic due to their financial power they have over everyone. Motherwell and Inverness CT have been Celtic’s biggest challengers in the season and a half Rangers have not been in the top league. At the end of the day though, none of these problems are Celtic’s and they can only beat what is put out in front of them each week.
Even though everyone expects Celtic to win the league every single year, and to be honest, there is no excuse for them not too, going the whole league season unbeaten deserves some praise if it were to happen. Of course, there is still a long way of the season to go yet. Celtic still have tricky trips away to Inverness and Dundee United, who always seem to cause an upset against Celtic. The standard of Scottish football is below that of many league around Europe but when Celtic play the likes of Inverness CT or Ross County, they play the game of their lives, everyone wants to beat Celtic, everyone will want to break their unbeaten record, everyone will put in that extra 10% if it means beating Celtic. Neil Lennon will have to keep the squad concentrated over the second half of the season because I am sure after the European failures this season, going a whole league campaign unbeaten and winning the Scottish Cup will be the next best thing.
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