Monday, 13 May 2019

Assessment: Rangers have Celtic worried. Very worried...


Let’s first of all get a huge caveat away – we are well and truly aware, just like in May 2007, that Celtic had nothing to play for yesterday at Ibrox beyond pride. Having already won the title they were possibly not in top gear, and we do account for that mitigating circumstance.

But then, equally, they had plenty to play for in December and Rangers completely blew them away.

In short, Rangers’ performance yesterday was absolutely outstanding. It was a continuation of recent form, benefits of this new system and formation, and it stopped Celtic dead in their tracks before they could even get going.

Just like in December Scott Arfield did a complete number on his namesake Brown, and just like in December Rangers dominated this match, only this time getting a more reflective scoreline.

Just like in December our defence was solid and that it took till well beyond 80 minutes and a tame Ollie Burke header before our guests got a shot on target is more of a reflection on just how well Rangers played, rather than any weakness from the visitors.

Just like last year, Celtic couldn’t handle Rangers – a flawless home performance in front of our fans and the away side were simply blown to smithereens.

We do stand by our pre-match assertion that little more than pride was resting on this one, but the level of performance from the likes of the excellent Glen Kamara, Arfield, James Tavernier, Jon Flanagan and Ryan Kent to name just five alluded to just what potential this squad is beginning to develop if it can achieve this post-split level of consistency over the course of the whole next season.

Only one solitary goal conceded against Hearts in the whole split so far, four tough games v Hibs, Hearts, Celtic and Aberdeen is an absolutely magical record – and to put away Parkhead’s finest in such a comfortable manner (again) is food for plenty of thought.

Of course, arguably captain Tav got a spot of luck with the opener – no one is going to convince us he meant that directly. But who cares? How good a team is and the strength of their character dictates how they respond to adversity, and Celtic failed to, while Rangers continued to evolve in this match.

Yes, the title was gone, and yes, Celtic have a cup final to be ready for too, but Neil Lennon’s face was not one non-plussed about losing to Rangers – this would have killed him inside, and frankly overtly too.

No, take this performance and result very seriously indeed.

Going by the past six matches, and we’d have to say we’d like to, we may have been very wrong in the times we’ve doubted Steven Gerrard this season.

His system and team are absolutely nailing it at present, beating everyone out there. The only test left barely even matters in the form of Killie away – lose that one and we can still say with confidence he’s laid the groundwork in the previous six matches that we can truly work with.

We have certainly praised him too, readers will know of the many times we’ve backed him, but we’d tried to call it from both sides as much as we can, and rather than asserting without any doubt he was right or wrong for the gig, simply call what we see as is.

And right now we’re deeply impressed by how it’s panning out.

And make no mistake that they’ll be worried at Parkhead now. Very worried for the first time since 2012.

6 comments:

  1. Good piece but I take serious exception to the statement that the Killie game “barely even matters”. That is exactly what some Celtic fans will be trying to convince themselves and others about this morning. I want to finish with another clean sheet and quite honestly a pasting for the Anti-Football Messiah that is Steve Clarke.

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  2. Wonder where Scud the spud is the day, still no doubt drowning his sorrows

    Fantastic result yesterday and going to work today with a massive smile 😁

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  3. Spot on article. It was great to watch us dominate them and Kamara what can one say he's a real gem at £50K. when that first goal went in the place erupted and I collapsed to much for the old ticker (atrial fibrillation) the paramedics looked after me and 30 mins later was back in my seat with instructions not to jump up and down. I was sitting for the second goal and everyone around me came down to my level. a big thanks to the paramedic who attended me and looked after me. I found out he is a big celtic fan but as far as I'm concerned he could have saved my life.

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  4. It's always good to beat them,but the league was there to be won this season,why SG brought in worral and kept changing the defence week in week out is a mystery cost us a lot of points,just look at the back four now same players for six games, solid, points dropped against Dundee,livingston,st johnstone,and how many have Kilmarnock taken off us,i have been saying this on here since day one get the defence sorted and go forward from there,lets face it folks septic are not that good.

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  5. I know this is "ifs and buts" however two draws at Parkhead instead of two narrow defeats and we would be into the last game ahead on goal difference....!!!! This season was there for the taking.

    I also reflect on the first game of the season where we drop two points away at Aberdeen in last kick of game.

    This team is not far away - another year together and 3 or 4 quality additions and we will win the title. Celtic need to rebuild and we know better than most how tough that is, to find consistency and gel a team can take months.

    We will never have a better chance to stop 10

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  6. Congratulations to SG and the team. I agree that in hindsight, they were there for the taking this season, but Rangers, like Rome, was not built in a day. SG has made mistakes this season. All managers do as they learn. The trick is to not keep making them. Fair to say he has improved significantly over the months.

    I have faith in our scouting system - who the hell wants some no mark midfielder from a no mark team like Dundee - oh hell yes we do. I have reservations about Jones but think Hastie will come good. Noticed Middleton not even on the bench yesterday, we have a lot of wingers, some will have to go. Or maybe he is just building for ten years, not one.
    All the frees mean we can hoard our small wealth for where it matters. If Morelos goes, I have faith that we will replace him. We also have Hardie, Dallas and Rudden to return. We will find at least one decent CB - how good does Katic look by the way? I think Barisic will come good, but Flanagan is good enough to cover both FBs or replace Tav if he goes.
    The future is bright, the future is Orange - and Red, White and Blue
    RTID

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