There is no romance in being a winner who just keeps on winning. The media, with its short attention span and need to sensationalise doesn’t like it when the subject they cover is dominated, so utterly, by a single entity or thing.
So it is in this case, where the entirety of the press corps is slavering over the possibility that we could lose on Sunday. They would be hoping for that outcome no matter the opposition, but of course there’s an additional element to this and it is the “restoration” of the two team duopoly, although a better word, by far, would be “resurrection.”
They are glad for a challenge to Celtic; they are gladder by the club that they think is providing it.
There is a lot wrong with their analysis, not the least of which is that you get the impression that the Scottish media would be singing a very different song if all this success was being enjoyed by their favourite team and not the East End upstarts.
I remember well their great joy, once upon a time, in telling us that Rangers had “one team for Scotland and another for Europe” and were thus well capable of succeeding on both fronts … they thought those days would never end.
That they were already reeling on the domestic front – Martin O’Neill was on his way – and never advanced an inch in Europe was largely ignored in all the glorying over Murray and the geniuses at Ibrox.
During the nine in a row over there we heard none of this chatter about how bad for the game it was that it was dominated by one team. None of it.
Those of us who remember those days know that there was none of this chest beating about the “good of the game” and how Scottish football needed a strong Celtic before there was equilibrium.
They would have had us dead, buried, gone and never to return; I try to keep that in mind when I read the gleeful reportage about how this rag-bag mob from Govan are on the verge of taking our title or our trophies from us.
Here’s the truth; although I expect us to win on Sunday there is a chance that we won’t. What will it mean if Sevco gets their hands on a League Cup?
More to them, by far, some think, than it will mean to us.
Because really, this incredible cup run of ours will end at some point … I will be just as frustrated if it is ended by an Aberdeen or Hibs or whoever. That the club hails from Ibrox will simply make the coverage harder to bear. But the impact on Celtic will be virtually zero.
Someone will beat us in a cup competition at some point.
If it is a club from outside Glasgow the media will report it as the end of an era. They will not go OTT and start proclaiming the club who inflict the defeat on us as being about to start one of their own. Everyone knows that the fundamental truth of Celtic’s strength will still be intact.
But to read the media this weekend you’d think two things and be wrong about both of them; the first is that a win for Sevco on Sunday really will be the launch-pad for a new era of Ibrox dominance and the second is that because of this, and because the media doesn’t believe we’ve got as much “skin in the game” that this means they have an edge.
And what bollocks both of those suppositions are.
Sevco has gotten to a final; good luck to them, but it’s no more than all of our opponents in finals have managed in these past few years and it’s no more than every losing team to ever do it has. What’s more even winning it doesn’t promise a new era.
Look at Hibs, who were the last team other than us to win a cup final … and it was Sevco they beat.
They spent how many years in the Championship afterwards?
Winning a trophy does not automatically set a club on a bright and shining path.
Sometimes it’s just winning a single trophy, a one off accomplishment meaning nothing more for years … decades even. Sevco fans have believed it was “their year” since their inception … it has never been true.
This idea that suddenly because we’ve enjoyed so much success that we can “afford” to lose this one is really the most desperate clutching at straws I’ve ever heard.
Whilst defeat will not precipitate a crisis at Parkhead – which isn’t the same as saying hard questions won’t be getting asked, and the board will be getting asked the hardest of all – that is not the same as saying that we have nothing to lose.
How about a shot at another treble?
How about the best run of domestic cup form probably in Europe … how close are we to a record? Close enough, I suspect, to have it marked as the next goal to achieve.
Above all else, it ignores the fact that winning is a drug, that winning is a habit, that winning is something teams enjoy doing and want to keep doing.
This team has read so much bullshit in the press about how great Sevco are that this provides an incentive of its own.
Who wants to be reading that we’re a team in decline until we wrap up the title?
The incentives are many, the opportunities vast.
This team can just keep on going, it can just keep on winning, until we’re finally stopped … we will not voluntarily cash in our chips and walk away.
The media seems to think this final is all about one club and what it means to them and their manager and their players and their rabid fans … as if there’s not another team in this game, and one with the proudest record in Scottish football’s entire history at stake.
This is just another way of saying “the team who wants it more will win” … but again, that surmises that skill, that talent, won’t play a role. It also makes a pretty big assumption about which of the two clubs that will be. Why should we want it less?
The media certainly hopes we do.
It won’t guarantee the Ibrox club victory, but if we turn up in the mood to show them all – again – who the biggest club in this country is that does guarantee them defeat.
Which is the only reason the hacks believe it.
Desperate stuff, folks. It’s loser talk … and that’s another reason we’ll win.
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