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Neil Lennon and Celtic have no excuses if Rangers stop 10 - Keevins

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That Steven Gerrard’s a lucky man.

If the lockdown hadn’t intervened in March and Celtic had gone to Ibrox, beaten Rangers and moved 16 points clear at the top of the Premiership table, the manager would have faced calls for his dismissal from his own fans.

Calls the Ibrox hierarchy might have found it impossible to throw out of the court of public opinion.

You couldn’t be accused of an over-active imagination if you think that scenario was eminently possible.

Now, instead of being 90 minutes from the sack, the manager’s employers have found a magic money tree and provided Gerrard with funds to buy the players he needs to avoid the next brush with the bullet.

The nightmare scenario for him is that Celtic get a quadruple Treble for their Christmas by winning the Scottish Cup Final then go on to 10 In A Row.

(Image: SNS Group)

At which point Steven can set off down the road for a reunion with his family on Merseyside – and no one will block his path on the way to the front door on Edmiston Drive.

On the basis that one man’s immortality is another man’s infamy, Gerrard could always prevent Ten In A Row from happening, of course, and inflict a watershed moment on Celtic in general – and Neil Lennon in particular.

There will be no mitigating circumstances available to the Hoops manager who has worked wonders in the aftermath of Brendan Rodgers’ sudden departure.

Some Celtic fans see Leicester City’s collapse in the closed-door finale to a title race that once had them in contention for a Champions League place as a judgment from above.

Now they will cast out into the wilderness anyone who lets them down in the pursuit of the Holy Grail.

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Eternal damnation, it’s the only fit punishment. But it now remains to be seen if there is a divine providence that halts Celtic and Rangers at nine titles in succession and prevents one or the other from re-writing history.

I have lived through three nine-in-a-row events, starting with Celtic’s championship win at Motherwell 54 years ago.

That run, completed in 1975, was the best because of the quality of the opposition.

Can you imagine winning a European trophy and appearing in another European final but not being able to win your own domestic league?

That fate befell Rangers and spoke volumes for Celtic’s achievement in being dominant for so long in so distinguished a field.

But a flag unfurled inside an empty stadium, as will happen at Celtic Park this afternoon, is still a championship flag.

There’s no need for talk about an asterisk and no room for claims that Celtic’s nine is somehow blemished by Rangers’ absence from the major league for four seasons.

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League business does not go into suspended animation because a club mismanaged its business affairs all the way ultimately to liquidation.

By the same token, titles are not tainted by the payment of EBTs unless someone can prove illegality on Rangers’ part – and that has yet to happen.

Whatever’s coming down the track this season, you’ll need to accept it. It’s like the SPFL’s judgment to call last season’s league early due to the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic, a decision upheld in law last week.

Just because you don’t like that outcome doesn’t mean it’s the wrong one.

(Image: Craig Foy/SNS Group)

If the rule of law is not your thing then stand over there with the fly-tippers and face mask refuseniks while the rest get on with the game.

And getting on with the game really should be our biggest worry. If there’s a second wave of coronavirus then I’m told the SPFL could withstand a two-week break.

But not a two-month interruption.

There are no contingency plans for what would happen in that eventuality and no talks scheduled because some clubs do not trust the SPFL’s administration.

So if the worst happens, the next course of action will be determined by a vote – and we all know where one of those got us the last time.

Meantime, the arbitration panel who relegated Hearts and Partick Thistle will now meet to decide who bears the legal cost of going to The Court of Session.

God forbid anything happens but if the Premiership has to be stopped again this season it might be cheaper to go on the Judge Rinder programme and make it pay-per-view to watch him decide who wins the league.


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