Having watched the first 95 minutes of the Scottish Cup Final – after which there was no point in watching any further – the question arises in my mind; if we don’t blow it for ourselves, where is the threat coming from next season?
Not from Edinburgh; that was as gutless and woeful and useless as performance from Hearts today as you could ever hope to see. Against a team that had suffered a psychological hammer-blow in midweek and was dying on its arse they could not muster a single shot on target against the Ibrox second choice keeper, in a cup final.
Not one shot.
If you’ve watched them under Van Bronckhorst, he has only really attempted to play proper attacking football at the start of his tenure.
Celtic dismantled that in 45 minutes, and it was only at half time in that game that he switched his tactical approach to the current one … and he’s stuck with it, when every club – including us, we shouldn’t get off here – ought to have figured it out already.
They sit deep and hit on the break.
That’s the theory anyway. The thing is, too many managers see this and think it’s an obvious trap. So their answer – and Ange did this too – is to sit back instead and give them the ball.
The reason they are in this final, and not us, is that we did exactly that and I am still pretty frustrated about it.
Today at Hampden, Hearts had a pathetic 37% possession.
If they weren’t going to at least try to win it for their fans, what was the point in showing up?
No team that seeks to win a cup final should be giving their opponents that much of the ball. You are asking for trouble and it was a matter of time before the Ibrox club scored. A matter of time.
Yet I contend that although well organised, this is an eminently beatable Ibrox team.
We should not have the least concerns about playing whatever version of them emerges from this summer, because Van Bronckhorst thinks that this is a tactical masterplan which cannot go wrong and I’m not sure that he has a Plan B for when it does.
I expect him to double down on this tactic.
This is how they will play next season, and although there’s been a struggle, so far, for certain managers to figure it out that can’t possibly last much longer. I expect that with our players fully rested and geared up for business that we’ll have no difficulty in running rings round them in the next campaign.
I’ll tell you right now, that was not a great advert for Scottish football today. It was a woeful final, with one team huffing and puffing and the other apparently content to sit back and wait for an Aaron Ramsey penalty to give them the trophy.
It was wholly unimpressive … and not in the least bit scary.
We are by far the best football team in this league. By far. By miles.
If that match today did nothing else, it reaffirmed that for the whole country to see.