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Humble Pie for Tom English in his reluctant tribute to Champions Celtic

Reluctantly facing up to another season of broken dreams for his adopted club, English turned to the Bravery Pills and started his tribute to Celtic’s SPFL title success with:

No helicopter, then. No shootout on the last day. No grand finale.

Instead there was the familiar sight of Brendan Rodgers with arms aloft, hands waving, face smiling. Another title. Champions again.

It was different in so many ways to the ones he won before, but exactly the same in terms of joy and pride.

Some among the Celtic support did not want him back, or were sparing with their welcomes when he did return, but they all looked in thrall to him at Kilmarnock after a 5-0 victory clinched the Scottish Premiership title.

And no bunting or party hats on display at BBC Scotland Sport. The plans hatched during February and March by English, Kenny Macintyre, Alasdair Lamont and Jane Lewis lay in ruins after A Proper Football Manager fell to pieces with a two point lead turned into an eight point deficit in the final table.

English and the rest of the lads spent last summer trashing Rodgers while drooling over how Micky Beale’s revamp was looking.

Winning the Dead Rubber Trophy followed by the Transfer Window Cup was confirmation that they could enjoy a title party in front of fans with Celtic in disarray.

Despite over 30 years on the fringes of Scottish football English has learned SFA about the game other than the script to survive with the state broadcaster. Affectionately he is known as House Paddy around Pacific Quay.

The day before Celtic were held to a 3-3 draw at Ibrox English was out in full cheerleading outfit, drooling over the brilliant Belgian that he had emotionally invested in following the disaster of Beale.

On the BBC Scotland website he wrote:

Under Philippe Clement, Rangers have dropped only eight points in 22 games. Expecting them to drop five or six in what would be six remaining games is a bit of a stretch.

Clement has won 19 of 22 league games since becoming manager in October. A victory on Sunday would mean that, in the entire history of the Ibrox club, only Bill Struth (21) and David White (22) will have won 20 league games in fewer matches.

They’re seven points better off in 2024 than Celtic. In Clement, we are seeing the kind of sure touch that has been, for so long, the exclusive preserve of the manager from across town.

In his short time, Clement has shown the restorative powers of Ange Postecoglou when he took over after the 10-in-a-row-that-never-was and the feelgood energy of Rodgers in his first coming, after the flatlining of Ronny Deila’s final season.

After drawing with Celtic on April 7 Clement’s side dropped 10 more points as their bottle crashed under the slightest of pressure. England prospect Jack Butland conceded three goals three times as Gareth Southgate ignored the Scottish media and performed a u-turn.

Back to his Celtic tribute English spent 80% of it discussing every defeat, draw and the games that they turned around late on. Nothing is mentioned about John Beaton’s six matches refereeing topped by his VAR performance at Tynecastle in Celtic’s last defeat. Some called it incompetent.

During an Irish podcast last summer English tore into Rodgers, slaughtering every aspect of his character and managerial record, it was the sort of chat best left in the BBC Scotland canteen or their Sportsound WhatsApp group.

Reluctantly the so-called rugby expert concluded with:

Celtic rallied under the heat of a title race while Rangers buckled and fell. It was not vintage but it was a triumph over hassle, a victory for nous and mental strength.

And now Celtic have all the Champions League loot to look forward to and will, surely, have a new focus on giving Rodgers the quality he has been calling for.

It’s a safe bet they will only get stronger in the summer. There is a feeling here that Rangers had their chance to catch them this season and did not take it.

If Celtic get their transfer business right, that chance might be a little while in coming around again.


After Ibrox Rodgers never claimed a moral victory or led a lap of honour, his side won their six remaining games to take the SPFL title, eight points ahead of the Belgian Beale who is blaming injuries and fitness problems after eight months in charge.

CLICK HERE for two faced Keevins makes remarkable Rodgers u-turn

CLICK HERE for Santa Ponsa celebrates Celtic’s victory in the Glasgow Derby.

CLICK HERE for SPFL Premiership table.

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