Yesterday was every bit as easy as we had anticipated. We played them off the park, in front of their own fans. Celtic has now won at Ibrox three time out of three since Brendan took over. Not only is the ground no longer to be feared, it’s one we enjoy visiting.
I am a big movie buff, as regular readers know. At full time yesterday I wanted to try to put what happened into context by evoking a great moment from film or one of the cracking TV shows I’ve watched over the years and it took a while but I got it.
Our 5-1 win at Ibrox last season was a savage, merciless beating. It was the footballing equivalent of the most vicious, one-siding kicking in the history of the movies, that which the Irish gangster Bugsy dishes up to two kids in Once Upon A Time In America.
There is a kind of demented genius about the way the violence is delivered and that day we were just as ruthless.
My first thought was that yesterday was more akin to the parking lot fight between Rust Cohle and Martin Hart in True Detective’s storming first season. The ease with which Rust dominates that fight is clear to all; he could have done real damage had he wanted to, and that’s the crucial distinction that made me rule it out. He is, in fact, trying not to hurt his former friend, and yesterday wasn’t about us going easy on Sevco.
What I arrived at instead was Alonso Harris and the beating he briefly administers to two young punks in an alleyway after Jake Hoyt, his partner on the Training Day, has already kicked their asses. Alonso delivers some vicious justice of his own, and it’s clear that he’s not letting them off from a much harsher lesson because he wants to; it’s his closing line as he walks away, with them lying on the deck that nails it for me; “You’re lucky I have more pressing business.”
And that’s the truth of it.
That’s why we didn’t rotate up through the gears and really ride over them, which we could have. We do have more pressing business. We have Anderlecht and that factored into the team selection, the substitutions and the tempo of the game. We played well within ourselves and still won, easily.
Sevco have real problems here.
The idea that they might soon catch up to us is patently nonsensical.
When we can visit their home ground and win like that God help them when they next come to Celtic Park and face a team with nothing else on its mind but winning, and winning big. Their fans are slowly but surely accepting that the gap is really and that Pedro has done nothing whatsoever to close it.
Bad times lie ahead for them.
For Celtic, there’s only the expectation of Wednesday now, and Anderlecht will surely, in front of their own fans, give us a tougher test than we got here.
Because that was easy.