To The Victor Go The Spoils

The final league game of another successful season is upon us, and that means one thing.

It’s trophy day.

For the seventh season in a row, Celtic will get the SPFL trophy presented at full time and as always it’s an event we all can’t wait to see.

But before that, we have our beaten opponents to play one final time.

Aberdeen are currently best of the rest, and while Hibernian may have fallen away after the midweek derby defeat, second place isn’t quite secure yet.

Aberdeen blew the chance to secure it on Tuesday night when they had a poor second half and let a 1-0 lead slip. Their lead over third place is still just a single point and so that means that only a win at Celtic Park will guarantee runner up spot.

But Aberdeen haven’t won a league game at Celtic Park in nearly 14 years.

Anything less than a win, and Aberdeen will be hoping things go their way at Easter Road. Although they definitely can’t finish second, Hibernian need to win by six clear goals to overhaul their opponents and take third place. It seems far more likely that they’ll have to hope we win the Scottish Cup next weekend if they’re to play on the European stage next season.

Obviously their opponents will be hoping to win themselves in the knowledge that if they do and we do them a favour and take at least a point off Aberdeen then they’ll take runner up spot for the first time in their history.

There’s a lot at stake on Sunday, just not for us. We want to bow out with a win before we pick up the trophy, but really our focus is on next week. Our team selection will probably have that in mind, and although the midweek draw against Kilmarnock saw a good few changes and resulted in very little to show for it, I would imagine today’s lineup will be a bit stronger.

Certainly a recognised striker in Leigh Griffiths might feature. We know he’s keen to hit the century of goals this season if possible, so if he’s to do that he’ll need two more goals between today and next week.

You have to suspect though that Moussa Dembele is being wrapped in cotton wool for next week, so maybe Leigh needs both now!

It’s not unheard of for Celtic to lose on trophy day. I remember one match back in 2004 against Dunfermline Athletic where we lost 2-1 before received the trophy.

I’m struggling to think of any more though. In the six previous seasons of our current consecutive run we’ve beaten Hearts 5-0, St Johnstone 4-0, Dundee United 3-1, Inverness 5-0, Motherwell 7-0, and most recently Hearts 2-0.

And the one goal we’ve conceded across all of those was an own goal!

The signs look pretty good then. Hopefully the weather is as good as it was for the Celtic Graves Society event marking the tenth anniversary of the passing of Tommy Burns. I’ve been to many of their commemorations over the last eight years and I have to say it was probably the best of them all.

Continuing the theme, trophy day is also badge day. The Celtic FC Foundation badges this year will also commemorate Tommy’s tenth anniversary, so if you’re going to the match today be sure to seek out one of the volunteers with a bucket and donate something. It’s all for a good cause and you get a pretty decent badge in return.

And enjoy the final league match. It might be a World Cup year full of football to watch and we might have a busy period of European qualifiers coming up, but the summer still feels long without Celtic anyway.

Krys (Twitter @krys1888)

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