Why Does Murty Allow His Players To Disparage Us When It Strengthens Our Will To Win?

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So Alfredo Morelos has vowed to score at Hampden. In the semi-final. Against us. In two weeks.

If we were awarding points for bravery he would get a bundle. He would also sweep the board on points for stupidity. No struggling player should ever make such a ludicrous promise. You need more than just a mouth to back it up.

The thing is, I don’t hold Morelos responsible for this gross act of idiocy. I blame his manager for it, for allowing yet another one of his players to talk big in the run-up to an important game. There is a tendency at Ibrox to run off at the mouth, and it comes from the very top. In point of fact, it’s not only Murty but the board there who need to learn to shut it.

Last month, when all in the Sevco garden looked rosy and the press was writing flowery pieces about how the club was on the brink of challenging us, their players are reported to have cheered when they heard the draw. They seemed confident, and there was an impression, although I have no idea where they got it from, that we were somehow running scared, that the draw was a better one for them that it was for us.

And I wrote at the time how ridiculous that was.

I know that in this house there was a modest amount of fist pumping and a quiet, assured, confidence. I hear there was a similar feeling at Celtic Park. The mood there was that it was just another job that needed to be done, and many were pleased to have the chance to put the upstart club in its place early. I would have much preferred it this way; I want the build-up to Cup Final day to be all about the history and how our club has grown. A grubby media inspired “Old Firm” fest we can all well do without.

Sevco players aren’t laughing anymore. They are no longer looking forward to that match with any degree of anticipation. They probably regret the cheering in the dressing room now; it looks cheap, and presumptuous and it’s both those things of course but it was also damaging. Celtic needed no additional motivation, but I am certain that Brendan Rodgers was grateful for it, and so were our players. Brown, in the aftermath of the game, delivered the best riposte to the nonsense that was coming out of the Ibrox club; “We did our talking on the pitch.”

And we’ll continue to, because that’s where games and cups and league titles are won, not in the media. Not in the arrogant assertions of people who think that because they are at a club which imagines itself better than it is that they too are better than they are. Sevco is a club built on lies, but it’s also built on hubris so it’s not entirely surprising when its players demonstrate that destructive trait over and over and over again.

It is a surprise that they don’t see it as destructive. After all the carnage that’s been inflicted on them over the course of this campaign it is truly amazing that they don’t appear to realise that they are the authors of much of it themselves.

Morelos has built a pressure cooker for himself here, and wilfully climbed into it. He has raised the stakes on the manager and his own club in doing so. The wonder is that Murty allows this. He too has suffered already on the back of his players swaggering, preening over confidence. This is the sort of thing that costs people their jobs, people whose positions were far more secure than his was.

You can see already how this ends for him, and the inescapable fact of it is that he’s brought at least some of it on himself.

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