Former Celtic striker Harald Brattbakk knows all about pressure.

The Norwegian scored the clincher against St Johnstone at Parkhead to end rivals Rangers' nine-year spell of dominance and put a halt to their quest for ten-in-a-row. That day in 1998 is etched into the history books of both clubs for very different reasons.

For Rangers, their dreams of sealing their tenth league title were shattered. Celtic, on the other hand, had beaten their noisy neighbours and won their first title in 10 years.

Brattbakk understood the significance of winning the trophy without truly acknowledging the gravity of the situation. To Celtic fans, it was much more than just about the silverware. Stopping Rangers' hunt for ten was more important than that.

"For me, it was a league title," Brattbakk said. "For supporters, it was stopping 10 in a row. The atmosphere changed when I scored my goal.


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"I think the supporters realised then it was going to happen. Also, the St Johnstone players gave up when we scored the second goal. They’d had a chance through O’Boyle, he had an effort over the bar, which could’ve changed the course of the game.

"If I’d been a St Johnstone player, I would’ve loved to have played that game because I would’ve been able to have a chance of making a difference. But at 2-0, they knew that was it."

Brattbakk does not subscribe to the notion that this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for Celtic, however. What he does hope, though, is that Scottish football becomes so competitive that such domestic dominance is not seen for another lengthy spell.

Asked if this is Celtic's last chance to win 10-in-a-row, Brattbakk replied: "We said when Maradona was playing that the world was not going to see a better player than him. Well, then Ronaldo came and Messi came. We stopped 10-in-a-row and we probably said then ‘this is probably not going to happen again.’ But now it IS happening again! So it could happen again.

"But, for the interest of Scottish football, it needs two good teams fighting against each other, like Celtic and Rangers. It could also be Aberdeen and Hearts or some other team. But the local fight in Glasgow is important for Scottish football but also for the interest of football.

"Obviously, I hope for Celtic to win 10-in-a-row. But it’s going to be more difficult if they make it because I don’t Rangers are going to go into the same financial difficulties as they did last time.

"That was a Christmas gift from Rangers to Celtic. Rangers went down a lot of leagues and I don’t think that’s ever going to happen again. So, in terms of that, it’s going to be more difficult for Celtic to ever have a run for 10 again.


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"But you still see results and you still see teams doing well that you wouldn’t expect."

The landscape of Scottish football since that day all those years ago has, indeed, changed dramatically. Neil Lennon's men are now on the warpath and have nine Premiership wins in a row in their sights.

Pressure, then, is on both Brattbakk's former employers and their rivals once again. But this time, the striker is adamant it's Celtic who have it all to lose. Steven Gerrard's Rangers have everything to gain.

"I think there's more pressure on Celtic to reach 10," he added. "The more you win the harder it is to defend the next title. That’s the same with Rangers. They were so close to winning 10, but they didn't.

"You can always discuss why. But now, all the eyes are on this. If Rangers win the league this year or not, or next year or not, it’s not the most important thing. It’s about Celtic being able to continue the run towards the 10.

"Stopping 10 is easier than winning 10. The relief and the emotions are so different from stopping 10 than winning 10. I was at Rosenborg for some years and went away and when I came back they won 13 titles in a row. That is amazing. My manager was a wise guy and he always said that winning one is something that everyone can do. The hard part is doing it all the time."

If the Scottish Premiership run-in is a marathon, cup competitions are a short burst of sprints. And Celtic have also won the last six domestic cups available to them, such is their stranglehold on the silverware.


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Partick Thistle are next to challenge the champions to a race, on Saturday afternoon ar Firhill. And Brattbakk knows Celts will desperately want to continue picking up winners' medals - though he maintains that rivals Rangers will be sniffing about, too, as ever.

"In Glasgow, the rivalry is so big that any title you can get is important," he said. "It can never be taken away from you. It is important for Celtic to win the Cup but Rangers will be equally determined. It is not about winning the game all the time against your biggest rivals it is about winning against the lesser teams too, but they are not easy games. It is 0-0 and 11 v 11 so none of them are easy games."