When Celtic won 9IAR in the 60s and 70s, it was against a legitimate Rangers, one who were simply bettered by a superior Parkhead side. We took it on the chin, hated it, and were determined to get our own back. In the 90s we did – we legitimately took on a Celtic side who suffered their own money problems in the early portion of the decade, but who still managed a season with just a single loss and STILL couldn’t beat Rangers to the title.
These were two credible runs of 9 titles which were never disputed for a second by either side.
Things have changed, however.
Once Rangers’ EBT loan scheme was exposed, Celtic fans decided, unlike many of their players of the time, that the titles were illegitimate. Somehow, paying a player bigger money through a loan scheme meant a 0-3 loss at Parkhead didn’t really happen, even though Celtic used the same schemes themselves.
And then we get to present day. And the biggest comedy of all. There is every chance Rangers will win the league this season. It’s possible, and Celtic know Steven Gerrard’s men are a real threat now.
But if ever a league run was illegitimate, it was this one.
Five of these league titles are completely void by SPL levels – not because of money, ‘cheating’, or any other salacious accusations – but simply because winning the SPL means overcoming Rangers, Celtic, or both.
If none of these three things happen, it’s not a valid title.
In 2012 a crumbling Rangers fell horribly after the loss of Naismith and the plunge into admin.
Then Celtic had three free shots at the title – 2013, 2014, and 2015.
In reality, 2016 too, when Rangers, now-promoted, had an absolute bombscare squad barely capable of finishing third.
And yet, Celtic try to take these titles as legitimate?
Who. On. Earth. Are. They. Kidding?
The only valid titles in Scotland are against a full-strength Rangers or a full-strength Celtic.
Even Celtic’s financial peril in 1992-4 didn’t affect a thing because while they ended up as a renamed club (wherever did that Athletic go, chaps?), the assets were just transferred to the new company McCann brought in. Nothing changed on the pitch.
And yet somehow beating Aberdeen to 3 titles and a pathetic Rangers to 2 or 3 of them makes a legitimate run of trophies?
If Celtic fans want to be petty and allege our 9IAR titles of the 90s weren’t valid because we paid Ronald de Boer £28,000 a week (quite, he was after Walter Smith but who’s counting, right?), surely they’d have to concede their 8 against Aberdeen and a feeble non-competitive Rangers are equally as invalid?
Or is it different rules?
Course it is. These ones count because they just do.
Scotland has always been a two-team league and the rest. Take either of those teams away, it isn’t the SPL, it’s just a procession. While Norway always saw Rosenborg dominate, there was never a rival to them till recent years – the SPL was always a rivalry, from the beginning.
Take that away and you don’t have the SPL.
And you sure as sh*t don’t have 9IAR.