Boyd: Celtic must keep up standard in league after unfurling the flag

WITH great achievement comes great expectation, and it is a burden Celtic have become accustomed to over the last few surreal years.

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Former Celtic stars Tom Boyd and Tosh McKinlay launch  the club's new Pools format
Former Celtic stars Tom Boyd and Tosh McKinlay launch the club's new Pools format

In a period where financial austerity has witnessed the Scottish game go through some radical changes in recent times, the Parkhead trophy cabinet has seen more silver than Long John's family tree.

Three league titles and two Scottish Cups have been carried back to the East End in the last three years as Celtic domestically have dominated.

On the European front, the Hoops have ploughed a lone furrow for Scotland with progression to the Champions League group stage twice in the last two years.

It is understandable then, that just one game into their SPFL Premiership defence and four games into a shaky-looking European campaign, that Celtic fans are looking to see what riches and memories the new season will bring.

Hopes of another European run are high on the wishlist of many, while some supporters will perhaps be hankering for more success on domestic cup duty, a platform Celtic failed to excel on last season.

Yet Tom Boyd, the man who captained the Hoops to a domestic treble in 2001,

believes success for Ronny Deila's men will not be measured on the continent or the cups, but on the bread and butter of the Premiership.

And the former Scotland international, who was speaking at the launch of Celtic's TicPick Lucky 7 Pools, reckons emulating the efforts of last season - when Celtic recorded just one league defeat - would be achievement enough this time round.

"Winning the league again would be absolutely fine for me," he said.

"I know a lot of people say Celtic don't have much competition but if they can win it like they did last season - losing only one league game in the process [to Aberdeen] - it would be another fantastic achievement.

"It will be more difficult this time for them. Obviously a new manager has come in along with some players, but you would hope things settle down fairly quickly.

"Hopefully the new additions can add a freshness to the team and ensure the standards from last season's league campaign don't drop."

A strong start is crucial for Celtic if that is to happen.

With Deila's side getting their title defence underway last night with a 3-0 win at St Johnstone, the Parkhead manager will look to build on that this Saturday against Dundee United, before turning his attention to European action next midweek.

And Boyd has targeted finding that early momentum as being the vital ingredient for conjuring up another successful season.

He said: "I'm hoping the team can get the consistency level they had last term, because that was the reason they did so well. They managed to go on a great run early on and get results, even if the performances weren't so good.

"They dug deep and avoided defeat on a few occasions. I can recall being a couple of goals down in one game [Inverness] but we managed to get it back, that shows the level of determination and commitment this group has.

"That's what I'd like to see the players get hold of again and make sure this league campaign goes every bit as well as the last one."

TicPick Lucky 7 is the new game from Celtic Pools. Predict seven correct results to be in with a chance of winning the weekly jackpot.

Play online and you'll compete in the TicPick Lucky 7 League where you can win monthly prizes - some of which money can't buy!

Watch out for Tom Boyd's predictions each week and see if you can finish higher in the

table than the Celtic Legend. Play TicPick Lucky7 at www.celticfc.net/pools

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