Despairing fans lashed out in many directions at all things Celtic as the team lurched from one poor performance to another. 10IAR looked as lost as Neil Lennon seemed to be. But it’s not all over by any means.
It was always going to be a tough season. If 10IAR is ever to be achieved in Scottish football, it’s not going to come easily. The record breaking team who deliver such long running success will have to work hard to do so. With 12 successive trophies freshly in the bag and the quadruple treble historically sealed, Celtic have the credentials to secure the ten.
Do they still have the opportunity and ability to do so? Just like the quadruple treble, 10IAR will have legendary status and isn’t likely to ever be repeated. It’s now or very possibly never. Whatever opportunity may still remain for Celtic has to be treasured and not relinquished easily.
After their horrendous run of form, they do at least seem to have stabilised to some extent. Long-term underlying issues still need to be resolved for the future. Other problems are beginning to ease and positive results are being banked. The availability of more players for selection has rejuvenated competition for places and there is a fresher air about the squad.
An air of positive hope is circulating again. It’s a huge points gap between them and the Rangers. But there are some signs of a slight turn in their form too, the Cup loss against St Mirren and a controversial win against Hibernian, who had a couple of very strong penalty claims denied by Willie Collum.
There will be increased pressure at Ibrox to stay in the lead, to avoid a collapse of form and to handle the tougher fixture list with European games too. They have no experience on handling all that.
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The points gap in the league between Celtic and the Rangers may look daunting but it’s not all it seems with three games in hand for the Hoops and of course three more Glasgow Derby fixtures to come. There are no certainties in assuming wins for all those matches. But nobody at Parkhead is planning to lose any.
Also daunting is the visit to Ibrox on 2nd January. A fragile Celtic defence, a stuttering midfield and a misfiring forward line suggested a tough experience for Hoops fans. But with a few more settled performances in the bag, with that fourth treble gathered successfully, bravery from Lennon in changing personnel and with the duo of Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths getting back some semblance of form, all is not lost.
It was always going to be a crunch match and an important game in the bigger scheme of things. It’s certainly going to make a difference and any sort of result for Celtic there could trigger a turn in momentum. It’s not out of the question. It’s certainly possible and plausible, but needs a much better performance than they have produced for a while, especially in those Derby matches.
Clubs like Celtic fight to secure historic triumphs and a fight is definitely still on, for now.