So there we have it.
Last summer, my nan accidentally got on the wrong bus, realised her mistake when she unexpectedly saw Celtic Park out of the window, got off, wandered to the stadium to ask for directions to her house, and ended up becoming the Celtic manager.
She then spent several months knitting and baking cakes while Celtic happened to win the Dog and Duck Sunday League by simply turning up.
What an ‘achievement’ eh? Her friends have all told her she should be embarrassed to have anything to do with this pretend ‘success’. They also said that my nan’s nan could have won the pub league despite dying decades ago and having being a staunch member of the Temperance movement who would’t have had anything to do with a pub-connected competition.
They left my nan in no doubt that her nan is spinning in her grave at her granddaughter’s association with such an embarrassing uncompetitive spectacle, and urged her to get a job at a better club in a bigger league. Or else finally find out which bus route will get her home…
The above is – of course – a (laboured!) parody of what the ill-informed and mean-spirited would have you believe about Celtic’s achievement in winning the SPFL Premiership today without having yet lost a game.
Yes, Celtic do have by far the biggest resources of any club (or ‘club’) in Scotland.
Yes, they have won the league by some distance.
Yes, it is their sixth successive title.
Yes, it is quite likely that other Scottish teams will struggle to challenge Celtic for a few years yet.
These things are all true. But in response I say “so what?”.
Because, at the risk of stating the blindingly obvious… Celtic have worked damned hard on and off the pitch for many years to get where they are now. They have also shown some pragmatic ambition. For example, they pushed the boat out to secure the services of Brendan Rodgers during the summer and gave him some backing in the transfer market. With money that was theirs to spend.
As well as bringing in some new players, Rodgers has had a transformative effect on individual players as well as the team as a whole. He has made them a significantly more entertaining and potent force than they were last season, getting them back into the Champions League after an infuriating absence, and making them (so far) unbeatable in Scotland.
This success hasn’t all happened by accident or through underhand means. It has been earned. And that makes it all the more praiseworthy.
Some folk will doubtless continue to sneer, and to question what joy there can possibly be in winning yet another title by such a distance.
The answer is simple and easy to find. It is etched on the faces of beaming/ drunk Celtic fans everywhere. Especially perhaps those who remember some very lean years and who will rightly never take anything for granted.
As for The Clumpany, I choose to express my joy in my own unique way.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am away to watch some real ‘pub league’ highlights. Or ‘Match of the Day’ as they are more commonly known… 😉
Congratulations to everyone who made Celtic’s 2016-17 Premiership title happen.