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Not even Santa was safe from the wrath of the Celtic support on Saturday afternoon.

Booed at half-time as the vitriol started to build, Santa had to trudge off the pitch with a few expletives ringing in his ear. Ho, ho, ho, peace and joy and goodwill to all men and all that.

By the time the full-time whistle had sounded on Celtic’s second successive league defeat there were more than a few finding their way onto his naughty list.

Baying for blood is not quite within the spirit of the season. It was full-on toxic at Celtic Park as the stadium let loose their frustrations.

If Ange Postecoglou quelled the dissenting voices and silenced the ‘To The Car Park!’ protests in the aftermath of the collapsed ten-in-a-row campaign, it has not taken much to illustrate that the civil war remains at Celtic.

Winning games and trebles tend to quieten the noise but the full scale of the distance that lies between those who run the club and those who support it was laid bare on Saturday afternoon.

All sorts of reasons have been offered for the unravelling that has been seen in recent weeks; the board took it in the neck, inevitably, while the call to ban the Green Brigade was blamed for the lack of atmosphere inside the ground.

The fracture of the Green Brigade, the club’s self-professed ‘ultras’ and the club has been allowed to linger and regardless of who is in the right and who is in the wrong, the fact remains that a club at war with itself is not a good look.

Summer recruitment has been disastrous with Brendan Rodgers saying everything he needs to about it without opening his mouth.

Sending out a central defensive pairing last week of Stephen Welsh and Liam Scales shouts loud and clear about his thoughts on Mark Nawrocki and Gustaf Lagerbielke, a pairing who cost the guts of £7m.

But while not even Johnnie Cochrane could argue for the merits of the activity that took place this summer in the window, the bottom line is that Rodgers ought to be getting a tune out of a treble-winning Celtic side that is sufficiently in key to see off Kilmarnock – twice – and Hearts.

Joe Hart, Alistair Johnston, Greg Taylor, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Callum McGregor, Matt O’Riley, David Turnbull, Kyogo Furuhashi – remember him? – Daizen Maeda, and James Forrest all took home a trio of medals last season.

There is no question that Celtic are weaker without the likes of Aaron Mooy and Jota but there is the spine of a successful, winning team there. It is a side that looks stripped of belief, conviction, energy and, crucially, ideas.

The biggest problem for Celtic may not be the notoriously difficult transfer window, regardless of who is writing the cheques and how big their finances allow those sums to be.

Rather, with the full fury of a support who have gorged on the carcass of Rangers for the guts of the last decade and are bloated with entitlement, it is the prospect of coming up against an organised and clever manager in the Ibrox dugout.

Gone is the nonsense of Michael Beale and many who have gone before him of late. In his place is a manager who has got more than the sum of his parts in an immediate timeframe.

Rangers rubbed salt in the weekend win with the Viaplay Cup banked, the first time they have claimed it for 12 years and the first trophy of the season that is on offer.

It came on the back of a week that offered the first win on Spanish soil which enabled Rangers to top their Europa League group. It suggests they could just be revving the engine.

Philippe Clement is barely in the door at Rangers but he has quickly forged an identity, cohesion and organisation about the club.

Rangers should be in no position to be challenging for the title given the start they made to the season.

It will be deemed unforgivable at Celtic if they take advantage of the position they find themselves in.

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