No, Keith Jackson, The Mooch Hasn’t “Matched Celtic” Since He Became Ibrox Boss.

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I’ve talked on this site before about Any Given Sunday’s famous “Inches Speech”, about how that’s what it’s all about. Games are won inch by inch, little by little, bit by bit. Titles are won the same way, with the steady accumulation of goals and points.

This is why Ange preaches the philosophy of one game at a time, one goal at a time, one win at a time to take a club towards a title.

Momentum is only as good as it lasts. We’re 17 games into an unbeaten run, but our momentum slipped a bit at the turn of the year, or this would be 17 wins in a row instead. That’s an inch lost, an inch we didn’t get, an inch which we don’t need right now because we’re nine points clear but in another campaign one that might have been critical.

This morning in his column, Keith Jackson claims that The Mooch has matched Ange Postecoglou blow for blow since becoming the Ibrox boss. “Michael Beale has Rangers matching Celtic and the numbers show it’s more than a new manager bounce” screams the headline.

But there are a couple of things he has apparently failed to notice, the first being that The Mooch wasn’t going up against Ange Postecoglou in all of those games but an assortment of other managers and teams, and although he’s gotten results they haven’t been convincing.

In the one game where he and Ange were actually trading blows it ended all square, on a day when we were way off our best, on The Mooch’s home ground.

We were the ones who went into that match with a significant points lead. They needed a win that day so our leaving with the result which maintained that gap was our victory, not his, although some sections of the media has laboured mightily to dress it up as if it was.

In The Mooch’s first three league games they beat Hibs 3-2 after being behind. They beat Aberdeen 3-2 with two goals so late that they should have been Returned To Sender. They did beat Motherwell 3-0 at home but then drew 2-2 with us. From their first four games they won just one of them convincingly. They beat Dundee Utd 2-0 away.

Which brings us to the League Cup game against Aberdeen. A late red and an extra time goal got them past the side which went out of the Scottish Cup to Darvel not long afterwards. They beat ten man Kilmarnock 3-2 in the league, scraped past St Johnstone 1-0 in a woeful Scottish Cup tie and then beat them 2-0 at Ibrox with a little help from their SFA friends.

The Hearts result, then, jumps off the page at you because it seems so emphatic and was secured away from home.

But we’ve written about that already and know full well what the context of that particular win was, an inexplicable tactical change from Robbie Neilson which even BBC’s sports hacks – not exactly tactical masterminds – knew was a bust before the game even kicked off.

This weekend, they reverted to the scrappy single goal victory, with the aid of a deflection.

If Keith Jackson wants to kid himself on that this looks like there is a “cohesion and crispness to the way this team is now operating” he is welcome to do so; The Mooch can’t even decide which goalkeeper he prefers and talk about “rotating” his players is laughable when you look across the city at us and see how it’s actually done.

Here’s some facts. Since Jackson’s new favourite manager (who he didn’t want in the first place remember) sloped into the town, Celtic has increased the lead at the top. By goal difference terms, sure, but we’re the ones who just navigated the trickiest spell of the whole season and did so with aplomb. We’re the ones went to the home of our rivals and got the result we needed. For all The Mooch’s “good form” we’re further ahead than we were.

By inches, sure, but this is a game of inches. If Jackson thinks the numbers stack up to good news for the Ibrox boss he’s looking at the wrong ones. The ones that do matter show something a little bit different. Celtic further in front.

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  • TonyB says:

    Keech doesn’t even believe this pish himself. All he’s doing is pandering to his customer base. His living depends on it, and let’s face it the comic for which he colours in is facing oblivion.

    Postponing the inevitable is a phrase that springs to mind……………………….and how we will all celebrate when it happens.

  • S Thomas says:

    He has matched Ange…in terms of points won, this much is true. Our performances have been better, but you don’t get any extra points for that unfortunately. Some of those games they have won, they wouldn’t have under their previous manager. I’m not sure if that’s to do with his coaching, or if they just didn’t want to play for their previous manager, who knows. But if we are talking about matching, certainly from a points basis, this much is true, as the league table don’t lie.

  • JimBhoy says:

    The mooch has to rotate his squad but not tactically it is because he has an ageing squad not up to the rigours of a full league campaign. Others are not up to it mentally, the ones you see with longer term injuries mostly, often they just can’t handle the pressure.

    Jackson has to try and sell papers and he has license to write any old shoite he wants. The Klanbase will be their biggest demographic and they have some rangers related sponsors that keep the paper afloat.

