Ibrox Noise’s Ross has been explaining how he doesn’t believe Rangers are that far behind Celtic, and that the last three or four matches have been mostly quite even overall.
He’s not wrong with the last part, and there’s a case for the former too, but the problem with Rangers is what Michael Beale himself confirmed after the match:
Celtic win the fine margins.
The reason Celtic are 13 points clear and about to win the Scottish Premiership again is simply because they score the goal when we hit the post. They score the goal when we balloon a shot wildly. They score the goal with a half chance when Rangers miss an open goal.
These fine margins are what separate the good from the also-rans.
Factually, Ross is correct. When we look at the relentlessness of Rangers’ attack in the past few Old Firm matches, it has been there. We have got shots in, and Celtic haven’t really crushed our goal.
But they’ve scored more than us, they’ve not missed open goals, they’ve not hit the post.
And that’s what the difference between winners and losers is.
This is where Ross is completely bang on – our manager needs to figure out a way to make the near misses goals. He needs to suss a method that will make that ‘close thing’ a goal. Because hitting the post or making the goalie make a half decent save doesn’t win you points. It wins nothing.
See, this is what Rangers have lost the power to do – be clinical.
Celtic are – they take their chances, especially against us, and they score the goals when they need to.
Sadly, Rangers are wasteful, and that’s all over the park.
Our defence is amateur, which doesn’t help, but it’s Celtic’s conviction and will to win that makes the shot go in, while Rangers’ hits the post or whistles just wide.
Michael Beale spoke about those fine margins at full time last weekend, and it was the first time he’d really admitted the truth of how we’re falling short.
Football-wise we’re not that horrible. We’re ok, even some decent stuff. And our players aren’t all useless either.
But they’re not winners and they have no real cutting edge. Ok, not that horrible, not all useless – these are not the words to describe champions.
And that needs to change. You can play the worst football you want as long as you score the goals. Celtic are the ones doing that at the moment and Michael Beale needs to figure out how to match that at least.