Celtic’s exit from the League Cup yesterday taught us a few things at Ibrox Noise and Rangers, and in this piece, we’re going to look at the implications of Brendan Rodgers losing his first domestic match as manager of Celtic since December 2018, in such a meek manner.
Firstly, Celtic’s summer transfer window has been poor – they’ve lost their darling manager, and a bunch of their best players, and in reality, they have significantly weakened. They are not as strong a team as they were last season, and Rodgers losing his first-ever cup match as Celtic manager and dumping out of the League Cup at the first time of asking is major.
Secondly, their defence is a shambles. You might have thought Rangers’ was bad, but Celtic’s is now worse. They’ve lost two of their best players there, Juranovic and Starfelt, and they’re much weaker for it. A decent attack makes mincemeat of what they have there now, as we witnessed at Rugby Park.
Third, their loss there puts major perspective on Rangers’ own one on the opening day. It means either that Derek McInnes is a great manager at that level, or that his rotten club pitch is a factor. Or that he’s signed brilliantly this summer. It could mean all three. It just puts a different complexion on our loss.
Fourthly, while we’re not popping open the champagne on 56 by any means, Celtic this season are not the Celtic of last season. Forget Angie’s all-conquering goliath, it’s finished, and there is a much bigger opportunity for Rangers here to seize the initiative. But boy do we need work, because our problems lie much deeper than just overcoming Celtic. So we must get our own house in order, and then the rest should fall into place too.
Fifth, Celtic don’t have a single clean sheet this season. Rangers might only have one, but it’s as a result of two extra matches (our five to their three). While that loss at Killie makes things look sour, it’s actually bewildering to say Rangers are overall on a better footing this season than them lot. We just need to actually put it together and see the table reflect it. It matters nothing until we do that.
The treble over there is done, only Rangers can now feasibly win the thing, which is a LONG way off. But the ammo is there now for the club, we know there’s an opening and ‘that lot’ are no great shakes – they’ve gone backwards under this manager and we imagine their fans ain’t too happy with it.
Can we sort ourselves out and seize the day?