Perhaps it’s because it’s Christmas Eve, but I am feeling generous this morning.
Generous enough to give out some credit where it’s due, and it is due to Graeme McGarry at The Herald, a publication who I’ve given a bit of pasting to these past few weeks.
But McGarry has done his side a favour today by actually putting together a straight piece of opinion writing which is not loaded down with ignorance and/or spite.
In fact, I broadly agreed with almost all of it. It was on how clubs should line up against ourselves and the team across town at Ibrox. It was, in short, a vindication of Ange’s comments earlier in the week.
I’ll be taking later about Goodwin’s comments of yesterday, but for now let’s focus on the boss and his own ideas. What started this debate off was Goodwin’s comment about setting up to play defensive football rather than having a go at Celtic, because he’d already tried to have a go at the Ibrox club and taken a doing for it.
I have to admit, I found those comments baffling.
His team barely put up a fight at Ibrox that day, and spent most of the game in their own half. We saw a much better display against them this past week, and from Hibs too. Ross County also went after the Ibrox club last night, and when teams do that to them you notice something; they are staggering vulnerable.
McGarry’s piece suggests that teams now know the drill; come up against Celtic (and the Ibrox club) and put every man behind the ball and you get what you’re due, which is to say that you get beat. I would go further and say that you cheat your own fans when you essentially write off as many as eight fixtures every single season.
We play in a twelve team league. Ourselves and the Ibrox club play each team three times at a minimum. Which means that for some of these sides there are at least a half dozen games which they go into expecting to get nothing and setting up accordingly. You tell me how these clubs can ever expect to get anywhere with a mentality like that.
Better to go down fighting. Better to have a crack at it. And as McGarry points out, Ange doesn’t just talk a good game he actually tries to live up to that creed, especially in Europe where everyone keeps telling us to adopt a more defensive posture … and he simply won’t do it. Call it naïve, call it suicidal, but don’t call it cowardly or without some merit.
What McGarry is proposing is basically an echo of what Ange has already said; that these teams get up off the matt and start trying to play football. Give themselves at least a puncher’s chance instead of retreating and trying not to get too badly hit.
In this is the proof that Ange is doing more than winning the battle on the pitch. Our boss has started a real debate here, and it’s clear that he’s already winning the battle of ideas as well. Hell, even at Ibrox they are desperately trying to copy him.