Don’t know about you – but I cringe every time I hear or read about how Celtic are going to stroll to the 2012/13 SPL title.
Sure, with TFOD sunk (though, sadly, NOT without trace, courtesy of the collective cowardice and subservience of our spineless, shameless football authorities), the Hoops are, unquestionably, overwhelming favourites. However, there are two or three rival contenders who will sense that they will never have had a better chance of mounting a serious challenge than they will have this time around.
After all, the absence of the former establishment club removes one of their main obstacles; and they are likely to harvest several more points against the successors to “Club 12” than they otherwise would in those four meetings, thereby boosting their likely championship tally. I know … so should Celtic; but it’s a factor in the equation, which, added to the certain-to-be heightened relish of the likes of Hearts, Dundee United and maybe one or two others, will serve to galvanise the competition more than usual.
Then there’s what, after yesterday’s Olympics Road Race shenanigans, I’d call the “Mark Cavendish Factor” – everybody else in the field will be hoping, even more than they normally do (oops … there’s my chronic paranoia slipping again), that it’s anyone but Celtic; and going the extra mile to encourage and bring about just such an outcome.
Finally, though yesterday’s more-than-decent showing against a lively Inter Milan gave some grounds for cautious optimism, we all know this Celtic squad (which, remember, remains under significant siege in the current transfer market) is far from the finished article … very much a work-in-progress … so nothing should be getting taken for granted.
I’m sure Neil and his team are not being seduced by all the one-horse-race propaganda that’s doing the rounds currently, sometimes in quarters that really should know better. Hopefully, they will be sounding the counter message loud and clear throughout the dressing room as we stand on the threshold of renewed challenges on the European and domestic fronts.
So, no complacency, please, as we embark on a campaign in which the seeds of our potential downfall are being gleefully scattered on the winds of hot air and malevolent insincerity emanating from the usual suspects.
C’mon the Hoops!!!