In many ways the season is a watershed for not just Celtic but Scottish football. Celtic’s previously proclaimed ‘stand alone’ policy is now a reality and it is one which the whole club should genuinely embrace and seek to develop not just in the short term but also for the long term good of the club. Celtic have never had any problem in identifying their key characteristics and defining components. We have always been a club that heralds what we stand for rather than what we stand against.
The 125 year history which the club are celebrating this season is a testimony to those successive generations of supporters who have followed the club through good times and bad.
Potentially, what we have on offer this season is a developing group of players put together by Neil Lennon who have the making of being a really enjoyable team to watch. Roll back to a couple of months ago and the end of last season provided a clear player of the season in Charlie Mulgrew but looking more closely there were half a dozen players who could justifiably have been in with a shout of the award. Joe Ledley, James Forrest, Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper all weighed in with telling contributions to the team cause. Alongside this we witnessed the emergence of young players like Adam Matthews. Yes, Celtic have lost a couple of experienced players and ideally it would be nice to see a new centre back and a forward before the transfer window shuts but let’s make no mistake Celtic have a lot of strength in depth in the squad and the type of players who want to play a modern style of attacking inventive football. Of course this inventive element is needed to unlock the packed defences of SPL opposition clubs which we witness on numerous occasions.
Obviously the big target for Celtic, apart from retaining the SPL title, is to secure a Champions League Group stage spot. There is no doubt that a minimum 6 game stint in this competition fuels the interest of the support and makes for some thrilling nights at Parkhead. While going through the qualifiying stages is a tough route there are again signs from last season’s Europa League games to show that this Celtic side has the ability and application to produce decent results against better quality European opposition.
So while many in the mainstream media will inevitably this season drift away to writing about sideshows elsewhere in Scottish football I am sure we will see a Celtic team that entertains and endorses the previous work done by Neil Lennon and the backroom staff in putting together a young exciting squad of players. Their performances on the park can serve to be a fitting tribute to 125 years of Celtic history.
Enjoy this season.