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16 February 2024


So Wednesday night was an anti climax for some after all. As we were stumbling along on a fairly underrated league run a very rare occasion was anticipated which has been unusual this past 24 years living next door to Rangers.

They could have been top of the league on goal difference, just the sixth time since the Millennium and only once in the past 12 years but they might have been looking down on Celtic. Alas for the tax dodgers it wasn’t to be as Ross County spoilt the party and we remained on top and probably will be until the clash at Ibrox in April which could decide the title.

When I consider all the verbal shite  directed at players, managers and directors since this season started I really wonder what is wrong with some Celtic people. 17 titles since the millennium, many Scottish and League cups, triple treble winners, UEFA finalists ’03, magical nights in the Champions League against Europe’s finest, Man U, Juve, Liverpool, Benfica, Bayern, Inter, AC, Man City, Ajax et al, they were magical nights.

For the past almost quarter of a century we have been the dominant team in this city, it’s been a roller coaster of success which hopefully will continue but we all know that’s not the way football works.

Scottish football has been dominated by Celtic and Rangers almost from its inception barring a few periods when the great Hibs and Hearts teams of the 1950’s or Aberdeen in the 1980’s broke the dominance of the big Glasgow clubs.

Rangers won 26 titles from the end of WW1 until Jock Stein arrived at Paradise in 1965, nearly 50 years. Celtic might have had great success earlier with 10 titles in the first years of the 20th century but from the end of WW1 they only lifted 6 titles in almost 50 years.

Again after the great years under Stein we went another 20 years from ’82 till the Martin O’Neill years with only 3 titles. We have unfurled 17 championship flags at Paradise in a period of unbridled success and yet some people are still complaining.

It’s nearly impossible to comprehend, titles and cups galore, amazing European nights, 53,000 Season Tickets and 61,000 at every game yet back in the 1970’s and 1980’s attendances could be as low as 20,000.

We’ve had 7 managers in the last 24 years, O’Neill, Strachan, Mowbray, Lennon (twice), Delia, Rodgers (twice) and Ange, every time we’ve been told that ‘the Rangers are coming’, well except for a short spell around 2009-11 I’m still waiting!

What do our supporters want? Imagine any young person born since the millennium and witnessing 17 titles procured in style in 23 years, they must feel it’s their birthday and New Years Eve every May.

I’m not doubting the genuineness and passion of any supporter, we have a support unequalled in football, but why don’t they wait until May and see if the title ends up in the East End again or moves to Govan.

The modern world has made demands for instant gratification a salutary tale. Celtic are top of the league and have won 18 and lost 2 this season, hardly a dramatic  loss of form. Man U won 13 Premier titles under Fergie but now their fans can’t understand why they are not winning anymore.

Liverpool won 12 titles under Shankly/Paisley and 4 European Cups yet won nothing for 20 years after. Real Madrid won 6 European Cups in the first decade of the tournament yet never won it again for 30 years. Ajax won 4 European Cups yet could be relegated this season.

They are the storied clubs, what about being a Partick Thistle fan; known in England as ‘Partick Thistle Nil’ as Billy Connolly would say, would they be complaining if they ‘only’ won 17 titles since the millennium.

FFS if they had won one in their almost 150 year history they would be delirious, but they haven’t, although at least they have one Scottish Cup to show for their contribution to football, are they complainers, naysayers, social media nerds, moaning minnies?

The cliché, you can get too much of a good thing’ might be overused, as there really is nothing like too much of a good thing. When Ireland became an economic powerhouse in Europe during the Celtic Tiger we became the poster boys of the world, as Tommy Tiernan said, ‘the economists said we spent all the money and went skiing in the alps in the good times’. Sure what else were we supposed to do that’s why they were called the ‘good times’!


And it’s the same in football, the last 23 years have been the ‘good times’ and they are not over yet. Enjoy the party while it lasts, let Clemente and the ‘bears’ enjoy their moment in the sun at the moment but when we are looking down at them when we play at Paradise in May it’ll be;

‘come on over to my place,

hey Bhoys we’re having a party,

we’ll be swinging, dancing and singing,

come on over tonight’¬

Paddy McMenamin was born in Belfast with Donegal and Tyrone parents. He spent the 70’s in Long Kesh. He has been going to Paradise since the Benfica game in Nov. 1969. He lived in Donegal for 30 years but now lives in Galway. He returned to University at 50 and became a secondary school teacher of history and English.