Celtic were going to win the league. Unless we had a run of form in the remaining eight games that was worse than Heart’s form all season, and unless the team’s in second and third had played like Brazil 1970, we were going to tie up the title possibly around the time of the split. Despite their abysmal form from the winter break, Rangers would have almost certainly held on to second place, and the fight out would have been between Motherwell and Aberdeen for third and the final European spot.
Dundee United were coming up and Hearts were probably going down, with only an unexpected change of form from them, and a run of poor results for Hamilton making a difference. Hibs and St Johnston may have changed places and we don’t know who would have won the play-offs. Those, however, are the only uncertainties of significance affecting the top flight. Assuming the title was ours, Celtic were only two wins away from an incredible and unprecedented fourth treble in a row. With the teams still in the competition and with Celtics fantastic form and goal scoring prowess throughout this season, that would have been highly likely.
Obviously at this time there are more important things in life than football. Football is never a matter of life and death however this will pass, and football will in the future once again become an all-encompassing part of the lives of those of us who are passionate about the game and love our clubs. And our game has to be ready for that time when society is ready for it to start up again. Since football became as a mass spectator sport at the end of the 19th century, politicians have understood its importance. That is why the game was played during the First World War, and that is why despite the darkest days of the Second World War, mass spectator events at football grounds still took place.
I’ve read people saying that it is petty to be debating football during in this time, but it’s not, football matters. Football is one of the anchors around which those of us that are passionate about it, centre our lives. Probably like me, family and football are the two things that give you your greatest joys in life and no doubt you cannot wait to get back and savour every aspect of those anchors; to hug the family members that you cannot meet and to hug your fellow Celtic supporters when the ball hits the back of the net in our first game back.
In all of this debate around how Scottish football will end the 2019/2020 season and prepare itself for whatever the future brings, the discussion that seems to be missed is what the supporters are being asked to give up. Many of the clubs voting are largely unaffected by what they are voting for. There are a handful of teams such as Partick Thistle and Queen of the South, where nobody knows where they would have finished in the league had the remaining eight to nine games happened, but for the vast majority whether they were going to be involved in a title push or relegation challenge was known. We were highly likely to win another treble. Hearts were likely to go down and Dundee United were definitely coming up but the supporters (especially of the triumphant clubs) want to be there. Football is all about the joy of the moment and in calling the leagues we will be deprived of that joy.
It is therefore not in the interests of Celtic fans for the season to finish early. We were winning the league but as fans we all want to be there when it happens and celebrate with our friends and family. Ending prematurely deprives us of that moment. I suspect that the Scottish Cup semi-finals and finals will be at the start of next seasons campaign and if so, they are highly likely to happen in empty stadiums, and we’ll be watching on the television. It will be fun, but not that much fun.
It is important that fans of lesser Glasgow clubs are not allowed to warp the narrative about who is driving this move to call the season. This is all about providing financial support of those clubs in greatest need. This is all about allowing clubs to make some preparation for the next season. This is about having a completed season for all stakeholders in our game. This is about the needs of the game as a whole.
I would dearly love this season to be completed. I’d love it to be completed to enjoy that moment of clinching the 9th title in a row but that doesn’t look like it’s possible. Fans of envious clubs are trying to change the narrative in an attempt to belittle our successes and I also want to league campaign completed so that nobody can question our deserved league title and the ninth title in a row. But we know some will and so the solution for Celtic is this -however, the season is completed, we win it and we secure nine in a row. We then win 10 in a row, and 11 in a row, and 12 in a row, and 13 in a row, and 14 in a row, and we hammer home the message that when the playing field is equal and we all live within our means Glasgow is now and forever a dear green place.