Can Celtic prove the bookies right?
In Scottish football, most people see it as a two horse race and coming second means failure. This is why so many people were astounded with the scenes at Celtic Park last weekend when the home fans were making a brilliant atmosphere and rewarding their players for their efforts. Yes, Celtic had finished second in the league by one point but there was no recriminations for a side that came so close and just fell short.
This is because it was a season of intense drama in Scottish football. A referee was forced to quit after telling lies to the Celtic manager Neil Lennon. The media had an agenda to hound Lennon and as you would expect in Scottish football, there were many dubious refereeing decisions.
Celtic have dealt with so much off the field stuff
All of this would be par for the course though until Lennon started receiving bombs and bullets in the post. Neil Lennon was even attacked during a match away to Hearts by a crazed supporter who got onto pitch-side. In these circumstances, it is amazing that Celtic managed to get through the season let alone doing so with panache and flair in a spirited campaign.
As of yet, Celtic have yet to win a trophy this season but they start tomorrow’s Scottish Cup final against Motherwell as the favourites.
The fans in green and white that pack the stadium will be hoping that the bookies are spot on and that perhaps Gary Hooper can notch a few goals to ensure he is top domestic scorer over the course of the season. The Celtic boss has a few line-up changes to finalise for the cup final but there is no doubt about Hooper starting, the only concern is about who partners him up front.
Can Motherwell upset the odds again?
Motherwell will have every confidence going into the final though because they know that they can deliver a hammer blow to Celtic. Back in February, the Steelmen beat Celtic 2-0 at Fir Park with a performance that showed energy, drive and spirit. Motherwell are a strange club, always capable of squaring up to Celtic and battling hard but never capable of doing the same to Rangers. This is why the ‘Well fans at Hampden will have a degree of confidence because their team knows what they have to do.
The final is unlikely to be a classic in terms of footballing skills, Motherwell will see to that with their tactics set up to stop Celtic playing a passing game but it promises to be a gripping finale to one of the most turbulent finals in Scottish football history.