Date: 16th April 2018 at 12:36pm
Written by:

Scrape me off the ceiling. By God what a hangover.

Imagine how it feels to be a Sevconut right now though?

Theirs is probably immeasurably worse.

And it just goes on and on and on.

Some time ago, I wrote an article for Fields which was called The Fall Of Empires, where I talked about how great societies and institutions collapse. They become hedonistic. They become lazy, and insular, and corrupt. They rot from within.

What amazes me looking at the historical examples of this is that sometimes the collapse is swift, so swift that it almost seems as if some force greater than man were guiding humanity down a certain path and that a clearing out of the old order has to be made first.

And everything that stands gets swept away.

Sevco is not a great institution, it only thinks it is. But yesterday was more than just a defeat, more than just one single shattering result.

From where I sit right now, it has collapsed the Ibrox operation like a house of cards. The dressing room is riven, split into warring camps. The manager has lost his players. The club has lost the fans. The board is under pressure like never before to come up with answers it can’t even begin to find. Hacks talk of the new manager being properly funded; with what? Is there an Ibrox money tree someplace, where they can go and harvest a few million quid?

Fear wafts down the corridors at Ibrox this morning and not for nothing. They have given themselves no breathing room whatsoever. The promises that the club will be “restored” to glory are so important to season ticket sales that they have to at least try and keep them … and yet there’s simply no way for them to achieve what they want to.

They have set impossible goals and put themselves under so much pressure that they don’t dare fall even a little bit short.

Eight in a row now looks a stonewall certainty; for it not to come about, something would need to happen at Celtic Park that is so bad, and so enormous, that it is difficult to quantify. Something so dramatic might transform the game here enough to allow someone to catch us … but it would not solve the problems at Ibrox, it would merely level the playing field by making us as anarchic as them.

The problems over there are so vast that it’s difficult to know where to start trying to fix them. And the place is still so full of Real Rangers Men talking their nonsense that the level-headed voices are being drowned out. Murty went with those who “get it” yesterday, a week after I had written that this was the very worst thing he could do.

There’s no point in “getting it” if the skill-set isn’t there too.

Andy Halliday? What an atrocious managerial decision that was.

So too was the decision to play a half-fit McCrorie, and it backfired spectacularly.

The fear that stalks the halls is fear of what might happen next.

Because the more you look at the Ibrox operation the clearer it becomes that there is no plan, not even the smallest version of one. The club is in freefall this morning, and there is no soft landing in their future. The future of Sevco is pain, and that’s a fact that’s only now starting to sink in.

But fear is only one half of this; the loathing is much worse and what makes the last 24 hours feel pivotal is that it’s clear now that it burns through the whole club. Players had to be physically pulled apart at full time. Halliday had an altercation with a fan. Candelas had a go at the manager coming off the pitch. Kenny Miller’s loud-mouth missus is banging his own drum, in Murty’s face. The forums burn with fury and detestation of this team, the manager, the board … the whole place is reeling from the events of yesterday.

And yesterday isn’t even the half of it. Much of the trouble can be laid at the door of King, who’s off-field battles with the courts went an extra round last week when a hearing was held in front of a judge; it was a process issue, setting up a future hearing date. What’s that hearing about? In all likelihood it’s about charging King with contempt of court. The wheels of justice may move slowly at times, but they turn and they’ll come round to him.

King’s own rampant ego was running wild last week, with his spectacularly ill-judged decision to undermine the manager on the eve of this game. Into the mix too came the decision by one of their most promising young players to leave the club on freedom of contract; as per usual, the reaction from inside Ibrox was absolutely vicious. The press was briefed that he had been greedy, and that the manager felt personally betrayed.

There is no club like them, anywhere. The totality of this is stunning. Empires fall, and sometimes they fall so quickly that it leaves observers breathless. When the Soviet Union fell it was so swift that political scientists were still trying to acclimatise themselves to one earthquake event when another tumultuous development shook them further.

What we saw at Hampden yesterday, aside from a swaggering and majestic Celtic, was the collapse not of the Sevco team but the whole institution itself. And to think those players cheered when the cup draw was made. No-one is cheering now. No-one is laughing now. As Celtic prepares for a cup final and the awesome possibility of the back-to-back treble, at Ibrox they are tearing themselves apart. This is what the end looks like.

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