Yesterday was a lesson.
It was a lesson on the pitch, where Celtic were totally dominant.
It was a lesson off the pitch, where Lennon went in front of the media and vented some of his frustration at the dire nature of the coverage our team got in the run up to this game.
And it was a lesson for everyone who rushes to judgement and delivers snap verdicts.
And yes, that includes me and a lot of other bloggers.
I’ve been saying from the start that the venting against Bolingoli was absolutely ridiculous and the media campaign was put in motion to destroy him prior to this game.
He was excellent, and already the media is trying to say that it’s because he was not put under real pressure in the game. Cobblers.
The pressure he was under before the match even kicked off would have destroyed a lesser man and a footballer … he strolled yesterday.
Those blaming the Ibrox line-up and tactics are howling at the moon; when they beat us in May they had almost the same team on the park except their strongest goalkeeper played in this one and their wonder-boy Aribo played instead of their last wonder-boy Ryan Kent.
(He is about to sign them for £7 million according to the press … there’s a whole article to come on that lunatic act, you better believe it …)
That aside, formation and selection were the same.
The real difference is we didn’t turn up that day and yesterday we did, every single player showed up meaning business.
The criticism of Jullien was beyond even that which Bolingoli got.
It might not have been so filled with bile but it was equally ludicrous.
To see Kris Boyd sit in the Sky Sports studio after a game in which both players were absolutely fantastic, but Jullien in particular, and pretend to be an “expert” when he had written both off as a waste of money beforehand in his pitiful crayon column in a national newspaper … well that was particularly thrilling and damning of that station and the paper itself.
Why do they keep such a joker around? Comic value?
It certainly worked yesterday, but they need to stop trying to take him seriously as an “analyst” and pundit.
A lot of people in the media have wrongly described it as a “reality check” for Gerrard and his team; they have no time for reality in their lives.
If they did they would never have bumped their gums so much in the media beforehand, especially about how they no were no longer afraid of us. They regret it now, of course, but this is what always happens when mouth and brain are not in the same place at the same time.
It has blown up in their faces.
The reality check is for the media itself, an entire industry that has shown off its ignorance and bent its objectivity to snapping point in pursuit of dreams and fantasies.
That so many of the hacks are desperately longing for a miracle end to the ten in a row run has never really been in dispute for our supporters … what we saw in the last few weeks, as this game got closer, was the full embrace of that fantasy.
But as I once wrote, those who choose to live in fantasy must ever be wary of dragons … and yesterday those dragons set out for Ibrox on dark wings and laid waste.
Lennon went on the offensive at full-time, as was his right.
Did I feel piqued by his comments?
No, I didn’t, because he deserved the stick at the time and I wouldn’t change a single word I wrote.
But if he’s going to get criticism – and he is, when he screws up I’ll say so – he also deserves great praise when he succeeds.
And yesterday he played a blinder. From the first moment of the game – when Eddie booted the ball high towards the stand so that we’d be right up in their face – I knew it was going to be a good day. I texted my mates after five minutes to say “well, we’ve showed up.”
We were always going to show up this time though. The incessant chatter about them being the better team, the momentum on their side, the nonsense about Gerrard having “improved” as a manager … it was all out there bubbling away. Combined with the stick our defence was taking I knew that our squad would be inspired by it all … this team wins when it counts.
Yesterday it counted big time. Yesterday the pressure was on, but we thrive under pressure. Yesterday, when it really mattered, our manager, our players, they all delivered. Three points clear at the top of the league, and now all the momentum is on our side.
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