Is it too optimistic to think this could be the season someone breaks the 36-year domination of Scottish football’s top league?
The flag has been raised at Celtic Park or Ibrox each season for so long now many fans have given up on ever seeing another club as champions.
But with just three points separating the top three, and six points between the top six, after nine games, might this be the season a successful challenge finally bears fruit?
Few would’ve tipped promoted Hearts to be sitting second just a point behind Rangers at this juncture, but their draw in Govan last Saturday is a heartening sign for those of us desperate to see a different name on the trophy.
Likewise not many would’ve bet that Dundee United – with an untried manager and minus their goal talisman Lawrence Shankland – would have made such a terrific start to the season, and be in a well-deserved third place, a point ahead of Celtic.
Rangers don’t look nearly as dominant as last season when they went 38 games unbeaten, conceded just 13 goals, and won the title by 25 points.
Already in just nine games they’ve been breached seven times, lost once and drawn twice.
Celtic, meantime, are temperamental.
Glimmer of hope
They can undoubtedly be fluent and flowing and with 21 goals scored are by far the most prolific team in the top flight, but they’ve lost three games already, a third of their league matches.
United took a point off them recently at Parkhead and threatened them throughout with a display which impressed not only Arabs but also many Hoops supporters.
This is no gung-ho prediction.
The resources and playing staff of the big two gives them a huge advantage over everyone.
But there’s more than a glimmer of hope this season and with such a bright start from Hearts and United there’s room for optimism that bravery and ambition might see a breakthrough in the long term log jam, which has bedevilled serious competition in our top league.
Last Saturday, United gave a scintillating performance to put three past Hibs without reply, but Easter Road will still be a formidable place to visit for Celtic and Rangers.
Jack Ross’s side on their day have pace and goals in them and if they can caress consistency, they’ll prove formidable.
‘Title scrap has become stultifying’
It would be fantastic to see the iron grip on the title race broken.
I know others leagues have dominant forces too but I’m interested in Scotland.
Yes, the decks are stacked against the challengers, but it would be great for Scottish football for Hearts or United or Hibs to have a real go.
The title scrap has become stultifying, sucking the lifeblood from what should be a competitive environment.
Our game is crying out for a change of scenery.