Blogs & Opinion


Andy Walker reflects on Celtic's season

Features - Andy Walker Posted 15th April 2013 view comments

Celtic will be looking to put on a title party this weekend when Inverness Caley Thistle travel to Glasgow on Sunday for the first of the post-split fixtures live on Sky.

Clearly, championship winners in every league deserve praise for their efforts over the course of a long and demanding season but it's fair to say this has been a campaign like no other.

Neil Lennon: Going for a Scottish Cup and league double

Neil Lennon: Going for a Scottish Cup and league double

When Rangers were liquidated and eventually placed into the bottom tier of Scottish football last summer, it left Celtic without a reasonable challenge for this season's title.

The simple truth is that no other SPL club can compete with the Glasgow giants in terms of resources, spending power, depth of squad and quality of player leaving this SPL title success as a foregone conclusion before a ball was kicked.

A Scottish Cup final against Hibs at the end of May might just bring a double success but I can't see how this title triumph can be anything like as satisfying as the one Neil Lennon and his players delivered last year.

Andy Walker
Quotes of the week

Live on Sky

Celtic v Inverness CT
\n12.45, Sun, Sky Sports 4 HD

Keeping his players motivated to produce a level of performance that the paying customer deserved was difficult for Neil Lennon and to be fair to him, he has managed to provide a few highlights over the course of the year.

Highlights

Undoubtedly, qualifying for the knockout phase of the Champions League served up the type of occasion that will live long in the memory for every Celtic supporter.

Not only did Celtic see off the challenge of Benfica & Spartak Moscow but to also beat Barcelona in front of their own supporters was truly magnificent.

Eventually, overcoming Juventus proved to be a step too far in trying to navigate a two-legged affair but taking part in Europe's premier club competition kept everyone's mood buoyant in the absence of any genuine title threat.

Most of the Celtic support thought a domestic treble would be on the cards but losing to St Mirren at Hampden in a League Cup semi-final put paid to that dream.

A Scottish Cup final against Hibs at the end of May might just bring a double success but I can't see how this title triumph can be anything like as satisfying as the one Neil Lennon and his players delivered last year.

Just before the turn of the year, a strong Rangers side led by Ally McCoist held a 15-point lead over their greatest rivals. Overcoming that type of deficit is surely much more convincing than securing this title in what has effectively been a one-horse race?

Missing rivals

The challenge now for Neil Lennon is to ensure that same level of excitement is available for the supporters next season.

Some of my best memories as a Celtic player were competing against Rangers and coming out on top. It's always satisfying to beat strong opposition and I have missed the Old Firm derbies this year.

Even allowing for the intense rivalry, I have been taken aback at the number of Celtic fans who don't miss that type of challenge. In my view, when Rangers are back competing with Celtic for domestic success, the better it'll be for our game.

So yes, I'm sure all the Celtic players will reflect on their efforts this season and be pleased at having a winners' medal to show for it.

Believe me, their pleasure at succeeding when there's strong opposition to overcome is far greater.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Gary Neville

Nev: Ron return 'more possible'

Gary Neville has responded to the rumours that Manchester United could bring back Cristiano Ronaldo....

Jamie Carragher

Carra: Toon players 'a disgrace'

As pressure mounts on Alan Pardew, Jamie Carragher says Newcastle’s players must work harder....

Graeme Souness

Souness: Gunner win the group

Graeme Souness says Arsenal will in their group and have potential to go far in Europe this season....

Latest News RSS feeds

Ronaldo return ‘in place’

Everything is in place for Cristiano Ronaldo to make a dream return to Manchester United, says Guillem Balague.

West Ham fight back to draw

West Ham twice came from behind to earn a battling 2-2 draw with Hull City in an entertaining clash at the KC Stadium.

Sky Sports Today

All the build-up to the return of the Champions League plus reaction to Monday Night Football in our live blog

Live transfer updates

Eden Hazard tipped for big money Chelsea deal plus latest on speculation linking Cristiano Ronaldo with a Manchester United return.

Defensive worries for Arsenal

Arsenal are facing a defensive crisis ahead of their Champions League opener against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

Features

Champions League Goal Zone: See goals as they go in on Soccer Special

Champions League Goal Zone: See goals as they go in on Soccer Special

The Champions League is back and you can keep up with all the action in our brand-new Goal Zone on Sky Sports News HQ.

Same old story for Liverpool?

Same old story for Liverpool?

It is five years since the famous Champions League music was heard blaring out of the Anfield sound-system.

Champions League: Shinji Kagawa is back where he belongs playing for Borussia Dortmund and Jurgen Klopp

Champions League: Shinji Kagawa is back where he belongs playing for Borussia Dortmund and Jurgen Klopp

“The best moment was the ‘Shinji Kagawa’ chant during the warm-up. It hasn’t been that loud for a long time.” Jurgen Klopp isn’t one to mask his excitement. Shinji Kagawa is back in more ways than one.