To understand and appreciate something truly special, you have to let it sink in, age gracefully and be aware that it may never be better.
However, even without the hindsight that only comes with time, it’s easy to argue that special is exactly what the current Celtic team are at the moment.
When Saturday came and the full-time whistle blew in Perth, Brendan Rodgers and his band of warriors broke another long-standing record, 63 domestic games without a single defeat, besting a British record set by the legendary Willie Maley and his Celtic side in 1917.
Although we celebrate, we compare to teams of the past and we wonder just how long the run will continue for, I must confess I feel that the effervescence of this team will not be fully understood for many years to come.
The reasons for this are two-fold:
- When you compare these players to other Celtic teams such as the Lisbon Lions and Martin O’Neill’s treble winners and UEFA Cup runners-up, you are fighting against European history. The Lions will be remembered forever and the way in which they won the big cup will be revered in Glasgow households for decades to come. The side that went down battling in Seville in 2003 were there on sheer togetherness, passion and a very high level of skill. Although both teams did wonderful things domestically, they will always be remembered for their European finals first.
- We are living it right now. When you are living in a moment of brilliance and superiority, it is very easy to become accustomed to it and as this run as went on for so long, it has become second nature to accept that Celtic will win and keep winning.
I cannot begin to describe how proud I am of this team and the way in which they have fought and battled to ensure that they do not let this run slip.
The thing that always leaves me in awe is the fact that there has only been one or two times in the 63-game run when Celtic fans truly thought that this could be it and the defeat was going to be inflicted, most notably at Fir Park.
When we made the quick jaunt down to Lanarkshire on that cold December afternoon, we were expecting a tough but ultimately winnable game. What we got was a battle that we haven’t had from the likes of Hibs, Hearts, Aberdeen or that lot across the city.
Twice in this run I can vividly recall last minute winning goals and they both came from one man, Tom Rogic.
The Australian superstar blasted home in that 4-3 win over Motherwell and he put the cherry on top of the icing of a three-tier cake that was last season.
Although there wasn’t a point during that match at Hampden where I thought we would lose, it was getting close to extra time and to seal that invincible season and treble in that fashion was extra-special.
And despite the team making history, many doubters aired their views at the start of the season that Celtic would lose that run and the air of invincibility early on in this current season. Indeed, many said that Aberdeen and others would be able to somehow challenge Celtic for the league title, to say that I laughed would be an understatement. No team in this league has the winning attitude, skill or tenacity that we do.
We’ve since reached our third cup final under Brendan Rodgers, not lost a game in the league or cups and sit rightly atop of the Scottish Premiership, having beat our apparent rivals easily in their own backyards.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. When that will be is a question that I do not have an answer for. With European football almost certainly guaranteed after Christmas, will that be the catalyst that signals the end of the road? It’s possible, but let me say on the record, this Celtic team can repeat the feats of last season and go unbeaten.
When defeat finally does come there will be sadness and reflection of what could have been, but also celebration, and in 10, 20 or 30 years time we will look back and appreciate the true greatness and specialness of this team.
Just how special they are though is yet to be determined and that’s the most exciting thing of all.
Paul Fisher is one of the founders of A Grand Auld Team and can also be heard on The Grand Auld Podcast which returns on Monday morning with a special tribute to Brendan Rodgers’ unbeaten side.