What more to say about Keith Jackson’s dire article this morning than “wow”?
Just wow. It is atrocious.
It reeks of bitterness and unsuppressed anger at his own club. I am going to give this the full blow-torch treatment. It amazes me how often he inspires this.
Let’s start with the headline, which I know he doesn’t write. It’s the best part of the whole piece, which should tell you something right there.
“Michael Beale sniffs stench of Rangers blame game as Ange Postecoglou reacquaints himself with smell of silver polish.”
It’s nothing compared to what Celtic fans have been sniffing for the last seven days. I strongly suspect there will be a very different reek in the air for the week in front of us.
“It wasn’t what it was hyped up to be as Celtic and Rangers slugged it out at the national stadium.”
Haha! And whose fault is that? Who was, it in part, who spent time ranting on about a classic in the making? Who creates the hype? Nothing to do with the media, eah? That’s the sub-heading, and for Jackson and his readers we’re off down the rabbit hole of his emotional disintegration.
“They promised a cup final classic. They produced a car crash instead.”
No, I repeat, and I cannot say this enough, “they” never “promised” any such thing. The media are the ones who think they set the tone for these games. It is the press who hysterically overdid it in the run-up to this match. It was as if they expected Liverpool vs Real Madrid from the other night. That was never, ever going to be yesterday, especially as only one of the clubs sets itself up to play the kind of football we saw in that match.
“And even though it all ended with another trophy for Celtic’s heaving cabinet, the pair of them ought to be done this morning under the Trade Descriptions Act. Because what we got at Hampden Park yesterday was an absolute mess of a football match.”
Haha! Did someone’s team not win yesterday? Even this early in the article I’m getting the distinct impression that that’s what the issue is here. Bitterness and anger bubbling over. A mess of a football match? Because his favourites didn’t put on the show he had expected and instead tried to play spoiler football against the best side in the country? What an embarrassing lead-in to a piece this is, already weighted down with burning envy.
“Celtic won it with two expertly poached goals from Kyogo Furuhashi. The striker’s first came split seconds after Daizen Maeda had swung and missed at a fresh-air winder six yards out from Allan McGregor’s goal. His second arrived after half-time following a gift-wrapped pass from James Tavernier who gave up possession for no apparent reason when he passed to a green and white shirt rather than a blue one. On reflection, these were more than just the match-winning moments.”
Good God man! That is horrific. No credit whatsoever to Celtic for the great football they played in the lead-up to both of those goals. A ridiculous, needless, slight against Maeda who he clearly still hasn’t forgiven for opening the scoring at Ibrox. Listen to McCoist talking after the game; he gives full credit to Maeda for his role in the goal, because it’s his work that brings the defender slightly off Kyogo, and he reminds listeners that it’s late in the first half when teams are winding down but we had three forwards inside the opposing penalty area. You cannot credit these players enough … Jackson doesn’t want to credit them at all. You can see already how this piece is going to go, right? All about what Ibrox’s team did wrong, nothing whatsoever about all that we did right. It’s there already in the first paragraph about the car-crash. Somebody turned up at Hampden expecting his team to win and they got gubbed. And he’s pissed off.
“They encapsulated the entire, error-strewn contest which amounted to nothing much more than a running skirmish from start to finish, until ref Nick Walsh put the match ball out of his agony as an act of mercy at the end. By then Rangers had at least managed to make it interesting – and for a while mildly exciting – with a scrappy second-half goal from Alfredo Morelos, which Joe Hart should have kept out but succeeded only in helping into the back of his own net.”
Only someone watching the game with the blue-tinted specs on could ever have written such a spiteful, nasty paragraph. Error-strewn? From one team maybe. I thought we were composed, disciplined, intelligent on the ball and at times even quite brilliant. He gives himself away by admitting that he got excited after Mad Dog scored the goal, but by now we already get the drift. This is building up to something. An outpouring of grief and rage.
“The keeper’s gaffe was far from the biggest howler of the day. But it was perfectly in keeping with the tone nonetheless. Just when the world was watching and anticipating something spectacular, what we got was an endless succession of blunders, misplaced passes, badly-timed tackles, dreadful decision-making and trampoline-toe touches.”
