When the full-time whistle blows tomorrow I fully expect us to be clear at the top of the league on points with a game in hand.
I fully expect the Sevco sites to be at close to melt-down.
I expect Neil Lennon to have a smile on his face after a week in which their deplorable supporters released a new pin-badge depicting their kit man holding his severed head up.
This has been quite the week of shame and disgrace over there, and it has been quite the week for our atrocious media.
Never the finest in the world, they have elevated bad journalism to new levels of absurdity with talk that having no fans benefits Sevco whilst hurting us, ignoring the form book as demonstrated by the league table and their efforts to provoke a crisis atmosphere at Celtic Park, in pushing rumours and lies about players attitudes and, of course, the health emergency and how it has cost us key members of the team for the weekend.
Phil Mac Giolla Bhain asked me the other day if there was any point in us showing up, so nearly universal was the idea that Sevco were the better side and that Gerrard had stumbled onto some kind of magic formula wherein he had Neil Lennon’s number.
Understanding all this stuff is hard.
Jock Stein was right when he said “football is nothing without the fans”, a sentiment everyone in the sport has echoed. Unless you are Sevco, for whom it is easier? Apparently so. Home advantage still counts even when you’re playing in front of empty stands, unless you’re Celtic for whom it’s crushing? Yes, indeed.
The desperate Daily Record even claimed a “pre-match victory” for the Ibrox club today because of something to do with social media.
I’m not even interested in learning what it was, because this is pathetic reaching and, of course, will have no more bearing on the result of tomorrow’s game than all that trash-talking from earlier in the season when Castore told us the quality of their kit was what was going to make the difference.
There was a time when I would have let all this stuff piss me off in the run up to a match. I think my level of amusement has been rising all week long.
My cousin asked me today whether or not I was nervous yet.
The answer is no. I am not nervous in the least.
I believe we’re going to win tomorrow, because I think Lennon’s record is better than Gerrard’s, that our players are better than theirs, that our will to win is greater and that we cope better with pressure.
But there are some wins over the Ibrox operations which have been sweeter than others, and this is going to be one of the sweetest in my lifetime. Because we are coming into this game on the back of such a torrent of negative bullshit.
This has stretched into revisionism as well. You would think Sevco had been on the brink of snatching the title last season, instead of on the brink of total meltdown. Gerrard does not, by any stretch of the imagination, “have Neil Lennon’s number”.
The record last season in the head-to-heads is that both sides won at the other’s ground but we also won at Hampden.
Spare me, Sevconuts, the garbage about how the League Cup Final was a one sided affair; it’s nonsense I’m afraid and we won the match with ten men besides. The Ibrox manager couldn’t’ find a way to beat ten men, and he ought not to be wearing it as a badge of honour.
What happened at Celtic? I don’t know. We were dreadful. But had we scored with our early penalty I still say we’d have run up a cricket score instead. We looked nervous after that when we should have been cruising instead.
I have been dying to play them since we hit our form after the turn of the year. We were due to go to Ibrox when the global health crisis hit us like a hammer, and I firmly believe we’d have ended Gerrard’s managerial career there had that game gone ahead.
We won’t end it tomorrow, but we will hit it hard enough to break something. Sevco fans are so full of themselves right now that it’s hard to believe they were demanding the manager’s head just a matter of weeks ago after they flopped at Easter Road.
Tomorrow they have no excuses.
They will roll up with virtually a full strength team against a Celtic side that will, at best, be without three players and probably at least one more. I don’t expect Ryan Christie to make it; the regulations governing his particular case make not one bit of logic or sense and I don’t believe they will be relaxed now.
So we will be understrength. The media has gleefully told us that having no fans will empower our opponents and weaken us at the same time. Our club has dressing room divisions; hey, no greater an “expert” than Charlie Adam (although no-one knows what he’s an expert on) has told us this … we are a club teetering on the brink whilst they are riding high.
So is the perception surrounding this. It’s a pity for them that it has no basis in reality.
But I am not going to allow that to spoil my enjoyment when we take the points from them.
I am not going to let it stop me from writing a gloating mocking article after the match.
Friends and comrades, enjoy your evening.
Tomorrow is going to be a fun day.
Be ready to enjoy it, and all the more so for the rivers of pish we’ve had to swim through to get here.
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