Last Night’s Results Turn The Spotlight On Gerrard … And He Turns It Back On His Players.

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Steven Gerrard will be dialling “Nine, Nine, Nine” at the end of the season should he experience another trophy-less campaign at Ibrox.

This one will see Celtic lift a ninth, historic, consecutive title.

And going by the soundbites from last night, I’m sure the Ibrox gaffer has a cunning plan.

It looks like he’s consulted James Traynor on some damage limitation, shifting the blame on to his players; which to me is conceding the title.

The much heralded “Great White Hope” looks like he’s chucked it after his side were put to the sword by Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. They came back after December talking up their chances, but now it looks like they took one step forward and two steps back.

Since returning from the winter break, the Ibrox club have lost twice whilst the Green Machine have swept aside 8 sides, scoring twenty seven and conceding just three.

Despite the ex-Liverpool midfielder stating that he would “take full responsibility” in his post-match interview he still decided to throw his team under the bus on the same night that Celtic took five off of Hearts at Celtic Park.

Gerrard publicly questioned his side’s mentality. It’s not the first time he has.

Each time he does he says he would will solve the club’s problems. I’m sure he’s being paid handsomely to do so.

Ibrox fans should be concerned about his comments at a time when they should be pushing us hard. Right now they do not look like a cohesive side with fire in their bellies. Defeat at Kilmarnock and Tynecastle now leaves the Ibrox side 10 points adrift of the 8-In-A-Row Champions.

Of course, they have a game in hand but would you bet on them winning it?

If Gerrard is going to seek answers, then surely he should “take responsibility” and look at his own failings.

Football as we know is not all whiteboard tactics – there’s a massive dose of psychology goes with it.

Alarms bells will be ringing as Gerrard deems his side weak yet again.

Only a matter of weeks ago they seemed to be mounting a title challenge but like last year they’ve fell at a big hurdle. Their fans were gleefully triumphant and “55 is coming” rang in many Hoops fans ears including mine. At times even we were believing the hype.

After their victory at Celtic Park I was concerned about what Celtic did next. Lennon, to his eternal credit has changed the plan, upped the ante and most notably altered the formation, giving a new lease of life to Griffiths in a two up top partnership.

He sprung a surprise on many and at present this side is now playing some tantalising stuff.

Whilst Sevco and its fans lorded it up, Celtic took the reins back and has smashed it. All the talk was of how many points Celtic would drop in the ten away games they would face before the split. How’s that turned out so far? It’s early for getting the champagne out, but we’re bang on form.

Whilst Celtic has made hay, they stoked the fire too early and are effectively burnt out too soon. It’s not to say that the league is won … until it’s mathematically impossible I’m keeping the powder dry. But the victory is back in our hands. It’s ours to lose.

Interestingly, our top player Odsonne Edouard basically said the December defeat was the kick up the arse they needed. It showed there’s solidarity at Celtic in huge amounts. Celtic players have huge belief in their ability and the talents of the players around them.

The effects are obvious given the recent performances.

Whilst many have their calculators out and are scrutinising the fixtures home and away there’s a lot of “what ifs”. Celtic look less likely to drop points than they do but we all have a sense of reality. Defeat can come at any time, but I’m sure we can deal with it.

Gerrard has a point about them being “weak” and it’s for that reason that I’m that bit more confident of 9 In A Row.

Celtic seems are not only strong mentally but physically. They’ve kept their heads down, took defeat on the chin and turned it into a positive. This will, in large part, be down to the stewardship of Lennon and the captaincy of Scott Brown.

But over on the south side, their manager is questioning his teams mentality and he’s breaking the cardinal rule and doing so publicly. The honeymoon is definitely over for Gerrard and to be frank, if this season remains fruitless then it’s a question as to whether he or the club will be the ones filing for divorce.

But no doubt it will be the old “amicable split with no-one else involved”.

This is now his side. He’s been backed by his board who spent £7m on Ryan Kent and in laymen’s terms he hasn’t kicked his own arse. Celtic’s £7m defender is edging Kent on the goal-scoring front at this stage of the season. A worrying statistic for their fans.

I also believed at the break that the league would come down to bottle and not goal difference.

But it’s nice to have that cushion too.

On the bottle front, pictures circulating from Rugby Park show some of their players looking shell-shocked, like rabbits in the headlights.

That itself tells its own story.

If they are to maintain a challenge then they’ll need to make a carbon copy of Celtic’s game-plan … but does Gerrard have a Plan B in him, and is it too late to find out?

Gavin McCann is a Celtic fan and blogger from Glasgow. He has written for various Celtic sites in the past.

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