The hammering of St Mirren in Paisley summed up the absolute difference right now between Rangers and Celtic. Celtic, 0-1 down, simply didn’t give up, not at 1-1, not at 1-3. They kept going till they had five, thus despite Rangers getting three, they go further ahead in goal difference.
Yes, the Buddies had lost a man, but that’s the point – Kilmarnock were rank rotten too but Rangers evidently took the foot off the pedal and allowed them a goal. Celtic went for blood to score as many as they could after a bad first half.
This, plain and simple, is the difference right now. Celtic are not necessarily miles ahead in terms of quality of personnel, they’re miles ahead in attitude. They have a team of winners who never stop going for it.
It’s rage-inducing, it’s a disgrace, and it’s utterly unacceptable – it doesn’t matter how good your players are, if they stop competing after a certain amount of time, then they’re not fit for your shirt.
Ibrox Noise has been extremely critical of this recently, because despite Saturday’s score, it should easily have been double. But no, we stopped playing for the most part.
Celtic? They just kept going and scored yet more. And this is it, plain and simple.
They won’t score 5 every match, but in those matches where everything is going for them, they go for the kill. And they keep scoring. In their last 8 matches it’s 35 goals. It’s 20 for Rangers. Rangers just keep quitting, visibly slowing down, losing the focus and losing the intensity.
And too many players are a part of that. While there are some blatant culprits, it becomes collective. If a couple in an XI aren’t throwing it all in, the apathy will spready to the 9 who are, who get frustrated with the two not leaving it all out there. And they’ll spend more time remonstrating with them than playing football.
And this lethargy at Ibrox is a major reason that while Michael Beale has managed to string wins together, we remain behind Celtic.
The players who let Giovanni down are now letting the new manager and the fans down – Beale has a whole rest of the season to rip this bunch of losers up and rebuild something in the summer because another season of being behind Celtic is not what we have in mind.