With the game on Sunday shaping up to the biggest in months, the weekend’s excellent performance and result came as a welcome relief.
The team looks fitter under Kennedy than it did under Lennon, which is surprising as Kennedy has been on the coaching team the whole time.
It’s undeniable though; the team is playing better and looks stronger.
The performance at the weekend suggests that the improvement has been stark enough for us to go to Ibrox confident of winning. Kennedy has expressed that confidence in his pressers. The team is ready, the management team is ready, the fans are up for it.
There’s one thing bothering most of the fans we speak to on social media; the possibility of a game decided by the Honest Mistakes. It is not an irrational fear.
This weekend, we saw a scandalous decision fall their way against Hibs, when a perfectly good goal was chopped off for no reason at all. It’s the latest in a long line of such decisions which they have gotten in the course of this season.
They have not had a penalty given against them. Most of the punishments they’ve had handed out have been for things which officials “failed” to spot on the day. People will say that as long as justice is done that’s alright, but if a blatantly elbow from Morelos, say, is “missed” on the day and he scores and is “punished” later who’s kidding who?
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This is our concern, and it’s a valid one because this happens over and over again and the decision to give the game to Bobby Madden doesn’t soothe the anxiety as much as it makes it even more acute. He has previously denied that he once held a season ticket at Ibrox but not that he is a “Rangers” fan; to most of us this reeks.
That guy should be nowhere near the game, or any game involving that club. If this was England that issue wouldn’t even arise, he’d have to declare his allegiances and be ruled out. We’re the only country in Europe who pretends that our refs aren’t biased and it’s a farce that has gone on too long. One of the obstacles to change is our own club’s reluctance to back it.
Everyone knows that if we led the way on this, others would follow us. It’s outrageous that we pretend not to know that this is just plain wrong and that this system we have here virtually guarantees that you’ll get corrupt officials deciding games, if it doesn’t happen already.
Refs can decide one-off games; it’s happened to Celtic several times in the past.
Ronny’s first season saw us robbed in a Scottish Cup tie at Hampden, and it’s a word I don’t use lightly. Because this is Ibrox, and because a win for us would give us real momentum for the next campaign it’s obvious that the potential for an “error” which materially influences the outcome is higher than usual, and this in a season where we’ve already had plenty of them.
If we’re going to avoid this our club needs to start putting on the pressure now. Every time someone from Celtic is within range of a camera or microphone we have to make it clear that we have our eyes on the officials and so do the fans.
In truth, we should have started this last week, if not sooner.
The cup draw didn’t come as a great shock either, and we should have been hammering the point across that the officials wouldn’t be allowed to decide it without us having something to say about it.
Our club is much too slow on this stuff, and it’s left us in a familiar position; looking forward to the game but concerned that it will be swung by the whistlers and all the whilst knowing that if they do interfere any response from Celtic will be too late to matter.
So yes, it’s a concern … if only we believed our club shared that concern.
Remember and vote on our Eddie Howe poll, folks … make your feelings known.
How Much Longer Should We Give Eddie Howe?
A few more days
Middle of next week
End it now and move on
End of the season