Roger Mitchell was back to being his annoying self last night, with a criticism of the Celtic fans who have taken a certain level of satisfaction in the Ibrox club exiting the League Cup. He seems to think that’s small-minded and parochial.
Why shouldn’t we though?
They market themselves as our local rivals, they are pretenders to our SPL crown, they constantly big themselves up mistaking “progress” for “achievement.” For months now they’ve had the swagger of a team who has already done big things … in fact, in case anyone needs reminding, Gerrard’s cup competition record reads entered seven won zero.
In the latter part of the last two campaigns, they have collapsed like a house of cards. If you watch their recent performances, they’ve been steadily slipping week on week. Last night was only a shock if you didn’t know they struggled at the weekend too.
And yes, this gives Celtic fans hope.
Mitchell seems to think that this means we’ve taken our eyes off the problems at our own club, but nothing could be further from the truth, and I don’t know where he gets the idea from. Nobody I know is suggesting, or has suggested, that all our worries are over … grave doubts remain that even if the Ibrox club has started to slide that we can take advantage.
The issues that haunted Celtic last week haunt Celtic now. The problems which we had last week we still have today. But we’ve, all of us, spent weeks lashing our own club to the point of protests outside the stadium and a banner saying “Shoot The Board.”
Last night was our first night in a while for remembering that in spite of our problems, we’re still the biggest club in this country by far, with a record that is the envy of every other team. You can accept and acknowledge satisfaction at the Ibrox hype bubble popping with a sweet sound, believe Celtic has the wrong manager, think our board are old men past their best and without a clue how to take us forward and yet be looking forward to the weekend and putting the seal on the greatest period of domestic dominance in the history of Scottish football all at the same time.
These things don’t co-exist in parallel universes; they are all part of our current reality, and in that reality we’re playing for a Quadruple Treble at the weekend and at the same time have one of the most out-of-touch boardrooms in the country. These things are both facts, just as it’s a fact to say that the Ibrox club exiting the League Cup last night doesn’t reinstate us in the tournament. It does not make our exit one bit more acceptable or bearable.
But it is important to us nonetheless, because their exit and the manner of it is as dramatic a piece of evidence that theirs is a club which will drop points and present us with opportunities as you are ever likely to see. Why should we not enjoy the moment?
Things at Celtic need to come to a head, eventually, and sooner I think rather than later. This board has shown its contempt for the fans in the past few months in a way that marks all their cards forever and none of us is going to forget it. Their disastrous strategic decision-making put this season on the brink of catastrophic failure … it may still end that way.
But even if it doesn’t, we’re not going to forget that. Our eyes are firmly where they belong, but we’re capable of focussing our attention on more than one thing at a time. Last night we saw, and all of Scottish football saw, irrefutable evidence that the Ibrox house is built on sand. As theirs is the club that wants to overthrow us, why should we not celebrate that?
Roger Mitchell is a smart and capable guy, but this is an example of the high-handed virtue signalling that really puts a lot of our people off. Last week he made an outstanding contribution to the debate over the direction of our club. This morning he’s moaning just to hear the sound of his own voice. If he stopped doing that, he would be an invaluable part of the campaign for change not only at Celtic but within Scottish football as a whole.