Before last season’s first game at Ibrox, when we hadn’t lost there in the history of the club that plays its football out of that ground, and when our last visit there had been an undiluted triumph, the hacks were asked to pick a winner.
Most of them chose Celtic, because that’s what the form book pointed to overwhelmingly.
But a few took the home team.
Whenever we’ve played the Ibrox club over the last few years there have always been people who took them to win. You expect it. So even when there was absolutely no doubt whatsoever as to what the result would be, you would have people tipping them for no logical reason at all.
I have never seen unanimity before one of these matches … except this time.
Not one tipster from a major title – not one – has picked Celtic. It is incredible.
We have won three trebles on the bounce. Our last trip to Ibrox came after the title was secured and literally nothing was at stake. They haven’t played any better at the start of this campaign than we have … indeed, we’ve won most of our games emphatically whereas they struggled.
But because of what some perceive as defensive weaknesses, they are being tipped to win.
One hack even thinks they could score at least four times.
You know what makes me laugh about that? We’re the team with the three goals a game average.
Our defensive record has been consistently brilliant, year in year out … for years.
I can’t believe that not one of them – if they were looking at this logically – can see that we are still far and away the best team in the country.
I cannot believe that they think this side of ours are massive underdogs when this side has won every domestic trophy up for grabs in the last three years. We’ve lost one game this season, and everyone agrees that it was the manager’s tactics which were to blame for that … and it was the game where our so-called problematic defence wasn’t played in its correct shape and system.
Our so-called defensive frailties are a mark of the system we’re playing, and the manager is right to say that when they grow into it we’ll be very, very tough to even score on. Our forward going players are powerful enough that if we get motoring the home club will spend the entire game with every man behind the ball to prevent us from rolling over them.
I have never wanted to win one of these more than I want to win this one, to silence a whole summer of absolute guff, an entire media bowing down to a famous name at Ibrox who last season had a mere 50%-win ratio. I am betting on it sliding back towards that number soon.
He says his side is no longer afraid of us. No longer afraid of the most dominant club side Scotland has seen in 50 years. My answer to that is he and his players are too stupid to be afraid. They’ve forgotten their respect, they’ve forgotten what total dominance looks like, ensconced as they’ve been in a summer of unrelenting praise.
Their first real test hasn’t come yet. Today’s the day.
Their first real beating hasn’t been administered. Guess what? That’s today too.
Destroy them, Celtic. Burst this bubble. Stamp all over it with steel toe-capped boots on. The critics have written us off. How stupid are they going to look tonight? Make them eat it Celtic, make them eat every single goddamned word of it.
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