In the aftermath of last night’s game, Ange brushed aside questions about refereeing and said that he doesn’t want the players to focus on that. In the dressing room he praised them and after the game told the BBC how proud he was of them.
“It would have been easy to lose their composure when the chaos was happening,” he said. “But they stayed calm and got their rewards for doing that. That just fuels them going down this road of being a certain kind of football team.”
“I don’t think we got the rub of the decisions tonight,” he said. “A few went against us. I said to the boys we won’t complain about it, we will just win games and let that speak for itself. A few went against us tonight but we just keep going, playing our football and keep winning. Hopefully, these things even themselves out.”
Ange knows better than that already, of course.
He knows this won’t “even itself out” because he’s already seen that we’re refereed to a different standard than other clubs. The sending off last night didn’t shake him, because it didn’t surprise him.
I think that sooner or later Ange will make a personal point of criticising certain decisions. He has to. He is way too smart not to realise that there are times to put the pressure on officials.
You also don’t have to read between the lines to understand that what Ange is really saying is that it’s not his place to take the SFA to task … that’s the job of his bosses.
This might be the critical point. He told the players to ignore all this and focus. He himself is not going to complain … yet. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want the club to do so on his behalf.
It does not mean that he isn’t concerned, because I think he’s definitely concerned.
Some of the decisions we are watching make it impossible for him not to be.
Ange is playing one game, those behind the scenes at our club are expected to play another.
He needs to be better protected.
He knows if he opens his mouth he faces sanctions which will remove him from the touchline, to nobodies benefit but our enemy’s. It is up to the others at Celtic Park to cover him and get something like equal treatment.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that this manager of ours isn’t fully aware that this stinks, that he’s surrounded by snipers and people out to get this club. He talked of overcoming adversity; what do you think he meant by that?
Not injuries, he’s dealt with that sort of stuff his whole career.
Now he knows what the real thing looks like, what real adversity is, and sometimes it carries a microphone or a notebook and sometimes it carries cards and the SFA logo on its jersey.
Adversity? No, adversary.
Different … but in the ways that matter, the same.