One of Scotland’s dumbest journalists – Keith Jackson of the Daily Record – has attempted to grab the spotlight from Celtic’s excellent campaign by claiming that “2003 belonged to Celtic” and that by the same token this year belongs to the club from Ibrox.
Yet his article points out that in 2003, Rangers won the domestic treble. I remember those days very clearly, and as I’ve written on this blog before 2003 was not a triumph at all simply because we made it to a European final. We didn’t win it. We didn’t win anything. 2003 was a defeat. It was a defeat with some happy memories, a glorious defeat, but it remains a fact that we did not win a single thing and Rangers did the clean sweep.
Who won manager of the year that year? It wasn’t Martin O’Neill, although we took the title to the very last day and got to the League Cup Final as well as Seville. No, Alex McLeish won it, as a manager should when he wins the lot at home.
Not a single person in the Scottish media – and certainly not Jackson – has ever made the ridiculous claim before that Celtic were the dominant team of 2003. They would laugh at the suggestion if it had been pitched by one of our fan sites.
This is nothing but a smokescreen to cover the basic fact that last season’s league title winners have had to settle, this year, for a Scottish Cup and the press has to somehow turn that into a glorious campaign.
Yes, they reached a European final. Dare I say it? Must I be forced, again, to go back to the stats? Seven wins in twenty-one fixtures, nineteen of them in the Europa League. That’s the form on which this fantasy land version of the campaign rests.
Look, I am happy that they’ve convinced themselves that this was some kind of successful season; a Scottish Cup is no more than St Johnstone won in the last one. I am glad that the overhyped European run means they are giving Van Bronckhorst another year … his one dimensional tactics may have held this season but that sort of strategy ultimately can’t.
Still, it is insulting to be fed such obvious rot from a hack attempting spin control. 2003 was not Celtic’s season any more than 2022 was the Ibrox club’s. This year belonged to us, without any question, without any debate.
Nobody credible believes anything else.