One of the worst things about that result yesterday was that it will spark hysteria and hype.
One of the best things about that result yesterday is that it will spark hysteria and hype.
Amidst all of it, a lot of things will be overlooked. Some will be forgotten.
The next three weeks are going to be a little slice of Hell. Prepare for it. Nothing about it will be in the least bit pleasant. We’re going to eat dirt, loads of it, buckets of it, tipper trucks full and on the back of that yesterday we absolutely deserve to.
But we’re going to eat it because the other side thinks the pendulum has swung. I think they are wrong, because amidst all the nonsense that is going to be talked a few things remain true and no lost record at Celtic Park will make them anything less than that.
Look, I’m done with underestimating this mob.
They have the ability to hang onto our coat tails all the way to the wire, unless we put together another run of games which leaves them in the dust. We also have to hope they slip up, and like us they are capable of winning even when they have to do it ugly. To get out of this with our trophy we have to acknowledge where we are.
Now, we are capable of going on that run of wins. I know we are. But let’s assume they are too. This one is going the distance, and it is going the distance because we missed our shot yesterday at bringing it to an early close. Frustration is my over-riding emotion today.
Now, Brown has said we should be using yesterday as our motivating factor for the rest of the campaign.
He is both right and wrong.
For openers, securing the ninth title in a row should be all the motivation this squad needs.
But if a little extra is required I suggest he wait a week until all the Ibrox bravado and over-confidence is on naked display … and to use that as the motivation instead.
Because the hubris bubble is swelling over there.
Yet the simple truth here is that nothing has changed. They have a game in hand but that isn’t points on the board. Although both teams look capable of going on a run, there are always unpredictable days in football, those lapses in form which shock a team to the core and seem to come out of nowhere. This will happen. In a test of strength, which is what a long domestic and European football campaign is, the better squad wins out.
And that is us, and make no mistake about it.
We have the better manager. His record, over the long haul, proves it. We have the better players. We have the better squad. Look at our bench yesterday; almost everyone on it would have walked into their team. Over the course of the season that will tell. That will be important. Their “big players” yesterday have all had torrid times of it in the course of this campaign; yesterday was the turn of guys like Ryan Christie to look out of sorts. It’ll pass.
The fundamentals at Celtic are solid; remember that in the next three weeks. We’re the biggest club in this country, by a distance. Gerrard has his team well drilled and well prepared; they are Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock with better players.
They’ve come to Celtic Park and won. Why is that a bigger story than when we went to Ibrox earlier in the season and did the same? Their form is hailed in the media whilst our own form never is. Lennon had another go at the media over that in the pre-match presser … and he was right to. This team didn’t get the credit it deserved before this game, we’re certainly not going to get it afterwards, and that is an example of what we are up against.
So, friends, we’re in the wars now and no mistake, and in order to dig ourselves out of this hole and get from one end of this battlefield to the other we need to take a good, long look around us. We need to acknowledge the position we’re in and act accordingly.
If we spend the next three weeks pulling ourselves and our club apart the mob across the city really will be celebrating something real instead of a one-day victory.
But if we deal with this situation, the reality of it, and approach the next half of the season in a new, and stronger, frame of mind then believe me, yesterday will be no more than a distant memory when it ends.
We are still the biggest and strongest and best club in this country; those are the facts of the case and they are undisputed.
It’s very much all to play for, and if we perform in the second half of the season as only we can, those facts will not change.
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