Why Fear Mingles With Frustration For Celtic’s Rivals On A Bad Afternoon For Our Club.

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I remember seasons like this; for a brief moment, the last campaign was one of them.

You get ahead of your rivals for a spell and hope to pull away.

Then there comes a day when they drop points in a match and instead of moving decisively clear you slip up at the same time.

You edge a little further in front, but that’s not a cause for celebration as much as frustration.

And in the frustration is an element of fear.

Because you know when your own team isn’t playing well. You know when you’ve blown a chance to give yourself the thing you need most when your own side is going through a spell of struggling; you’ve blown room to breathe.

The advantage you have is slight. It can be chipped away and overcome still.

Had the Ibrox club won today, the pressure on Celtic to win their next two games would be immense.

I think it’s still pretty high.

But there’s pressure on Ibrox as well because they haven’t gotten further in front.

They know the psychological weight of moving into a six point lead this early, and four is still a big number … but this is how the doubts get started.

They don’t look invincible this season.

They don’t even feel particularly invincible.

They’ve lost four games already, three in Europe and one in the league.

They’ve dropped four points in their title defence … take us out of the equation for a minute and focus on that.

They barely dropped that in the whole of the last campaign.

We have at least shown flashes wherein you know we can do a damned sight better than we did today.

They have shown nothing so far.

And when you are going through a spell like that, when the bloom has come off of last season’s rose, when the things that clicked aren’t clicking anymore and you’re picking up injuries and whittling down the strength of the squad you need all the space you can get as you try and get your act together and put together some kind of consistent winning run.

Because here’s the fact of it, in case it’s not already obvious; the first of these two teams to put one of those together is probably going to win this title.

The first time one of these sides goes on an eight, nine, ten game winning run they will have the momentum they need for the rest of the campaign.

If that’s us, we will quickly overcome their modest gap, and having thrown a lead away … well that eats into a team like nothing else does and then days like this take on their real significance.

Which of these two teams is best placed to go on that run?

Look across the city; there are obviously real problems behind the scenes over there.

Even in the games, like last weekend, where they won you can see that something isn’t right … they won three points in Perth courtesy of a penalty kick and an unstoppable screamer.

That’s little more than rolling the dice and getting a six.

Luck doesn’t last.

Had we been on the end of a six-point gap tonight I’d have felt pretty despondent.

Had they hit Motherwell for four or five today I’d have felt genuinely concerned.

But they have feet of clay and I feel that they’ve missed a big opportunity on a day when we weren’t at the races at all, miles from the football we know we are capable of producing.

We can be so much better than we were this afternoon, we know that because we’ve witnessed it in this campaign already.

The question is, are they topped out?

What do they have in the tank when they go to tough away grounds and drop points on a day when we’re coasting?

Football games are not just won on the pitch and league titles are not just won their either; they are psychological contests as much as anything else, and part of why they took such heart last season was that we were seriously on our knees and that was obvious, early, and one of the days on which it became most obvious was when they came to Parkhead and won and we failed to start pulling away from them.

That’s how it starts, with little doubts.

So today they are frustrated, but mark my words they are also a little bit scared.

When you have your opponent on the ropes you need to hammer him onto the canvass lest you pay a high price for it later.

Today they failed to strike us a savage blow.

Remember; the first one of these sides to put together an extended run of victories will win this title.

Does that look more like us or them?

Think that one over.

It will be playing on a lot of minds over there.

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  • Sean says:

    We don’t have a plan b, and that’s the worrying thing. Jota was an absoluse big girls blouse, he won’t last in Scotland if today’s evidence is anything to go by. Ange under pressure now, 4 points behind allready. Pathetic performance. James you said this team are great, well I’ll tell you 1 thing, defensively horror show. You need a spine of a team, that mob from ibrox have it, we don’t. Hart was our best player, that’s a horrific indictment.

  • John Pryce says:

    Forget about over there. We’re on course for a P38 W19 L19 season. Ange has to prove he doesn’t live in LA LA Land, I’m not convinced, far from it tbh. Barnes won his first 12 league games, let that sink in. We lack fight, nous, quality, pace, steel, men, fluidity etc. etc. etc. We’ll be a banter Club before long if this naive nonsense on the field of battle continues. No Plan B, no Plan C, easy to play against and easy to take points off.

  • Mark B says:

    I have to admire your optimism it’s very impressive. Let’s be clear we definitely don’t look like we can string three wins together never mind nine. We are miles off it. Sadly they look way more likely as we can’t stop leaking goals.

  • James Forrest says:

    I thought the reason I’m writing about it was self explanatory.

    And we’re absolutely NOT on the way to a W19 L19 season; as a betting man I’m happy to take your money on that.

    • Ange Baby says:

      James, we lost yet again away from home, and yet again failed to win at Livingston who were bottom of the league.
      We were so bad that IMO Bolingoli was one of our best players yet you focus on Rangers dropping points!
      Quite bizarre

  • Peter cassidy says:

    Will be lucky to finish mid table going of todays performance to passive and light weight ange has a lot to sort out hope he can and learn quickly or he is toast .

    • Droopy McCool says:

      “Will be lucky to finish mid table” implies you think we’ll actually finish in the bottom 6. Step away from your keyboard, take a deep breath and think about that one.

  • James Reilly says:

    Probably your poorest ever article.

    Outfought and outthought by a pub team who are bottom of the league and you think the pressure is on rangers?

    We have 9 points from 18, 7 months without an away win, this season after 3 away games have scored one goal but you focus on rangers.

    In business I have dealt with companies with turnovers from £10m to £100m and talking a good game is easy, doing it is a different story and the manger ain’t doing it.

  • SSMPM says:

    James I for one am simply not interesting in a compare and contrast with that new club last week, this or next. We need to meet our own standards. I’m frustrated as hell but still behind Ange and don’t think we should be fearful of anything…yet. Hopefully we will get on that run and change this frustrating time. HH

  • Joe Ure says:

    I warned you weeks ago that Angewas out of his depth and would be a disasterand ive
    been proved 100% correct Your sycophancy towards him is ludicrous
    Sevco are almost as bad just now and Hibs could win the League unless Jack Ross is
    given the Celtic job

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