So many of those who have predicted this game today are tipping it in favour of the Ibrox club, and when they are asked why they fall back on one of the laziest rationales of them all. “They need to win it more. It’s a necessity.” I find this amazing.
Others are bringing out that hoary old nonsense about how “the form book goes out the window.” That, too, is sheer nonsense; the form side wins these games more often than not.
I fell into the “necessity” trap last season prior to the Scottish Cup tie. I thought that our team, which had not found form in the whole campaign, would finally muster enough fight in the one trophy we had left, the trophy we were defending, to put on a show. How could we not? Did these guys have no professional pride left at all? They were still good players.
I remember what happened. In hindsight, it was mad ever to believe that we would be able to get a result in that one. Morale had cratered. Kennedy isn’t a manager in his life although he might well be a better coach than we thought. Too many players had chucked it. We were a disorganised shambles with nothing left in the tank.
You live and you learn, I guess.
Because, of course, none of that stuff really matters at all. This game will be decided by which is the better team, who has the better players and who has the better game plan. Our unbeaten run suggests very strongly that this is us. The performance at Celtic Park was so good and the beating we gave them so comprehensive that I wonder how anyone can doubt that we’re the better footballing team, and our league position confirms it.
Need? Since when did clubs win games merely because they needed to? And do Celtic not sort of need to win this one as well? Is there a greater need to win a match if you’re trying to stay in a race, or is there a greater need in ending the threat of your nearest challenger so that you can remove all remaining pressure on yourself and stroll to the finish line?
A lot of us have been waiting for this day since we rolled out of Ibrox the last time, having been the better team but without the squad in place and without the system being fully operational. Celtic Park bore out our suspicion that we had a substantial individual in charge with a great eye for a player and that we had built a title winning team.
Today will be the full vindication of that belief.
Enjoy the game folks, and I’ll see you on the other side of the 90 minutes.