Without trying to sound too dramatic or over the top, Thursday, December 21 looking back could be a momentous day in the history of association football as we know it in the years to come.

It’s a touchy subject, the European Super League (ESL for short). Announced to the public in the spring of 2021, some of Europe’s premier and elite clubs outlined their plans to compete in an alternative to the Champions League competition in the shape of a new format, where the ‘best’ teams play each other more regularly.

To say this was controversial is an understatement, as demonstrations from supporters down south prompted resignations and a unified U-turn from the majority of the clubs involved. Who can forget Gary Neville’s now-famous rant live on Sky Sports on the day those original proposals were announced? Despite this, the idea of the ESL has not gone away, with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez spearheading the movement almost single-handedly over the past couple of years.

READ MORE: Celtic confirm they are against European Super League in statement

Back to this week’s events, The European Court of Justice delivered a seismic ruling concerning the ESL and two of football’s biggest governing bodies in FIFA and UEFA. The European Union’s most senior court on Thursday ruled that the two named organisations acted unlawfully in blocking the creation of the ESL, in essence, ruling their actions as contrary to EU laws.

After a couple of years of public humiliation for the ESL and its interested parties, the aforementioned court ruling provides the first real victory of substance in the footballing rebellion’s camp. It will certainly be interesting to see how this ruling will affect European football as a whole, now that this judgement is out in the public domain.

You may be asking yourself: ‘What has this got to do with Celtic?’, but a little bit of foresight into future movements and motions could point to the club potentially being invited - or dragged - into these developments. The position from many in 2021 was a universal one on social media, as the idea of a breakaway league to make the rich richer was heavily lambasted from pillar to post. Thinking back to those fiery and impassioned exchanges that many had on social media, you would think that it would be the same the second time around, right?

Indeed, the club have responded to Thursday’s ruling in a statement released that same evening. On their website, they said: “Celtic Football Club has noted today's judgement delivered by the European Court of Justice.

“We must be clear that this does not in any way endorse or approve the so-called 'Super League' project. The wider European football community is not supportive of the ESL, and Celtic, like many other clubs, will continue to promote the interests and protection of football’s broader family through the ECA and UEFA."

That all may indeed be the case, but the landscape of football – and sport in general – is changing. Golf – a sport perhaps even more traditional than football – is undergoing seismic change at the moment. Of course, not all of these footballing changes are positive for the club, as Celtic are being left behind when they compete in Europe’s top competition when it comes to finances. Despite winning their first Champions League game in six years – their first home win in over 10 – Celtic are continually coming up against teams who are financially stronger than themselves due to the league they are playing in.

Alas, there will be no finger-pointing here concerning TV deals or the quality of opposition that Celtic play every week. With the form the club are in at the moment, they would have no leg to stand on with arguments like that. As hopeless as it sounds, though, what is the long-term point of Celtic playing in the Champions League? What is the aim, or the plan going forward? And is the club simply making up the numbers when it comes to competing at Europe’s top table?

There has to be a meaningful way of bridging the gap between Celtic and their European competitors, regardless of the competition they find themselves facing off in. To be honest, this could already come in the form of the new UEFA ‘Swiss model’, which was announced amidst the furore of the ESL two years ago. Taking shape next season in all of UEFA’s European club competitions (Champions, Europa and Conference League), this will allow for participants to play in a minimum of eight games in Europe a season, an increase of two from the usual six per group stage.

Speaking of a group stage, the absence of such a thing may indeed work to Celtic’s benefit, playing different teams both home and away, with their chance of making it to a play-off or qualification potentially boosted as a result. It will be interesting to see how this new model transpires, starting in Autumn 2024. Change can be a good thing, after all.

The overarching point is, Celtic must be vigilant to recent developments surrounding the ESL and continental football as a whole. There is no denying that the club have enough about them to prosper in European competition, with that potential heightened in a potential alternative that the ESL would bring if Celtic were asked to be a part of proceedings. Think of the opportunities that could present themselves to the club if that were to be the case. It would make Celtic a more attractive location for players (and managers) to ply their trade in theory, with the club’s European standing potentially heightening as a result.

READ MORE: Celtic's Liam Scales dismisses suggestions of 'cliques'

Of course, this is all hypothetical at the moment, but it is clear that the idea of the ESL or an alternative to the alternative is not going away anytime soon. Because of this, Celtic have to place themselves in a position to make sure that they are front and centre of any developments, as it may reap potential benefits down the road. After all, what is the harm in Celtic hearing what could be available to them if these proposals were to transpire?

Regardless, the club and its hierarchy must keep themselves right, and operate with the attitude of bettering the club as a whole, both domestically and in European competition. Still, this recent ruling could have opened a window of opportunity for the club in the long term, so long as they keep their options wide open.

Until then, let's just see how this all plays out, shall we?