Last Season, Celtic Proved That “Fortress Ibrox” Is A Myth. Why Do Others Believe In It?

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Last night, in the aftermath of the Ibrox club’s European win, I read, with incredulity, the opposition coach say that he thought the tie was won in the first leg because his team didn’t score enough times at home to make up for what he expected in the return leg.

As defeatist attitudes go, this was a David Martindale special, and an abject admission from him.

And it dawned on me; he believes in the fiction of Fortress Ibrox, just as other teams seem to.

I would not expect that Ruud Van Nistelrooy and his team will be intimidated by the prospect of going there, but you never know.

Some of these myths are hard to shake off.

Any club which visits that ground should ignore the white noise and basically approach the game in the same way they would at home, and especially in Europe.

You all know I didn’t rate their run last season and think it is, itself, little more than a spook story to scare kids with … what nobody can dispute is that the run was built on home form though.

Teams now go to Ibrox and change their whole style, and all it does is play into the hands of the home team and their fans.

One team in the last 12 months has not taken that approach, and that was us. We went there early in Ange’s tenure and they only just beat us. The next time we went there we came back from a goal down to win.

We did it in spite of a restricted support of less than a thousand fans.

The stadium was filled to the rafters with their own fans, at their supremacist worst and our players did not rattle. Indeed, under immense pressure in a close title race we got the win which extended our lead at the top and all but finished off their chances of catching us.

All we did is refuse to be distracted by the hype and hysteria and focus on the job.

We refused to compromise our style just because we were in their house, and it was because we played basically without fear that we got the massive result we needed.

What the Belgian’s coach last night said was utterly ridiculous. So they didn’t score a third at home.

Did it dawn on him that he had 90 minutes in which to score the goal on their ground which would effectively have put the tie out of sight? Or was he hoping simply to hang on in there and get out with whatever he could?

Clearly, he had zero expectation of getting a result, and when you take that mentality into a fixture you are done before the ball is even kicked.

We will face hellish games in the Champions League, and whilst I think it is important to be realistic I know that our best hope for getting points is to play without fear, and on the front foot.

Nobody at Parkhead will concede even one of those matches beforehand; Ange simply will not permit that kind of thinking, and no half decent manager ever should.

His refusal to even contemplate a more defensive game acknowledges that our strengths lie in our forward play and an acknowledgement that the really great teams are capable of taking apart any opposition on their day, and so sitting back and trying to hold on for a 0-0 or something like that is not only stupid, but suicidally so.

There are teams in this league who will go to Ibrox and get results this season, including ours.

So quite frankly, I don’t know why any side which aspires to play European Group Stage football should be afraid to go there and play their own game without overthinking it and changing their whole approach as if Ibrox was some impregnable stronghold.

We proved that it’s not.

Teams who go there thinking themselves beaten before the game even starts deserve everything that they get.

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  • Tom Foolery says:

    Lyon done them at ibrox.

  • Johnny Green says:

    The Belgian defence were bad in the first leg and last night’s result did not surprise me. What I took from it though was, how they had been beaten in the first leg so easily by a bad team, and even last night they struggled until they got the penalty. After that the inexperienced Belgians showed just how naïve they were and basically fell apart. I have no idea how good or bad PSV are, so I won’t make any predictions, but they won’t have to be world beaters to beat that mob, home or away.

  • Paul Sweeney says:

    Like you’ve previously mentioned they read and believe the red tops. So much to be said for an education!

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Funny tho, nae mention from keith jackarse in his article of the Belgians bein a ‘second rate’ outfit, as he called them last week. Never mind, they get their goals and suddenly the ibrox lot are, as his headline says, ‘Euro specialists’. Ffs, they really cannae help theirself can they ?! Saw most of the game and bearin in mind the calibre of team they WERE playin, there was nothin ‘impressive’ about it. In fact, until they were awarded their penalty, they were woeful. Even for parts of the 2nd half they were the same. Nothin there tae be over concerned about imo.

  • SSMPM says:

    A big leap being made between laughing at the hun’s dismal defeat last week to somehow saying the tie was over.

  • Charlie McGuire says:

    One of the USG players said the atmosphere had nothing to do with the result and didn’t affect them at all. It was more about the silly goals they lost and the failure to take chances. No doubt it gives their players a lift to have 50,000 behind them but good sides who go there and have the players to break quick will beat Sevco easy enough, they’ve no pace at all in that defence.

  • Droopy McCool says:

    I wouldn’t be wetting my pants over their ground being called a fortress. Do they lose at home that often? No, so it’s difficult to get a result at their ground, let’s call it a fortress, big deal.

    I doubt whether any decent European teams change their tactics based on hyperbole that they will be blissfully unaware of either.

  • Roonsa says:

    To be honest, I am gutted they turned it around. But not surprised. I have always been of the opinion that you keep your powder dry till things are cut and dried. 2-0 could have been enough but we know from our own experiences that you can turn it around (i.e. Karagandy). In fact, against Karagandy, in we scored our first goal just before HT although we weren’t gifted a penalty to enable us to score it. What a surprise, eh? A penalty to break the deadlock. Just before half time. It was like it was pre-determined to happen, eh?

  • Bob (original) says:

    Instead of ‘Fortress’ maybe they meant to say Ibrox is ‘like Fort Knox’?

    …Ibrox is guarding every penny from being able to leave Ibrox!

    Qualifying for the CL Group Stage will be desperately needed,

    to try and put some positive spin on yet another set of shocking Annual Accounts for RIFC, with accumulated losses approaching £120M…?

  • Starman says:

    2 pub teams playing, wan wins 3-2 on agg.. BIG DEAL!! PSV will Fukin MURDA them & then we can all PISH oorsel wae them having tae play every Sun BAWAHAHAHAHAHA!!

  • Pcelt says:

    There is no myth but we have to admit their recent record in Europe is far better than ours and if we don’t have a plan B for the some of the champions league games coming up we will be well beaten,some of these teams are far superior to teams in the europa who beat us last season.

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