Yesterday, I had the day off. I did nothing. I wrote nothing.
Today I am going to write about how last night impacts us, and to clarify a few things that are flying around out there.
Beyond this, I won’t be writing one more word until Saturday, so enjoy the start of your weekend guys.
There are two ways to answer the question of how it affects us.
Small scale and big picture.
Here’s the small scale first, alright?
We will have to share the TV pool money. Our domestic rivals will net extra cash. How much extra cash depends on who you believe when they throw the numbers at you. Remember something that nobody wanted to talk about until this moment; there was never going to be a “£40 million gap” between the two clubs.
This is not £40 million extra.
It’s maybe £15 million and that’s still a lot of money.
Because a good Europa League run can net you a few bucks depending on wins and getting through the Groups.
They have proved adept at that in the past few years, due in no small part to the poverty of talent they’ve come up against.
So in the short term, we’ll certainly lose some money that we would otherwise have had. And yes, our principle rival will be stronger for what they just did. Those are the short term effects and you might well think we’ll feel those.
But only if we screw up badly.
In the long term, this isn’t going to affect us at all.
Try to remember this today; Celtic is no weaker than it was last night, no poorer than it was last night.
They will make money. We will make more. They’ve not even “closed the gap.” If the gap is measured in what the clubs earn, that gap will be less … but it’ll still be a gap and we’ll be on the upside of it.
Celtic is in a place now where the only thing that can do us harm is us.
If we keep our eyes on the prize, if we stay focussed, if we just do what it is that we’ve been doing, taking it one game at a time, then we will be champions at the end of this campaign.
If we keep on investing in this squad and backing this manager, we will continue to be the strongest club in this country well into the future.
I’ve been arguing here for years that what counts most in football are the underlying fundaments and our club has the fundamentals right.
We are financially secure.
We are run on a sustainable basis.
Champions League money allows us to push the boat out a little farther than we otherwise might. But we do not depend on it for our survival. We have a solid structure built on strong foundations.
Their club has spent £100 million above and beyond earnings just to get here.
This isn’t pay-day, it’s filling in the hole.
But here’s the thing; their own fundamentals have not changed one bit.
They are still a club that spends way more than it can afford to.
A couple of player sales and Champions League Group Stage football are moon-shots for this lot … it’s like being a lucky gambler and getting three good hands in a row, on the draw.
That’s what their entire club is built on; gambling.
The last club from Ibrox had three straight years of Champions League football. Three straight years of it, from 2009-2011.
Remember the significance of 2011?
It still amazes me to this day how few people really understand what happened that year.
They tell themselves that Rangers was sunk by the big tax case … that’s not what happened at all. Rangers simply ran out of cash. They were running up debts year after year and that year they ran out of road.
The fundamentals at Ibrox are still a mess.
They are addicted to spending, to behaving recklessly. And all they’ll do here, unless there are suddenly smarter people in charge over there than there have been in years, is over-reach.
None of it affects us unless we slip up. Unless we fail to do the best we can by the manager we’ve got.
And the signs on that front are good.
Sometimes it takes something like this to focus minds on the job we’re still doing … the board knows that complacency and sleeping at the wheel will be harshly punished. So does the boss and he won’t let them.
Already I’ve had to read some utter nonsense about how we’ve let them overtake us.
Say what? Have people not seen the league table?
Have people not noticed that we were already in the Champions League Groups before tonight?
Well, we’re top now and we’re defending our crown.
They aren’t in front of us, and only someone totally delusional could look at the situation at the two clubs and think they are.
Remember; we didn’t suddenly fall behind them tonight even by financial metrics.
By every estimate, we will make more from this competition than they will. So they’ve not even caught up far less overtaken us. This will be a bumper turnover year for them … but for us too. And that has to be remembered as well.
Ange is the man who says it best; we focus on the things we can control. It was not in our gift last night to stop them or aid them, and so this other ridiculous suggestion that our board is somehow complicit in this should be parked.
When our board screws up, we give them stick for it.
My last article giving them stick was a mere three days ago, when I flayed them for their Champions League ticket prices.
Some people didn’t think they deserved that. I don’t think they deserve stick for this.
Yes, we could have fought for financial fair play.
We could have fought to stop clubs in Scotland spending more than they earn, and I don’t think we did nearly enough.
But even if we had, that would have involved the rest of Scottish football giving a shit along with us and I think we all know they don’t.
This is a two club country and not one other side in it has the imagination or balls to make it anything else, but they all dream about it.
They all dream about a sudden influx of sugar-daddy wealth one day, upending everything and none of them will vote for any policy which might stop that train in its tracks even if it’s a total fantasy.
Ultimately, we failed to reform the game but we’re not the only club with skin in it … and the rest don’t care.
We had the chairman of Motherwell this week suggesting it would “benefit Scottish football” to allow the second of two massive clubs to further enrich itself … that’s the kind of thinking you are dealing with. Idiotic is not even the word for it. This is turkeys voting for Xmas over and over and over and over again.
There is a recurring view that our club “had the chance to kill them” and didn’t.
Utter nonsense as I’ve said; there was always going to be a club playing out of Ibrox and calling itself Rangers. We could have called out the Survival Lie with greater volume and that’s on us, but the fact that Scottish football wanted it this way was something we were never in any position to change … it’s a fact of life.
Some version of them will always be hanging around, like a bad smell.
Beyond the things we could have done, we appointed Lennon and that let them have a year in the sun.
But the policies of that club, we can’t control. Their directors were prepared to roll the dice in this crazy casino … after a certain point, we couldn’t stop that, only watch and hope that they didn’t hit the jackpot.
They think they have. They are wrong.
All we can do is keep them in their place.
Dominate them. Humiliate them.
Rule this roost and make them suffer through every day that we stand over them.
There will be plenty more days, weeks, months and years of that to come.
This is today, and today is a good day for them. But today passes into tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow is Dundee Utd away, and that’s all we need to focus on.
Get that right, win those points, and all the other good things will follow.