In the horrible little world of Scottish football the media would have you believe that there are only two clubs which matter; alright, let us imagine that it’s true. That essentially means that there are really only two managers which matter.
Mark Warburton revealed the shocking truth of how it works here; the media always has a “good cop and a bad cop.” It’s a stupid analogy, but I understand what it means. The media elevates one man over the other. It makes them feel good if that one is at Ibrox.
One of the two managers in the media spotlight has a settled squad and a league winners medal. The wind should be in his sails and the road ahead should be clear.
His rival is a new manager, in a new country, who inherited a shambles and who has an entire team to rebuild, and has done so under what most of us would consider to be less than optimal conditions.
The new guy has been given no time to settle. No allowances are made for the fact that he’s trying to integrate an entire team.
That he’s trying to get ideas across to players and staff who might not have been ready for them. That he’s trying to do it without coaches he chose or without the support system above him which he should have found at a club this size.
But one of those managers is under performing in a lot of ways. The other is over performing in many ways. The league table doesn’t tell the full story. So perhaps the stats do. When you look at the stats you see something interesting. Very interesting.
Ange Postecoglou, with 24 games under his belt, has a higher win ratio than Gerrard does this season so far. Gerrard has had 22 games.
What tips the balance in our favour is Ange’s laudable European record. It doesn’t tell the full story either, but it’s an interesting fact which nobody in the media wants to talk about.
We are four points behind them in the league, courtesy of the last minute missed penalty at the weekend, but this league race is wide open.
Their league lead is built on sand. Out of 22 games that Gerrard has managed this season, he has only 12 wins. Five games were drawn. Five have been lost. Those losses include the shattering Champions League defeats against Malmo. No matter which way you dress this up, Gerrard has no excuse for a record like that. None whatsoever.
And yet, as I like to remind people, it is entirely consistent with his first two seasons at Ibrox. Although it seems inexcusable, it really ought not to be unexpected.
Ange, even with a patchy start, has a record of 14 wins out 24.
He has three draws and seven defeats. Ange’s European record includes four losses, but it also includes five wins and some of those wins, like tonight, were big ones. The victories which got us into the Europa League were huge. The one we secured tonight might be the biggest of all, because it shows what we’re becoming.
When you consider what we were at the start of the season it is hard to deny that it’s pretty amazing where we are. There is a lot of work still to be done; nobody is taking a victory lap, but we’re entitled to feel some satisfaction at the progress.
I’ve been saying for a while now that Gerrard ought to be under just as much scrutiny, if not more, than the Celtic boss. When our Champions League exit was described as “catastrophic” it was a barmy statement, but their own could very easily have been described in that way and their Europa League form has not repaired the damage, or erased the doubts that it brought to the fore.
The only statistic that will count at the end of this season is the points total in the league; that’s a fact, and right now we’re four behind. But that doesn’t come close to offering an accurate reflection as to where we are at the moment.
One of these teams is moving forward, the other is going backwards. The managerial numbers are starting to bear that out. Before too long, all the rest of them will too.