There are moments in football which you feel are portentous; they are corner turners, after which nothing will ever be the same. This is one of those nights, a night when Celtic went to the ground of their nearest rivals and simply blew them away. As this was happening, as we were giving Aberdeen a football lesson, an era was coming to an end elsewhere.
Let’s talk about Celtic before we get to the shambles at Ibrox.
I said earlier that I would have settled, tonight, for a scrappy hard-fought victory. I did not foresee – I could not have foreseen – such an accomplished and stylish display as this was. Celtic did not win this game as much as they cruised through it. They were quite simply brilliant in every way. Moussa scored twice, Kieran scored once and we created enough chances to have run up a cricket score. They were magnificent. Aberdeen barely had a sniff.
There wasn’t a failure in our team tonight. Even Nir Bitton strolled through his time at centre back, like someone who was born to play there. That, as I said in a previous piece, is not simply a stop gap tactic; Brendan is trying something there, something which has become prevalent on the continent, and in Scotland, at least, it appears to work brilliantly.
Forrest, Rogic and Moussa came in tonight and were outstanding. Big Dembele now has five goals this season, four of them in the last two games. Not bad for someone who’s been injured as long as he has. But this is a team effort; our players are capable of pulling themselves through nights like this no matter how many games they have played.
There was no sign of this team losing focus, or slowing down. We are, quite simply, a class apart from any other team in this league. We might go through a full calendar year without losing a domestic match; if we do that, who would bet against another Invincible campaign? It sounds impossible. It should be impossible … but as Brendan said, this is a team that wants to rewrite the history books as it goes along.
Just look at our subs bench tonight; it was brimming with talent. When have you ever seen a Celtic side with so many key players amongst the subs go to Pittodrie and win with such accomplished ease? It was a beautiful thing. What a squad we have here.
The same cannot be said for the utter disarray across the city, at the club which the media alleges to be our so-called rival. The totally of the shambles there is clear for all to see, and Aberdeen fans who were smarting at that defeat tonight at their own ground must have been cheered, momentarily, by the news that Ryan Jack detonated another career suicide bomb tonight with another red card. When you consider the nonsense that gets written about Brown, you wonder that the media hasn’t called this little ned exactly that.
Sevco managed to blow themselves up in spectacular fashion this evening; it wasn’t an impressive display from them by any manner of means according to what I’ve heard, but to be in an unconvincing 1-0 lead in the last minute, to get a penalty, for Jack to explode after being provoked by Kirk Broadfoot (who gave the penalty away), to miss the spot kick and then concede a goal in quick succession … incredible even for them.
Their club is in freefall. I heard earlier today that King met with Caixinha in a Glasgow restaurant last night and that it was all smiles and friendly pats on the back. I love it. Because it’s a recognition that sacking him will be massively expensive and that it probably can’t be done … but like with everything else it gets to a point where you weigh up whether you can afford to do it against whether you can afford not to. And there’s always a tipping point.
To say Sevco fans are beyond furious tonight is an understatement; Pedro’s saving grace might be that a lot of the anger is directed at their neddish midfielder. But none were convinced by the performance tonight even prior to the penalty.
Celtic are so far ahead of everyone else this season I cannot foresee us losing to anyone, any time soon. We play with a confidence and swagger that if we can find a way to take into Europe will be awesome to behold. Aberdeen are miles from putting up a challenge against us. Sevco are far, far, far behind even them. That club is crumbling in front of our eyes.
This feels like a big, big night. The title challenge has been shown up as nothing of the sort; even were Aberdeen capable of winning every match that isn’t against us, it won’t be enough if we’re capable of doing the same and we are.
For Sevco this is a moment which sums up the entire trajectory of their club, and nobody is kidding themselves on any more that this is something that can be fixed.
This is the beginning of the end, for a whole lot of people over there.