Celtic have enjoyed a spell of unriavlled sucess in the past few seasons, but with Steven Gerrard leading the Rangers renaissance and Hearts posing a potent threat, we debate whether Celtic's dominance is about to be ended.
Yes- Jack Smillie
For far too long now, Celtic have benefited enormously from a lack of genuine competition and opportune external factors that have led to a period of domination. This, however, will not last and Celtic can absolutely expect their hegemony to be broken this season.
Scottish football economics is a peculiar topic. Celtic, Scotland’s biggest club, still suffer from a hampered income stream and generate less income than any English Premier League club. A combination of both TV money and attendances decreasing as well as taxation mismanagement caused both Rangers and Hearts to enter administration. During these clubs’ dark days, Celtic were able to enjoy an unrivalled run of seven consecutive league wins, including two domestic trebles. Celtic now run the risk of stagnation and complacency.
Whilst Rangers are, historically, the world’s most successful football club, let’s assume that Hearts pose the biggest threat this season. Although, it would be unwise to rule out Gerrard’s Rangers at this early stage.
Indeed, Hearts currently have a slender league advantage over The Bhoys, as well as a psychological advantage, following a 1-0 home victory for the Tynecastle side back in August.
Hearts’ newfound clinical edge has quickly made them a formidable rival to the men in green and white. Whilst Hearts’ opening performances have been an exciting combination of dynamism and panache, Celtic have all too often appeared lacklustre and unconvincing. Celtic’s goalless draw with St Mirren in September sat particularly uncomfortably with their supporters.
After another disappointing performance, this time against RB Leipzig, Sky Sports’ Andy Walker argued that some players “didn’t look up to it” and “showed absolutely nothing”. If Celtic aren’t continuously performing near their best, then there will be worrying times ahead for a club which has almost become accustomed to winning.
Yes, it is still early days. But the loyalty of Hearts’ fans, the adeptness of the coaching staff and the quality of the squad is too impressive to go unrewarded for much longer.
No- Rory Ewart
Celtic have been nothing short of dominant in recent seasons. Back-to-back trebles and an unbeaten run of 69 games, the longest from a professional British club ever. Celtic are the hegemonic club in Scottish football currently, with nearest rivals Rangers still a couple of years away from being back to their best.
If football was a game of poker, Celtic in 2012 were handed a royal flush. It was then that inner-city rivals Rangers officially became liquidated. It was from there that they effectively had to start again, losing their best players who they could no longer afford to keep and being thrown all the way down to the then named Scottish Third Division (now called League Two). This led Celtic to title domination. Today they are sitting on seven league titles on the bounce, with little to no real threat occurring in these years.
But Rangers are now back and look to be forming a new identity that many would say isn’t far away from the pre-2012 days. Steven Gerrard is manager, and with that has come high profile arrivals, including English Premier League veterans Scott Arfield, Graham Dorrans and Kyle Lafferty. This, in addition with talented youngsters like Jon Flanagan and Ryan Kent, has meant that fans of the Gers are hungry for success soon.
This, in my opinion, is coming too soon. Rangers signed 15 players in the summer, and not even Real Madrid could compete for glory with so many new faces in their first season. Celtic had a disappointing summer for signings but can boast a squad full of league winners whereas Rangers, by contrast, only have two players in their squad who have won the Scottish Premier League.
Celtic are used to winning, they expect nothing less, for many clubs in Scotland just being in and around the Hoops is good enough for them. Rangers are realistically the only club with the financial power and squad to compete with them, but that comes with time, especially when you are a side with a manager in his maiden season of coaching at senior level, and a squad which was largely bought in the summer market.
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