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Lies, Damned Lies & Invincibles

Rangers v Celtic - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

There's a famous quote, popularised by Mark Twain and erroneously attributed to former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disreali, that says, "there are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies and statistics". At a time where everyone is falling over themselves in the rush to canonise Brendan Rodgers and his 'Invincibles', the quote has never seemed more suited to Scottish football as Rangers fans are left wondering if they simply imagined the treble-winning 1992/93 season that saw Rangers go an astonishing 44 games unbeaten in ALL competitions.

Before anyone gets themselves worked up into a frenzy, going an entire domestic season is a great achievement and is something that any club should rightfully celebrate (just like Rangers did when they completed the achievement almost 120 years ago without dropping a single point) but a look at Celtic's results over the entire season would suggest it's not quite the monumental historic achievement that some would have you believe.

In 92/93, Walter Smith's Rangers went from a 4-3 loss at Dens Park on August 15th through to March 20th and an Old Firm defeat to Celtic without losing to anyone; the Champions of England, Belgium, Denmark, Russia and France all tried - and failed - to beat Smith's side as they finished one point behind eventual winners Marseille in the inaugural Champions League. Marseille's win would later come under suspicion after the French side were found to have been involved in domestic match-fixing, with allegations that they had also tried to do the same in the Champions League remaining unproven.

In contrast, Celtic tasted defeat five times this season; a 7-0 thumping at the hands of Barcelona, a follow-up 2-0 loss to the Nou Camp side, a defeat at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach, 2-0 reverse in Israel to Hapoel Beer Sheva and, famously, a 1-0 loss at the hands of European giants Lincoln Red Imps. Celtic's longest, and current, undefeated streak stretches an impressive 33 game yet only one of the teams they faced as part of that run play outwith Scotland's borders; a draw with Man City. Given the resources at his disposal, Brendan Rodgers SHOULD be going 33 games without losing against teams with a budget much, much smaller than the one made available by Peter Lawwell and Desmond Dermot (or is it Dermot Desmond; I can never remember).

Give me over £30m to spend on player wages alone and I'd be confident of going a domestic season without tasting defeat. Across the city, Rangers' wage bill stands somewhere around £10m while Aberdeen's spend on wages in a year was roughly what Celtic sent to Aston Villa to sign Scott Sinclair. Obviously, as Leicester City showed last year, money doesn't guarantee success but it certainly goes a long way in giving a team something of a head start.

I'm sure Celtic fans will no doubt write this off as the ramblings of a bitter Rangers fan, which to be fair happens with anything that questions the success of St. Brendan, but some of the near-sycophantic coverage in recent weeks is verging on ridiculous. Suggestions this is the second best team in their history, after the Lisbon Lions are completely over the top, given their poor European campaign. Perhaps they'll go undefeated in their opening 12 games of the 2107/18 season and smash Rangers' run of 92/93 but until they do, it's maybe best to keep Mark Twain's misattributed quote in mind.