Can anyone stop Celtic winning 10-in-a-row?

Celtic's players and fans celebrate at full-time. Picture: SNS
Celtic's players and fans celebrate at full-time. Picture: SNS
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Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic wrapped up the SPFL Premiership title with a comprehensive thrashing of Hearts that was in so many ways symbolic of their season.

Their demolition of the Tynecastle side showed the champions at their very best, with slick passing moves and strong performances all over the pitch.

Celtic's Scott Sinclair and Scott Brown celebrate at full time. Picture: SNS

Celtic's Scott Sinclair and Scott Brown celebrate at full time. Picture: SNS

And what’s more, they did it without the goalscoring talents of their top scorer, the highly-rated French youngster Moussa Dembele.

On the weekend that Celtic wrapped up the league, the continued struggles of their Old Firm rivals were thrown into sharper focus.

Rangers struggled to a 1-1 draw with Motherwell, avoiding defeat mainly by virtue of the exploits of goalkeeper Wes Foderingham.

READ MORE: Rodgers wants to be ‘peacemaker’

It was a reminder that amidst all the excitement surrounding new boss Pedro Caixinha, Rangers are still a long way away from challenging Celtic.

Indeed, as the result in the Friday night fixture showed, the Ibrox club still has work to do even to become the second force in the Premiership, with Aberdeen’s 7-0 steamrollering of Dundee leaving them ten points clear of Rangers in the race for second.

Ask any Celtic fan what their medium-to-long term goal is and you will almost certainly get the answer “to win 10-in-a-row”.

Chants to that effect can be heard at almost every Celtic game, and with Rangers still struggling, just how likely is it?

Imperious Celtic

It’s hard to underestimate just how dominant Celtic have been over the past few seasons, with the return of Rangers to the top flight causing them no problems.

Since the arrival of Rodgers, who has top-level experience managing Liverpool, the club has taken things up a gear in terms of performance and recruitment.

Bookmakers now make Celtic odds-on to go the entire season without losing a league game after dropping just four points so far in their quest for Premiership glory.

With the likes of Scott Sinclair, Dembele, and the much-improved Stuart Armstrong key figures, many believe Celtic’s relatively youthful squad can easily win the four more titles required to reach the unprecedented 10-in-a-row achievement.

Perhaps the biggest threat to Celtic achieving that is their own success.

READ MORE: Rangers team announced early

Putting together a run of good results in the Champions League group stage, or even progressing to the knockout rounds, isn’t always in tune with a good season domestically – just ask Leicester about that.

Another risk is that some of Celtic’s biggest stars, from the manager down to the young breakout stars, could be lured away by a major club.

English giants are already believed to be circling around Moussa Dembele and young full-back Kieran Tierney, and if Stuart Armstrong continues to improve he will no doubt catch the eye of coaches in the UK and abroad.

Brendan Rodgers himself continues to be linked with a number of high-profile jobs, and his name will be on many people’s lips if belligerent Arsenal fans get their wish of forcing out Arsene Wenger.

If it comes down to on the pitch performance, if Rodgers can keep the core of the successful team (including himself) at Parkhead, then there is every chance that Celtic’s wish of 10 straight titles will come to pass come the start of the next decade.

If players or coaches head to the exit, or if rivals sharply improve (see below) then Celtic could find their extraordinary run of successive championships end sooner rather than later.

War chests and long-term planning

While Rangers Chairman Dave King modestly casts himself as the saviour of the club, he never claimed to have wealth off, or indeed on, the radar. That said, plenty of Ibrox fans are still unimpressed with the amount of money that King and his fellow investors have put into the club.

With the departure of Mark Warburton causing another confusing statement, and a dark cloud over that situation still hanging over the club, King still hasn’t quite stabilised things.

Pedro Caixinha may have won over the players with his approach to training methods, but Rangers still look on course to finish around 30 points behind their great rivals Celtic.

They still have a chance to avoid a trophy-less season by coming through a semi-final against Celtic and winning the Scottish Cup.

But this season has brought Rangers fans who expected them to challenge Celtic instantly back down to earth with a bang.

Though they have been competitive in their last two Old Firm games, Rangers are still demonstrably a long way behind in terms of recruitment, performance, and financial clout.

That will need to improve if the Ibrox side are going to be in a position to stop Celtic achieving the 10-in-a-row which is unthinkable for Rangers fans.

A.N Other?

Celtic haven’t faced anything like a challenge since Rangers exited the top flight, although Aberdeen have pushed them closest.

With minimal squad upheaval, Derek McIness’ side have shown that they can beat anyone on their day, and have been firmly established in recent years as the second best team in the country.

Some investment might see Aberdeen push Celtic or indeed Rangers closer, but the club is keen to avoid financial imprudence.

If not Aberdeen, it is unlikely to see any other club that can make Celtic’s 10-in-a-row march anything more than a one, or even two horse race.

Hearts may have a managerial visionary in the dugout, but the club remains in a state of flux and don’t look like challenging any day soon.