FOOTBALL is often described as an unpredictable game. One thing that is predictable these days, however, is that Celtic are crowned Scottish Champions, such is the financial gap between them and the rest.
On Sunday, the Hoops clinched their sixth consecutive Premiership title with a thumping 5-0 win against Hearts at Tynecastle, often a difficult fixture for the men from Parkhead, a victory that emphasised that gap.
This season, Celtic have clinched the title with eight games to spare, 25 points clear of second placed Aberdeen having won 28 and drawn just two of their 30 matches this campaign.
With the League Cup under their belt, the Hoops are odds on to lift the treble in Brendan Rodgers first season in charge at the club, aiming to replicate the accomplishments fellow Northern Irishman Martin O’Neill achieved in 2000/01.
Opinion is split on Celtic’s campaign, with some cynics highlighting the gulf in class to downplay their achievements, saying it’s too easy for them given the lack of competition in Scottish Football.
Whilst those cynics may have a point, for a side to drop only four points after 30 league games in any country is a remarkable run of form and it takes a good side to maintain that level of consistency. Yes their budget is at least six times that of their nearest challenger Aberdeen, and three times that of their great rivals Rangers, but remaining undefeated this long into the season is very good going.
The main reason why Celtic have won the League so easily is because they’ve made it easy by being so consistent, making quality signings like Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair, and the improvements of players on the periphery at Celtic Park, such as James Forrest and Stuart Armstrong, strong candidates for Player of the Year.
All of this is down to Brendan Rodgers. The ex-Liverpool boss was appointed as Ronny Deila’s successor back in May to maintain Celtic’s domestic dominance and get the club back into the Champions League after two failed attempts, which was done thanks to a nervy win over Hapoel Beer Sheeva in August.
They found out very quickly how far away they are from having a team capable of challenging for a place in the last 16 of Europes elite competition, when they were trounced in Barcelona but did gain some respectability with two draws against Manchester City before exiting the tournament with just three points. Given the absence of Champions League Football the previous two years, being in the competition again was good enough for the Hoops.
Domestically, however, Celtic have been invincible. They’ve shown their superior quality all season, even in the odd game they haven’t played particularly well, and that’s down to
Rodgers getting the best out of them and not allowing his squad to get complacent. Players are responding to his demands to improve them and its paying dividends for the club.
Of course, Celtic’s resources far outweigh anyone else in the country, which always brings the argument that anyone can win the League for them right now. Whilst there is an element of truth, the reason Celtic have those resources is that they are very well run off the pitch and have been able to identify talent at a relatively cheap price then selling them for a hefty profit, case examples Victor Wanyama, Fraser Forster and Virgil Van Dijk.
They’ve used their resources wisely to bring in Dembele and Sinclair and still have plenty in reserve to bolster their squad, which will be needed for another tilt at qualifying for the Champions League next season.
For now though, Celtic can revel in their sixth consecutive title win. Regardless of what cynics say about the lack of competition in Scottish Football, this seasons romp was impressive and they should lap up their achievement, inspired by the management of Brendan Rodgers.
The big question now is, can their invincible domestic run carry on for the rest of the campaign and land them a treble? It’d take a brave man to bet against that!