A lot of things stood out in today’s epic Old Firm win over Celtic (let’s just keep saying it eh?) but one of the most telling was a one way battle which showed just how dramatically momentum has swung over the past few months.
Sure, Rangers’ form has been a subject of contention, but that’s a debate for another day – in this fixture, one player battle summed up how Rangers have dramatically caught up with Celtic and how the future may be looking brighter than we feared earlier this month.
Scott Arfield absolutely destroyed Scott Brown.
Sure, Rangers midfield as a whole completely decimated anything Celtic’s had to offer, but it was the absolute gulf in class between these two, going toe to toe for the first time which showed the sea change between the clubs.
Brown, normally the enforcer of these matches and a major reason Celtic have been so dominant in the fixture for years, was left absolutely helpless as his passes went astray, his tackles didn’t hit their mark and he was stranded and out muscled by Arfield who wanted it more, who put in more work, and who drove his team in a very different way to how Brown used to.
It marked a remarkable evolution for this fixture, the end of the Brown era and the start of the (sadly) brief Arfield one. He’s the wrong side of 30 now so if we get even five years of Arfield at this level we’ve done brilliantly, but it’s evident his form, presence and impact was the difference in this match.
Sure, others around him carried their weight too – Kent was a miracle, Halliday honoured the shirt impeccably and Worrall thumped everyone who came his way, but it was Arfield’s effortless nullification of Brown which set the tone and allowed everyone else to play the Rangers Way.
We wish he was younger, and we wish we’d got him three or four years ago, but then, that would never have been possible.
So we will enjoy a player who may just have announced himself as the SPL’s best central midfielder for the foreseeable Brown and the Celtic captain can now remember:
Arfie’s gonna get ye.