Fear And Loathing In Naples: Rational Analysis Impossible As Sevco Crash Again.

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When Diego Maradona went in front of the media after his show-stopping performance against England, he “blamed” the dodgy goal which made headlines around the world on the “hand of God.” There is a moment in the disaster movie Twister where the F5 hurricane is described as “the finger of God.” After 16 minutes tonight, in the stadium that bears Maradona’s name, it looked as if the clenched fist of God was about to come crashing down on the Ibrox club.

As it is, they were spared that only because the home team had the game wrapped up by then and decided to turn the rest of the match into a glorified training exercise. The Hand Of God went off to find something better to do. It didn’t matter much.

I spent much of the summer hoping that the Ibrox club would not make it onto this stage. But that was not because I was worried that they might “shock Europe” as the media would have you believe they had in the last campaign. It was about reputation and money. I needn’t have worried about the reputation. They left that on the turf of Ibrox after the Liverpool annihilation. They did not, at any point, look as if they would recover even a fraction in Naples.

All through the games against PSV I comforted myself with one thought; they would, if they made it, encounter reality with the speed and force of a runaway train hitting a wall. When I saw their group I was not in the least doubt that several humiliating nights would follow. This had the potential to be the worst. It wasn’t. But that’s only in relative terms.

They are now on the brink of joining a very special group of clubs, but it is not a place of honour. Only a handful of teams has ever taken zero points from a Champions League group and it is more than possible that Ibrox will now join them.

If they were capable of rational analysis they might conclude that the Hand of God was in operation after all, but an Unseen Fenian one in bringing three luminaries out in the draw, but the truth is that a harsh lesson on this scale had been waiting for them anyway. They may kid themselves that they would have gotten out of our group, but that only means the joke is still on them, the cosmic joke which saw them get to Seville last season.

Because that’s why this feels especially acute to them tonight, and why their manager is on the brink. They really did allow themselves to believe that they were better than this, as though two utter dismantling’s at our hands were not the warning that they were nowhere near as good as they thought they were. I said it long enough last year; seven wins in 21 European games got them to a final. It is a terrible record, but one the media refused to examine.

They have performed this season exactly how I would have expected them to. If their media toadies and their gullible fans had not been so thoroughly seduced by the nonsensical coverage they got on their European adventure, then rational analysis of their campaign thus far might be possible. But they believed their own hype. They bought into their own bullshit.

And that’s why fear stalks Van Bronckhorst and loathing runs rampant on the forums. It has so many targets tonight that the manager might not feel quite so many knives in his back. The Scottish hacks may kid themselves on Kent, for example, but the fans who watch him every week know that this is an imposter, a player who flatters to deceive.

Also in the gunsights tonight, Davies, who was awful and absolute stripped every time Napoli came forward with the ball. The mad fantasies that Tavernier should be playing for England have not been shattered as much as obliterated by the events of the last five Champions League games. He is miles out of his depth at this level.

Indeed, I’ve seen him like that in the SPFL. He may have some ability going forward, but first and foremost he’s a right back and a very, very ordinary one at that.

Which brings us to Morelos, and no player at Ibrox is the target of so much odium and venom and hate on those fan sites. His bridges are well and truly burned. He will leave in the summer on a free and most of them will wake up from the fever dreams they’ve had about him and wonder what in God’s name all the fuss was ever about.

Kris Boyd, meanwhile, will still be insisting he’s better than Jota.

There is one straw they will cling to, for the next seven days anyway; that they are not yet officially out of Europe.

All they need to do is beat Ajax at home. By five clear goals.

Something tells me that it’s a different kind of history which looms in their future next week.

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  • Roonsa says:

    TBH I am not taking any pleasure out the huns getting skelped every game they play in the CL. The fact they got there is bad enough. Plus our results aren’t anything to shout about. Of course you could argue the minutiae about performances and chances created and blah blah blah. But in a year’s time, all people will remember is Celtic not getting the results.

    Fair enough James could argue that part of his job is to remind people of the minutiae n year’s time but I wont be feeling any better because of it.

    Big Ange said we need to play in the CL every season to make an impact. OK big guy, that’s your department. Make it happen. As for the huns, I just want them to die. Again.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Was actually quite surprised (pissed off) at Napoli. Tho they were a different class all through that game, they seemed tae drop a gear after the 2nd goal and then definitely another in the 2nd half. Took their foot aff the gas and that allowed rangers tae get near them and even create the odd chance. If Napoli had kept up near the same tempo as they did at the start, as well as takin their own chances, it would’ve been another maulin, nae doubt about that.

    • Martin says:

      For the first 25 minutes that game looked like it would end about 9 nil. Then Napoli dropped I’d say 3 or 4 gears. Which is frustrating for us because we had the popcorn out. But completely the right thing to do as a team. No risk of losing their victory so just avoid injuries and cards. 3rd goal came from them upping it again for 10 seconds so the fans didn’t feel cheated.

      Hacks may offer comforting lies to the zombies, but the truth Napoli could’ve scored any time they felt like it last night.

      • Kevan McKeown says:

        @ Martin. Aye agree, ah know the reason they dropped the gears, for obvious practical reasons and that was sensible. If goal average wasn’t gonnae be a factor, I’d want us tae dae the same. Ahm just talkin for utterly selfish reasons here, I wanted tae see another right tankin. Make nae apologies for it either. Ah mean, would 7 or 8 be too much tae ask. Surely no.

        • Martin says:

          I know, I was hoping for 9 or 10 myself. I get it from a team point of view, but they might’ve at least gone for 4 or 5. Only 3-0 is embarrassing against the zombies.

  • Geoff says:

    They still have a snowball in hells chance of the Europa League but we are still consoling ourselves with if only.
    Ange is not learning anything about European football unless he is the only one and all the other coaches are wrong?
    Our so called improvement should not be gauged against how bad Sevco are doing.

  • Tony B says:

    I believed at the start of the huns campaign that they would get NULS POINTS and only wish I had placed a bet on it. It’s looking good now.

    I also thought they might not score any goals but that hasn’t happened; missed by a baw hair.

    What has transpired in Europe confirmed a couple of things for me.

    They are way over hyped by the hun dominated Scoddish meedja desperate to promote and perpetuate the feel good factor that the sevcnuts desperately need.

    It also graphically demonstrates what happens when they are on a level playing field, devoid of the usual honest mistakes to their benefit when officiated by Scottish referees.

    Fuck them I say and hell mend them. It’s always a pleasure to see their bubble burst.

    I fully expect Celtic to win the league comfortably this season, and hopefully by strengthening the team, to make better progress in Europe.

    • Kevan McKeown says:

      @ Tony B. Mate, this is the mob over excited jackson incredibly referred tae, just before this campaign started as ‘European specialists’. Remember it very well. Now he’s frothin at the mooth and slaughterin them in his article. So typical of the hypocritical dick. They never learn humility, always the super hype. Can see how hard it is for them tae accept when the reality kicks in.

  • Charlinick says:


  • Scud Missile says:

    Beating Ajax by 5 clear goals I will do the jokes here more like Ajax banging 5 past them.

  • Scud Missile says:

    I wonder if any so called twobob journalist will have the bottle to ask the sevco manager why all those weekly penalties in the SPFL but NONE yes NONE in Europe.

  • Katana67 says:

    Napoli Reserves 3 Sevco Flegg-Sheggers 0 ….Hallelujah !!!!

    Only surprise of the night , Our Jesuit ‘ False-Pope ‘ , was not sitting in the dug-out alongside Van Bronckhorst , cheering THEM on !!!!

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