Monday, 19 August 2019

"Downsizing" - there's a sea change, and Celtic fear it...

That infamous banner at Celtic Park was the biggest evidence of the sea change in Scottish football.

While there’s no doubt the Parkhead side have scored a pile of goals in their opening two league matches, this glosses over the details somewhat.

They’ve tumbled embarrassingly out of the Champions League, and the domestic sides they beat were not only unfancied relegation candidates, but one of them even put Celtic to the sword to the tune of two goals on their home patch.

That banner was a symbol of genuine worry. That Celtic aren’t what they were under the peak of Brendan Rodgers, while Rangers, whisper it, for the first time in 7+ years, are truly, sincerely, starting to resemble the Rangers we all expect them to be.

That Goldson winner at Killie changed everything.

It broke the hearts of Celtic who would have expected us to flounder at our bogey team – instead the side, not playing magnificently, dug deep and won a massive 3 points.

Then 100% unequivocally destroyed much-fancied Hibs.

Meanwhile 5 match wins in Europe and a tactical draw, coupled with an absolute glut of goals and a tonne of players who are starting to gain all sorts of admirers, while not forgetting the influence of one man:

Steven Gerrard.

Boy have we been critical of him in the past, but right now, this lad has got something going and it’s beginning to look a lot like Rangers.

The way he’s going, where he’s taking Rangers, we will never have been so glad to have been wrong about something in our lives – albeit, in our defence, we did back him from the get-go only occasionally being hypercritical when things went flat.

Since the start of the split last season, murky and irrelevant loss to Killie aside, we have to say Rangers have been nearly faultless. And Gerrard is giving us the Real Rangers back, the one top of the table and crushing the bottom-feeders of the league. Well, in reality Hibs are supposed to be an upper table team, but the truth is Rangers made them look like relegation candidates.

There is so much work to do, and there always will at Ibrox – but when 22-year old Joe Aribo gets a call-up to Nigeria purely because he plays for Rangers, you know something special is in the air.

Rangers, slowly, surely, steadily, are coming back – it’s been a long drawn-out nightmare, but the next time Rangers play Celtic and not only land gloves on Neil Lennon’s side but KO them, we can’t help but feel it’s been a long-time coming. There’s been glimpses of it – two wins last season, and both were great – but it’s that absolute mauling when the likes of Joe Aribo and Scott Arfield put Celtic in their place that we’re excited by.

Are we getting ahead of ourselves? If we’d beaten mince teams in Europe and lower-rung SPL ones, yes, we’d say we were.

But when The Green Brigade literally wave the white flag for their disintegrating club, we’re pretty sure we’re onto something.

We might be wrong – we’ve said this before. That Celtic are weak and Rangers have a chance.

But there’s something truly different this time.

Celtic are scared. Even though they’ve got more money, they’ve mismanaged everything and ‘downsized’ while Rangers have been Aribo-ing up in the transfer market.

You can feel it, can’t you?

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