Ronny Deila will tell his Celtic players to break from protocol and celebrate winning the Premiership title before it is formally secured if they beat Hearts at Tynecastle at lunchtime today.
The Scottish champions are nine points clear of closest rivals Aberdeen and technically still need four more points from their last four games of the season to officially confirm a fifth consecutive crown.
But such is the superiority in Celtic’s goal difference, which is 36 goals better than Aberdeen, just three more points will effectively put them beyond the reach of Derek McInnes’ side.
If Celtic defeat Hearts, Deila intends the title party to start immediately without waiting for the outcome of Aberdeen’s fixture against Motherwell at Pittodrie later in the afternoon.
“Yes, I would celebrate it,” said Deila. “If we win this game and still lost the league, then I would know there is nothing more to see or do in football. If we win at Tynecastle, we are champions – even I can say that.
“There are too many goals between us and Aberdeen, so everything is about ourselves and getting three points from this game.
“If we win the league after 38 games, then of course we have a right to celebrate.
“The best team in Scotland is the team who wins the league and that is hopefully going to be us.
“It is a big game and a big opportunity for us on Saturday. We want to win and cross the line but it is going to be tough. Hearts have been good this season and it always tough to play at their ground.
“The atmosphere is good, it is a tight little pitch so we have to be really up for it. It would be a good place to win it. We have had good results there before in my time and, hopefully, we can do it again.”
Deila is confident there will be no repeat of Celtic’s lacklustre display in a 1-1 draw at home to Ross County last Sunday which was their first match since it was announced he will be stepping down as manager at the end of the season.
“I see the players are hungry for this game, they are looking sharp in training and I am looking forward it,” added the Norwegian.
“Last week was a very difficult time for everybody because of having lost the Scottish Cup semi-final to Rangers and then everything that happened with me, so there was a lot of energy going the wrong way.
“Things have settled down, we have been training well and I think we will see a much better performance. Last week was a strange week. We got a point and didn’t perform very well, but Aberdeen had lost at St Johnstone so we are in a good situation now.
“It has been more calm this week, we have got our energy back and are looking forward to the game.
“I am quite sure we will see determination and energy in the team.”
As Celtic close in on another domestic crown, Deila expressed his satisfaction at being part of an era which sees them pursuing an all-time Scottish record of ten titles in a row.
“I am very proud to have been Celtic manager and if you can bring trophies in then that is a big part of it,” added Deila.
“I will of course remember that for the rest of my time here and the rest of my life. It is a big thing for everybody.
“Who doesn’t want to be champions of your country? Five in a row is a big achievement but also if you can reach a big number it is unbelievable
“This club is in a very good situation to go for ten and if they stay hungry and keep getting better then it will be very hard to catch them.
“But I think it is very dangerous to look too far ahead. You have to take it day by day and look at every game coming up. But the club has great experience now and they are a winning club. But the whole time you have to be ahead of your opponents.
“Rosenborg won 13 in a row in Norway, they were unbelievably consistent and the manager was there for a long time.
“The whole style they played meant that everybody could close their eyes and they still knew what each other was doing. It was printed into the club and that is something that Celtic has as well but they need to keep working to get the results.”