    You are right about goal difference but Beale has an easy out when he can say he joined when the club were 9 points adrift. He needs to HOPE Celtic slip up or his team takes points from them otherwise as things stand he had made no progress and as I stated in a previous blog there will be a time when luck runs out and/or VAR/ref honest mistakes don’t get their intended gain.

    Hope Beale has a water tight pay off clause cos it will happen sooner rather than later. I can’t see him make it past Xmas. Maybe join slippy G at some low end PL team.

  • Bennybhoy57 says:

    It’s the suits and brogues that’s making the difference. Instead of playing the best style of football in the league, Why can’t Celtic turn the players out more smartly.
    Ange gas to go.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Since when did drab, mediocre, ‘groundhog day’ football become ‘crisp’ and ‘scintillating’ ? Maybe tae them. Bellends like jackson love their phrases when they’re talkin about their ibrox favourites and it disnae take much tae get them over-excited and talkin pish.

  • Stephen says:

    Why is he named the mooch????
    I can think of many other names but probably not for this public site but slapped arseface comes to mind
    And the only running we are doing is running faster harder better more that then as is shown by our massively superior goal different.
    The biggest and best club in Scotland is already in its rightful position in the SPFL – first – and always will be

  • MArk B says:

    There is no doubt Beale has worked out if you beat most of the poor sides in the SPL then you will go on a run and put in a challenge. When he was here with Gerard they worked out how to do that and frankly for 18 months we could not beat them in head to heads either. Again he has worked out how to go on a run. The win at Aberdeen was a massive turning point for them. So yes we have actually pulled away on goal difference since he arrived but points wise he has matched us. That is a fact. The other fact is if we just focus on ourselves and keep winning10 of last 13 we are champions. But this is a totally different Ibrox team from the one pre-Xmas and not recognising that is foolish. They are far more solid now. And we will have a closer battle next year as they have now worked out how not to drop points to the average SPL sides.

    • JimBhoy says:

      Right in a lot of ways Mark but I feel they are a couple of bad games away from the klan adding pressure onto the manager and players that’s what they do.

      The last manager may have lost the dressing room but they played a lot of big teams for that to impact. Beale has not.

      Cup defeat to Celtic might be the turning point. I, like many others have not been impressed with beale. Every manager gets that honeymoon period but I think that can turn sour quickly.

      Rangers have 5 away’s to the split to Celtic’s 3 that may play it’s part also. They also have to come to Celtic park.

      Celtic may drop a couple of points but the way things are going that may be due mostly to honest mistakes by the ref or their backup refs.

      Celtic are capable of winning the remaining potential 18 games this season to the treble though. Game at a time and best use of the squad.

    • Kevan McKeown says:

      Aye they’re managin tae keep up wi us for now, fair enough. Tho jackson etc. Would have us all thinkin theyve been doin it, by playin some sort of free flowin, mesmerisin stuff, when the reality is, unless yer a team like hearts who’ll give them the freedom of the pitch, their tactics are mostly flat, dull and at some point they’re goin tae get found out imo.

    • Woodyiom says:

      There’s no doubt he’s had an impact and they’ve definitely won games under him that they would have lost, or at the very least drawn, under GVB (Hibs and Aberdeen spring to mind) but apart from the usual Hearts collapse against them they have struggled to score goals and still look weak at the back so for me its only a matter of time before they drop points. At that point we’ll see how good he really is. Obviously we underestimate them at our peril and the Cup final could be a significant moment in both team’s season but I genuinely think the majority of their improvement is simply the players actually trying for him (they got GVB the sack) and a lot of luck re handballs/red cards !!

  • Jack says:

    Sevco is winning games by the skin of it’s teeth. A setback is coming and once that happens, they are toast. When we played them last at Ibrox, we should have won, even though we were not at our best. We should have had a penalty for the Goldson hand ball and Sakala cheated for the penalty that put then in the lead. Their day is coming and it’s well over due.

  • John Copeland says:

    I watched the Rugby at the weekend with any contentious decisions from the referee being heard through the public address system to make it much more professional and insightful to the crowds ! Everybody knew what was happening and discussed at all times . Why can’t Jackson type up a column piece on that..’.A why are Scottish football fans the last to know’ ,type of opinion piece ! Or does he know why and wants it kept quiet…..

  • Peter cassidy says:

    Stanuch Mick has done well since taking over but no change in the league Celtic have increased our goal difference. And they failed to beat Celtic in January at the bigot dome to a under performing Celtic on that day so where is this matching Celtic plus some very dodgy var and corrupt refs

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