I repeat; only from one side, and the “watching world” was anticipating nothing but what we got. A blood and thunder final with one side more determined to stop the other from winning than they were set out to win themselves. How many times did I write that before the game? They care more about stopping us than with the victory itself; it’s what Stebbins, from The Long Walk, says; victory goes to those who want it for its own sake. You have to keep your eyes on the prize, for what it means to you, not just to keep it out of someone else’s hands.
“It was remarkably low-brow stuff from its first kick to its last. But it was won, eventually, by the side which just about deserved it because what little cohesive football that was on offer was coming off the boots of the likes of Callum McGregor, Reo Hatate and Aaron Mooy.”
Only because your team didn’t win, Keith. Because if that game had gone the other way it would not have mattered how awful the football was, you would have written it up as a triumph of mind-bending brilliance, a modern work of art. I’ve read some of your match reports and not been able to even remotely connect them to the games themselves … you do it often when it’s the club from Ibrox you are writing about. You were one of the guiltiest people in the media of pushing this idea that The Mooch has his team playing brilliant football … he does not. He has managed over a dozen games now and in not one of them have I seen anything remotely like what Celtic have been playing all the way through his tenure so far, even as the hysteria around him has grown.
“From the moment Kyogo buried the opener, they never looked like having to settle for second best. The whole experience, then, was more of the same for Ange Postecoglou who has become accustomed to the smell of silver polish.”
And that’s the truest thing in this piece; from the moment we opened the scoring I never believed we were in the slightest danger of not winning the trophy. Even after the moment which got Jackson so excited, the Morelos goal, it never looked as if they’d do enough to get an equaliser, and in their final attempt to throw everything at doing so they failed to break through and in fact only left themselves dangerously exposed. Had the game lasted ten more minutes we’d have won it by more. We should have had a third a couple of times in that end spell.
“But it left a nasty taste in the mouth of the big Aussie’s opposite number, who had talked a good game leading up to this final but who left the national stadium yesterday evening wondering how much blame should be apportioned in his direction. Indeed, Michael Beale threw in a curve ball even before kick-off by choosing to leave both of his January new boys on the bench.”
The Mooch is a prize clown and I am going to have a lot of fun raking him over the coals in the next seven days, and I make no apology for that. But Jackson and others do not get away with their own part in letting so many myths about this guy and his team be born. The media has done nothing to challenge the nonsense that has come out of that man’s mouth and Jackson and his own paper milked the Sakala comments for all they could get out of them … The Mooch deserves everything he gets, but what he’s about to get is a searing lesson about the hypocrisy of the Ibrox supporting press corps and its intolerance of anyone who makes them look like fools. Which is to say they make themselves look like fools for their inability to scrutinise their team in an objective fact-based way.
“While Todd Cantwell was left to play second fiddle to Malik Tillman, as widely expected, the decision to overlook Nico Raskin did raise some eyebrows. As a matter of fact, it was the same starting XI Beale rolled out for the last derby day at the beginning of January with John Lundstram and Glen Kamara getting the nod to anchor the midfield.”
Yeah and so much for Tillman and Lundstram being “injured.” Such transparent nonsense, all that talk about Ibrox having a full team on the treatment table. And then you notice that Roofe wasn’t in the squad, rushed back twice into the team when he was clearly not fit, and now out injured again for God knows how long. As to the general point, Cantwell is a suspect signing and Raskin you’d have thought was Lionel Messi this past fortnight or so. I wish they had played from the start. Neither was exactly brilliant when he came on and it’s going to be hilarious to watch their own reputations stoked by the media only to be destroyed by exposure to reality.
“Both of them struggled horribly to make any kind of impact before eventually being hauled off midway through the second half, moments after Morelos had pounced to get their team back in it. Tillman also made way at that point with a head full of regrets.”
Oh “regrets I’ve had a few …” There are a lot of regrets going around this morning, eah Keith? You sound like you regret ever taking your seat in the press box for the game. It really hurts like a bitch to be you this morning, doesn’t it?
“The American looked like a player who had been rushed off the treatment table in order to take part but before he was good and ready for such a stern examination. Again, that one will have to land on Beale who can at least take some comfort from knowing that the three substitutes he chose to send on at that stage in the game helped Rangers finally get onto the front foot for the first time.”
