This week we saw a peace which in some ways was cheaply bought. In terms of what it will cost the club it was an expensive piece of business, but in pulling out of the Australian tour they have at least easily paid off the ranting lunatics who were threatening to turn tomorrow into an ugly, ugly occasion. But their board has been pretty short-sighted.
Because, of course, tomorrow is still more than capable of turning into an ugly occasion for all concerned at Ibrox. All we have to do is score early and take control of the game.
Their board probably do believe that all they’ve done is bought themselves a little time, and a little breathing room. But they’re sitting on a volcano and they know it, because their fans had convinced themselves that the tide in Scottish football was flowing their way again and they see their club as having slept and allowed us to re-take the initiative.
I have some sympathy for their board in that view, because of course it’s fictional.
We are the strongest and biggest club in Scotland, and one season has not changed that simple fact.
There will be Ibrox fans born this year who might never, in their lifetimes, see a period of sustained success, something that last years. That’s how strong we are, and everything is flowing away from their club from the direction of European football to simply demographics; the base from which they can draw their fan-base is shrinking, and ours continues to grow.
That will not make a blind bit of difference to The Peepul even if you could get them to sit down and listen to that, and even if you made them believe it. They still believe that in the here and now they are the bigger club, the stronger club and that what happened last season reaffirms that. And to them, they cannot comprehend that our team might just be better.
So if we score early tomorrow the default setting in that stadium will go from being one of supreme confidence to the opposite extreme; they’ll think their world is collapsing and they will automatically swing into blame mode, and they will hold it against the people running the club.
This is where our paltry 700 tickets might work most in our favour; if their ground is afflicted by the old fear and loathing and those 700 fans are making the most noise, the only time their supporters will even be heard is when they are booing their own players.
And that sounds loud in a crowd where your fans are the majority … in a ground where it’s virtually only your own fans (aside from a small cohort who hate you anyway) that will sap at their confidence and will to win like nothing else in the world.
So of course we’ll start on the front foot.
Of course we’ll go for the jugular. Of course we’ll play for the three points, and right from the off. If we take the lead early, their whole afternoon could very quickly devolve into a long, long wait for the full time whistle.
We can kill their title hopes stone dead, and we can do it in the first ten or twenty minutes.
That’s what the game plan will be.
End it, and end it quickly.