Date: 13th May 2009 at 3:25pm
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Changes are clearly needed at Celtic Football Club – notably the emphasis being put back on the Football part of the name – but as long as Rangers have the opportunity to bottle the title, hope remains.

When tonight’s game between Hibs and Rangers at kicks-off at Easter Road at 7.45pm the home players need to realise they have a chance of winning. Although Rangers are at the top of the table and odds-on favourites to win the title, they really aren’t very good.

Walter Smith’s preparations have been given a boost with the news that Kenny Miller will miss the game with a hamstring injury. It would have been in Celtic’s interests if the mercenary Muppet had been fit, but there are still enough bottlers to take his place.

Be that as it may, and I’ve been keeping quiet since the events of the weekend, Celtic should not be relying on Rangers to slip up. How we can find ourselves in this position after three years of footballing and financial dominance is beyond me.

How Gordon Strachan can have the audacity to talk about the “horrendous defending” that allowed Dundee United to score last night also grates. Yes, it was bad defending but bad defending has become the rule in recent seasons, not the exception.

Sadly, and it does pain me to say it, Rangers slipping up and handing us another title may not be the best outcome possible. If four-in-a-row were to happen, the board may think they could get away with their “bare minimum” policy and continue to put balance sheets ahead of on-the-pitch improvement.

The best outcome would be the middle option – Celtic win the title but the board realise massive changes need to be made. Not tartan shorts on third strips, not club statements that include more spin than realism and not “we’re top-of-the-table, what else matters?”

When the season finishes there needs to be action, not words. Those pulling the strings will have to decide whether to continue down the same path of downsizing and managing expectations or treating the club with the respect it deserves.

All talk of “manager x would never join us” and “player y wouldn’t come here” should also be ignored. Despite the small men running the club, Celtic is still a massive, massive name and we have not yet shrunk to the level of having to accept we can do no better than the likes of Gordon Strachan and Stephen McManus.

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