If Tillman looked like that it’s because that’s what he was. The decision to play him was as predictable as it was stone stupid. Again, I’ve said this about The Mooch before; he does not care about the general wellbeing and health of his own players and he freely admitted this during last week, not that most of the hacks chose to write about it or explore the deeper significance of what he said. I do like the idea of “taking comfort” from the brilliance of the subs. Because, first, it is wholly fictitious and that means that a whole new myth is being born, a whole new lie to tell themselves; if we had started our “strongest team” we would have won … wonderful! Tell yourselves that all the way to the Scottish Cup Final. We’ll be waiting.
“Raskin, Cantwell and Ryan Jack provided his team with the energy and urgency which it had been so badly missing but that in itself only made Beale’s decision not to start with any of them all the more difficult to comprehend.”
What is difficult to comprehend is how gullible you need to be to have seen one myth destroyed only to immediately start constructing a new one in its place.
“But then nothing about this derby seemed to make any sense straight from the start as two teams sprinkled with outstanding talent appeared to forget how they were supposed to function. They combined to botch just about everything they tried to do, from short corners to sclaffed crosses. Just getting the ball under control and keeping it there for any length of time seemed like too much of a challenge.”
One team has outstanding talent, and we turned up. The other side is made up of fairly ordinary footballers and they set out to stop ours from winning, that’s the truth of it, that’s what we watched yesterday and I know that’s tough for Jackson and some others to wrap their brains around but it’s a fact. Celtic performed well. We showed the appropriate imagination and flair to get in behind their defence. We penetrated. They harried and harassed and tried to stem the tide. The game went exactly how most Celtic fans expected, right down to our victory. The only people frustrated at it and the level of the performance are those who over-hyped their own team until you’d have thought they were channelling the Barcelona side of ten years ago.
“It was only towards the end of the first half when McGregor, Mooy and Hatate really began to get a grip of the midfield that Celtic emerged from their own malaise.”
Our malaise? You have got to be joking. What game did this eejit watch?
“Kyogo had slashed at a couple of chances and headed one over the bar before his first big moment arrived two minutes before the break, following Maeda’s slapstick attempt at connecting with Greg Taylor’s cross. The little man made no such mistake from in front of McGregor’s goal.”
Bonkers. Absolutely barking. Imagine the guy who thinks Ryan Kent is a world beater slagging Maeda and having a sly dig at Kyogo. What balls.
“That the unruly, militant wing of Celtic’s support celebrated by setting off rockets from the other end – and that they were still being allowed to when the second half began – was perhaps the only extraordinary thing about this final. But these were not the fireworks the rest of us had come for.”
What Keith Jackson piece would be complete without a spiteful segue into attacking Celtic fans? Or did you miss the Ibrox fans doing much the same at half time? What a joke. What an embarrassment.
“Kyogo’s second goal effectively killed it stone dead, bundling home from close range after Tavernier’s sloppiness had invited Hatate to advance behind enemy lines to pick out his countryman with a cutback. The Rangers skipper made amends in part by picking out Morelos soon after with a clipped dead ball delivery from which the Colombian bagged himself a goal at the back post, albeit with a helping hand from Hart.”
James Tavernier is the worst player ever inducted into the Ibrox Hall Of Fame. The worst. Bar none. He hits a good dead-ball, and that’s all there is to him as a footballer. If their club didn’t get so many penalties they would have moved this geezer on yonks ago, probably for a six figure fee. When one of their clownish fan media guys suggested last week that he was Scottish football’s best player of the last decade even Ewan Murray couldn’t resist a laugh, pointing out that Celtic has sold two better right backs in the last few years and Ibrox has, itself, sold a better footballer in his position. So not even the fourth best right back in the country far less its best player in a decade. Not for the first time yesterday he was utterly found out … if he was a Celtic player the media would crucify him. He gets a free ride because he’s the Ibrox captain. Long may he reign.
“That should have sparked Rangers into life and the arrival of Raskin and Cantwell from Beale’s bench did, at least, raise the tempo of their play. But, on a day full of damp squibs, it was all too little and too late to make this match the proper spectacle that it really ought to have been.”
A paragraph dripping with pain which reminds me of Steve Merritt’s beautiful lines “bitter tears keep me going, through the years freely flowing …” If I could drink these I would. They would power me through days when even coffee doesn’t work.