Do you remember me writing about the “80-minute league table”, which was one of Ibrox’s most desperate pieces of straw-clutching? This started on their forums and quickly spread to the media, some of whom embraced it delightedly.
Celtic were scoring late and they were conceding late. The question was, what would the league table look like if our late goals were subtracted and the ones they conceded were too? They would have been further ahead than they were at the time, for sure … what a pity that a game doesn’t last 80 minutes but the full 90 that are in the regulations.
This week has seen the rise of an even more bizarre development. Their fans, and some of the hacks, are questioning how they could have lost a game in which they were so dominant for the first five minutes. That only rejects the importance of the next 85.
There will be a period in games where if they lasted only for that spell that Celtic would be 30 points behind them right now.
If you looked hard enough – I haven’t, and won’t – I am sure you could find it if you wanted to. To use a random example, the “61-74-minute league table” would show that if all games were calculated just on the basis of those minutes they would have wrapped it up already and Ange would have been fired in line with their predictions.
That, after all, is the twisted logic of believing that the match result does not reflect the events of that opening spell between kick-off and our equaliser.
Numerous reports have said that several of their players simply “had an off-day”, including Kent and Aribo. But really, when are their “on days”?
As Celtic fans have gleefully pointed out, Carter Vickers has more goals than Kent and Ralston has more assists and they are defenders.
Others are calling Morelos’ absence “season defining.” But he has a mere 11 league goals this season … which means that he finishes the campaign on his worst return. But you know what his worst return was before that, in the league? 12 goals. And that was last season. Know what his total in the league was the season before that? 12 goals.
To put that in its proper context, Kyogo has 8 goals this season in the league in only 14 games. His 16 goals in 26 games is only 2 goals less than what Morelos has scored across all competitions … and it is only one behind his total for last season. Giakoumakis’ record is exactly the same as Kyogo’s; he has 8 league goals in 14 games.
So where is the evidence – in his goals – that Morelos would have made any significant difference to the game? He played against us at Ibrox earlier in the campaign and did nothing.
I’ve already written about how hilarious I find those Ibrox fans who are surprised that their team didn’t turn in a “European performance” for the match against us … their record in Europe this season is actually pretty poor. They kid themselves on about this regularly, but their form there has been as poor as it’s been domestically.
They have played 14 times in Europe this season. They have won five of those games. Five. Yet they believe that if they had only translated their “European form” to the domestic game that they would have swept everyone aside. It is delusional.
They keep on coming out with this stuff, with these perverse explanations and justifications and “what if’s” and “if only’s” and all of it is simply to deflect from a truth which is much simpler than any of it; we have the better team now, with the better players and the better manager. That’s what they still refuse to face, almost a week after the game.
Unfortunately for them the next encounter with us is hurtling towards them at high speed, and there is another almost certain to come before the month ends. All the bizarre rationalisations in the world are not going to save them when those matches come.