When the final whistle blows on Saturday and the curtain drops on another incredible league season for Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic, fans can take comfort in knowing that, in just 70 days’ time, the league championship flag will once again fly high above the Celtic Park pitch. There is, of course, the small matter of a Scottish Cup final for fans to enjoy a mere seven days after our final league game but that still means there are nine whole weeks without Celtic.
No excuse to spend the whole day away from the wife and kids, no sesh on the bus to the far-flung corners of Scotland. Instead, days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months and soon you’ll be able to get excited at the prospect of seeing the Bhoys in Japan against Wolves and Yokohama F Marinos. Until then though, just how do you fill the time?
Lucky ones will get the chance to take that well-earned break somewhere across the world, from Santa Ponsa to San Marino, Dubai to Delhi and Tenerife to Tiree. No matter where you go this summer, you’re bound to find a fellow Celtic fan, hoops on, and that glancing smile that acknowledges that both of you know, “That’s a good guy”.
There are the ITKs (In the Knows) who’ll tell you that “announcements are imminent… stick your money on this guy signing… the word I’m hearing is…” Some will have remnants of truth to them, others… yeah, not so much. Eventually, official confirmation arrives, (the ITKs always knew this player was signing, of course) and the message comes out across the social media channels – Welcome to Celtic!
Immediately you get two types of fans. The fans who automatically write the player off, whether it be for his stats from last season or where he’s come from, and then the fans who immediately fawn over the player, making comparisons to previous heroes. The inevitable interview drops, “Once I heard of Celtic’s interest, I knew this is where I wanted to play my football,” and the sceptics then usually drop their concerns and everyone is excited to see them pull on the jersey.
You’ll hear the old tired argument, “Aw, it must get boring winning all the time,” and let’s be honest, you only ever hear that from fans – yep you guessed it – whose team rarely wins anything! Incredible that, eh?
It is important, though, to enjoy the success and not to take it for granted. It sickened me to watch Man City fans accept that winning the league title is their right in such a dismissive manner that only a handful of fans turned up outside the Etihad to celebrate when it was confirmed they had won. “Do you really think fans are going to turn up when the game is tomorrow… who would even expect that?” Seeing reactions like that on TikTok videos confirmed, not that it was ever in doubt, how much of a plastic club City has become. Something I pray never happens to Celtic.
So, go enjoy the summer as much as you can. It’s the part of the year that football fans love and hate in equal measure. And remember, it’s also a time for reflection, a time to celebrate success, and to enjoy the real bragging rights, no matter what some in the media would try and have us believe.
Soon August will arrive, the turnstiles will click and the song will ring out, “For it’s a grand old team to play for and it’s a grand old team to see,” Callum will lead out the 53-times champions of Scotland and we’ll go again because we never stop. It’s not just a saying, it’s a way of life as a Celtic fan.