So Kilmarnock beat us for the first time at Celtic Park since 10th December 1955. To be honest I didn’t believe it had been that long. We’ve had Neil Lennon state it was his fault. Adam Matthews saying there were no excuses. Kris Commons perplexed. The Daily Record predictably marking this historic occasion by publishing a report of that 1955 match and so it goes on.
Yes it was unexpected. Yes we were rubbish and yes “Lilmarnock” were more motivated and energetic. Apart from the fact that we didn’t have a ‘leader’ on the park we are ignoring something quite fundamental…Kilmarnock are actually a good team and can play a game at a tempo that I enjoy watching.
Personally, I believe that with Rangers going into liquidation and disappearing off our immediate planet has taken the urgency and focus off our league performances. Historically the first result we looked for was the old RFC one. How often were we gutted at learning they had snatched an extra time equaliser or winner or humped some rabbit in the headlights of life and increased their GD? Now they are not around to help our team focus on the need for a win I am seeing a softer side to our play, with a slightly less imperative and certainly with less tempo. The fear factor has gone.
Like Sevco we are learning to play in a new world and adapting to a new era. If pressed I admit I like this league…I like the competitiveness…I am seeing confidence returning and the emergence of truly gifted young Scottish players across the SPL. We could just be entering a golden era where economic reality has set in and at last clubs are reaping the rewards of their youth policy.
We at Celtic will also benefit from this golden era as our domestic competiveness will only get better as the opposition get better, more consistent. I am lucky to be able to watch quite regularly European football and trust me the SPL has many players the match of some of the lesser countries.
Of course I’m not advocating we are at the consistent level of La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga or even the Premiership however look at Hearts performance against Liverpool and our performances this season.
The whole of the football world is having to adjust [with a few notable exceptions] to the new economic landscape and we in Scotland are ahead of the curve on that one. Yes, life will still be tough for our clubs and for one across the city perhaps even tougher but things can only get better from now on.
Let’s not forget the reason why, back in the day, Celtic were such a respected and feared football team in European competitions was because our domestic league was so competitive and packed with home-grown football talent.
I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season and seeing our squad get stretched and challenged at home and in Europe.
Bring it on!