PETER GRANT believes there is every possibility that Celtic will become “Invincibles” as remaining unbeaten for the rest of the campaign is now their sole focus.
The former Celtic captain has watched the club achieve a run of 17 Premiership matches without loss and open up an 11-point lead. Grant, who now analyses the Scottish game for BT Sport, sees no reason why they cannot emulate a club record that stretches back to the 19th century and remain undefeated for the entire campaign. In 1897-98, Willie Maley’s team won 15 and drew three of their 18 fixtures; so, for Neil Lennon not to lose in 38 matches would be something special. Grant reckons it is a distinct possibility because there is a lack of belief in the other sides in the Premiership.
He said: “I don’t see any reason why Celtic can’t go the whole season unbeaten. In fact, that has to be the focus for Neil Lennon and his team. With European football gone the only target is to do what no-one else has done in the modern era in Scotland and that’s not lose a match all season.
“I think they can do it and I think they will be so motivated to do it. The difficulty will be nearer the end of the season, I feel, when the championship is already wrapped up. Make no mistake, Celtic are going to win this title by about 20 points, so the key for Neil will be to keep the players going when the title is won.”
Some might argue that with Rangers out of the equation the feat would be diluted but Grant disagrees.
He said: “Neil talked the other day about the team not getting much credit and I think he is right.
“People talk about the fact that there is no Rangers in the top flight but you can only beat what is put in front of you. I think if Celtic can go the whole season undefeated they will deserve all the credit that is going.
“We came desperately close to doing it in the 1995-6 season. We only lost one match but still came up short in the championship because we had too many draws. We were actually applauded off the park at the end of that season for finishing runners-up, and I remember telling the rest of the team – enjoy this because it won’t happen again.”
Celtic have not lost a goal in their last five matches and have racked up seven consecutive wins since drawing with Dundee United on 2 November. Grant believes dominance will continue unless sides adopt a more proactive attitude when they take on the champions.
He said: “Celtic are always expected to win every game they play but I’m surprised that the opposition don’t have a go when they play them. I can’t speak from experience because I never played against Celtic, but having listened to players afterwards and also analysis of matches it always felt to me that they were intimidated.
“If it was me I would treat a game against Celtic as a no-lose situation because you are expected to lose the game, so why not have a go?”