Two Summers in Glasgow.

Last updated : 26 May 2009 By Number Eight
Four years is a lengthy wait for league success for this towering Scottish institution, but the title-famine is over and we tuck in heartily now to a feast that tastes sweeter due to a prolonged spell where sustenance seemed all too distant.

Just a few short weeks ago, Celtic were favourites to wrap up their fourth successive title, but a consistency of winning results for Rangers allied to Celtic firing blanks in three of their last four games has seen the wind of change blow through the Scottish game, and with Rangers as its main beneficiary.

In truth, neither Celtic or Rangers had the look of champions in a season of staccato football, but someone has to top the pile, and thankfully, for the third time in succession, a Rangers title-victory has been achieved on the last day of the campaign.

Celtic manager, Gordon Strachan, has already departed the scene, but he may have left anyway, even in victory. There`s little reason to stay in a place where too many people see a face that doesn`t fit, and Strachan will no doubt have been aware of the festering hostility that is felt towards him from the darker recesses of the Celtic support.

A selection of naive commentators are trying to convince us, and maybe themselves too, that Strachan`s relationship with the press and media is the reason for his sudden departure, but Protestant poppy-wearers will always have difficulties with a particular element in that club`s support, and this inconvenient truth will not be publicly aired in Scotland`s mainstream media outlets.

Three league titles on the spin and two trips into the Champions League last sixteen are hardly adequate compensation for those Celtic supporters who cannot come to terms with the Celtic manager publicly displaying a poppy.

As Celtic trawls the market for suitably qualified managerial candidates, Rangers can look forward to a Scottish Cup Final at Hampden against Falkirk, and victory here will round off the season satisfactorily for Scotland`s greatest club.

Question marks persist, however, not only about the future of Walter Smith as Rangers manager, but about Sir David Murray as the club`s owner. The manager may decide to linger longer in the managerial hotseat but there are many who want him to go now. Leaving after achieving an enhanced collection of silverware is the fervent wish of his most ardent admirers and this prospect must surely tempt the manager and his family.

Others want to see a change of style in the team, and only a change of manager will achieve this. If Ally McCoist is to be Walter Smith`s replacement, as is widely believed, this might be the best moment for a managerial succession.

If Sir David Murray`s two-decade reign concludes in the foreseeable future though, and presently rumours of a consortium bid for Rangers are rife, the future managerial situation at Ibrox will be less easily predicted.

For now though, as the Rangers support enjoys and basks in the warm glow of a 52nd championship season - all summer long - the Celtic support is preparing to endure the severe frost that has descended on the gargantuan edifice that tarnishes the landscape of Glasgow`s east end.

Maybe it`s time for our east end chums to finally incinerate those Sevillian sombreros - and four-in-a-row t-shirts - for a little extra warmth in what is going to be a cold, cold summer.