Team game ethic got Celtic over the line

CELTIC are not the only club in Europe to have landed their national title with something to spare this season.

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Virgil Van Dijk has played well
Virgil Van Dijk has played well

In Germany, Bayern Munich won their domestic championship in record time.

That is a portent of things to come in the Bundesliga, such is the growing financial disparity between Bayern and their rivals.

Celtic have superior spending power to other clubs in the SPFL Premiership, now that Rangers are no longer in the top fight.

They went into the 2013/14 campaign fully expecting to be crowned Scottish champions for a third season in a row.

But you have to hand it to them for the professional manner in which they have done so.

There was nobody pushing them.

They could have lost long before the game against Aberdeen at Pittodrie last month.

t would not have jeopardised their title chances if they had.

So hat's off to Neil Lennon's men. They have won the title and won it well.

What is more, they have done it after losing key men.

It was a big ask for them to replace Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper in the summer.

It was always going to be a tall order filling Wanyama's boots. And, in fact, the Glasgow club have not brought in a like-for-like replacement.

But Virgil van Dijk has done superbly at centre-half. He is one of the top defenders in Scottish football and has strengthened his side at the back.

Temmu Pukki and Amido Balde have not scored the kind of goals Hooper scored. But Celtic have been resourceful with their overall pool.

Anthony Stokes has not had a spectacular season in terms of scoring goals. But he has improved as a player. And Kris Commons has taken his game to a higher level too. Lennon has definitely developed, improved and matured as a manager.

He is certainly a far calmer figure than he was when he took over from Tony Mowbray.

I think that happens to all managers in time. But there are other ways he has changed.

His tactics have not been the same for all of the games this term.

He has changed how Celtic have approached fixtures depending on the venue, the opposition and the personnel that he has had available to him.

Some have argued that because Celtic did not excel in the League Cup or the Scottish Cup, or progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League they have not pushed on.

But the manager has and, given the players he had to replace and the consistency they have shown, Celtic have as well.

Yes there has, once again, been no Rangers to challenge Celtic.

But I think that, in the fullness of time, people will appreciate what Lennon's team have achieved.


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