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(by TheHumanTorpedo)

Jock Stein Pics - Kerrydale Street

Among Celtic’s many and varied triumphs there are few as noteworthy as the amazing charge to claim nine league championships in succession.
This run of league triumphs would begin in season 1965-66 and end in 1973-74. A near decade of glory.

It may no longer be a unique record within Scottish football but let's make it clear - Celtic not only did it first, they did it better.

The arrival of Jock Stein as manager in 1965 was of course the catalyst for this remarkable dominance of the domestic game. A dominance which came when Scotland were producing players and teams capable of being among the very best in the world.

What made this sustained run of success even sweeter was the fact that the talent behind this remarkable run of success was, for the most part, home grown from Celtic’s youth ranks. The imperious Billy McNeill and the Lisbon Lions would of course provide the backbone of the side for much of the run but in latter years the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Davie Hay, George Connolly, Lou Macari and Danny McGrain would emerge.

Rangers would of course go on to equal Celtic’s proud record but the merest dig below the superficial statistics of both records quickly reveals the Ibrox version of 9-in-a-row as infinitely inferior to the original and best.

It was of course still a great achievement. But with Celtic in turmoil, a paucity of quality throughout the Scottish domestic scene and with financial resources far greater than their opponents, Rangers never faced anywhere near the level of competition as that which met the Bhoys season after season.
The European record of Scottish clubs during both eras illustrates perfectly the gulf in quality.

During Celtic’s 9-in-a-row the club reached the European Cup final twice and were semi-finalists another two times. During the same period Rangers won the European Cup Winners Cup and along with other Scottish clubs were regularly in the latter stages of European competition. In contrast during the Rangers 9-in-a-row era Scottish clubs were humiliated on an annual basis and for the most part the Ibrox side’s own performances on the continent would be more at home on the Paramount comedy channel than ESPN Classic.

When asked by a reporter in the late 1990s what he thought the outcome would be if Celtic’s Nine-in-a-row side took on the Rangers equivalent Bertie Auld, Hoops legend and a regular in the early years of Celtic’s 9-in-a-row run, replied: “It would be close, I think it would probably be a draw. But then most of us are in our late 50s now.”

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