Standards was the word to conjure with when Celtic’s 2-1 win at Ross County seemed to define this evaporating title race with domestic football now on hiatus for the World Cup.
Fourth best in 132 years
Celtic’s majestic league form may not have received its full recognition in the wake of the Rangers split. The nine-point lead in the Premiership that has Ange Postecoglou’s men poised to win the title is the product of 14 wins and one loss from their opening 15 games. To give that context, this record dwarfs Jock Stein’s first 15 league games in a Lisbon Lions campaign, or even Willie Maley’s six-match squad from the first decade of the 20th century. In fact, only three times since the first Scottish league season of 1890-91 have Celtic had a better record in their opening 15 league games. Martin O’Neill’s administration in the early 2000s accounts for two of these. In 2001–02 Celtic won 17 and drew one of their first 18 league games. In 2003-04, when Celtic set the longest winning record in Scottish top-flight history with 25 wins in a row, they put together that sequence after drawing their first game. Then there was Brendan Rodgers’ invincible treble-winning campaign in 2016-17. Celtic had a draw, in their fifth game, and 26 wins from their first 27 league games.
Beating the invincibles of the Rangers league
Rangers had a league campaign for the ages in 2020-21 when Steven Gerrard led his team to the title without losing a game in the pandemic, the season without fans. The Postecoglou side, although they have recorded a loss, are even beating the Ibrox side ever since, unbelievably, as it stands. The Rangers put up 26 points in their first 15 games three seasons ago. Celtic now have 27 points.
Total ignorance in the interruption of the minute of silence
It was truly embarrassing that the Remembrance minute’s silence at Celtic Park was abandoned after around 20 seconds due to chants and isolated whistles and boos throughout the arena. The commemoration period can feel like it has been hijacked for political purposes in some quarters over the last few decades. However, as with wearing a white poppy, Celtic, like many on the left, choose to reclaim it. Unfortunately, his dissenting supporters were too ignorant to hear or understand that. The club’s announcer made it clear that the commemoration was for all those who had lost their lives in the conflict. It was therefore for the human rights protesters killed by the British Army on Bloody Sunday. It was for the thousands of ordinary Iraqis whose lives were considered merely collateral as they were bombarded by the shock-and-awe war crimes of the US-UK axis earlier this millennium. You can’t point fingers at the Green Brigade for what happened at Celtic Park on Sunday. They refused to take their places until just after kick-off, although it must be said that they soon went sectarian with their ‘Orange Bs’ choruses in response to the erratic officiating.