At half time today I was furious. At full time a large section of Scottish football was. Curiously, they will claim that we are furious about exactly the same thing; a lamentable refereeing display and inexplicable decisions. But since I suspect none of those who were wailing at the end were doing so at the break I really couldn’t care less how bitter they feel tonight.
If you weren’t moaning at half time, I couldn’t care less about your greeting at full time.
I have just one thing to say to you; GIRFUY.
The first half display by the officials was appalling. Motherwell held true to their pre-match threat to rough-house us. When they were finally reduced to ten men it was God’s little joke that it was for something so apparently innocuous. For all that, I think it was a penalty and if it was a penalty then by virtue of the rulebook it was also a red card. But it was nothing on the vicious studs high lunge he got away with without even a booking shortly before Moussa got a yellow for less.
In my opinion, it was a just moment.
I say again to anyone who is in mourning; GIRFUY.
I get sentimental sometimes. We all do. I never do about football. I don’t cry for the losers on days like today. Our job was to win and we did, and we would have won quite comfortably whether he had been sent off or not. We would have won had the penalty not been given. Because from the moment the two teams stepped onto the pitch only one side tried to win, only one side looked likely to and from the scoring of the first goal it was done.
We were going forward and carving them open at will. Let the hacks and those who wish us ill conjure up fantasies of what might have been. I’ve seen us on the end of stinking disgraceful decisions at that ground before – Ronny was robbed of a treble chance by one of them – and nobody mourned for us. I am not interested in their hard luck story.
Some are already bemoaning the cruelty of it all, the way the fairy-tale was snatched away from the Motherwell players. It’s blah blah blah to me. Sevco fans believe in fairy-tales too; it hasn’t done them a lot of good these past five years.
It’s not our job to play Santa to the rest of Scottish football. We know what our job is and today we produced a ruthlessly efficient performance when it mattered and that’s what we’ve been doing for the past 18 months. Nothing was going to stop us today.
This team is made of strong stuff. Had we suffered the loss of a player to a red card I don’t think we would have spent time feeling sorry for ourselves. I watched that day against Inverness as Ronny’s team wilted under the pressure of that moment; Brendan’s side would have found an extra gear. They would have rallied. When we went one down to Aberdeen in last year’s Scottish Cup Final we were back level within minutes. That’s mental toughness.
That’s what this team has in abundance, that and the class, the quality, to put any side in this country to the sword when it matters.
Four trophies in a row. We’re a long way from Gibraltar.
For every person who bemoans the “controversy” today and claims it spoiled the game for them there will be a Celtic supporter who doesn’t give a monkey’s and is celebrating another piece of history made and us taking another step closer to even greater glory. We deserve it. Because we did play football today. We did attack. We were patient.
And we got our rewards. The rewards are just starting.
Ladies and gents, that was not brilliant but it feels brilliant. That was not sexy football but it was glorious to see those players walk up and collect that cup. Today The Sunday Mail was begging Motherwell to win that one “for the good of Scottish football.” The day the hacks at that arse rag care about the greater good of our game is the day I’ll stop doing what it is that I do; I feel confident that day will never come.
There’s a general feeling that sooner or later we’ll get sick of all this, sick of the success and the winning and the collection of trophies. Not in this lifetime. Paul Cassidy’s brilliant Dark Days articles on this site are especially readable and relatable at a time like this; those were the years when we endured. When we suffered.
Man oh man, to have seen them and to have seen now. Nixon might have been a shifty sonofabitch who had to resign his office in disgrace – what that those at the SFA had such a moral code – but he knew what he was talking when, in his final speech before the country, he said;
“The greatness comes not when things go always good for you. But the greatness comes when you’re really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes. Because only if you’ve been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.”
Take a big deep breath of that summit air.
Because this is our time. This is our club. This is our city. This is our game.
We’re halfway to the back to back trebles and they can moan about it as much as they like.
Because, folks, that’s all they can do.