Last night, I caught a little of the BBC’s coverage of the match at Tynecastle – more on that subject later – whilst it was half-time at Celtic Park. The commentators were talking about how the Ibrox club was “targeting a double.”
But of course they are. Yet before this month is over, one part of that will have vanished into the ether because to get there they have to go to Hampden and beat this implacable Celtic boss and this merciless Celtic machine.
In the aftermath of the game, I caught Ange’s interview. He was, as ever, focussed and utterly determined. His Stoicism won’t allow him to look past the next game, but he made it clear that he expects the same standards as this team has delivered up until now to see them through to the season’s end. That’s 14 games in the league.
And it’s those remaining cup matches as well. He will not use the T word.
He will not tolerate any mention of the Treble, but it has crossed his mind.
He knows we should have won it last season, and that the performance at the National Stadium was not good enough. For a man who sets high standards, that was the intolerable display.
For all that, we should have won that game.
We had the lead in it after all, and had Carter Vickers got the second with the one that came off the crossbar Ibrox would not have spent the whole summer preening and strutting and predicting big things.
Instead, it was Ange who delivered and as we head into the part of the season where the silverware will be parcelled out, we’re in the best possible shape for it. With the league virtually home and hosed, the League Cup looms large.
Although talk of the Treble is not permitted inside Celtic Park, you wait.
With Scottish Cup football coming up not this weekend but the next it will be the only thing anyone else in Scotland is talking about, and at Ibrox they think about nothing else.
That’s why The Mooch stands to look more than just foolish if we deliver it, because he is the one who said that it was “unthinkable” that we would do it.
He’s telling their fans that he will not let that happen, that he will deliver them from that fate … and I don’t know if that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard a newly minted manager say when faced with a team like ours or just pure arrogance, but I do know that he’s sweating bullets over it and has been since he said it.
He watches us from across the city, and at first I’m sure he was convinced that at some point we’d have to slip up. But we just go on putting points up on the board.
By this point, I think he’s twigged that the task facing him is a lot bigger than he thought … and that’s why he’s been doing his best recently to highlight the finance gap and trying to peg Ange as a manager who just got lucky.
Deep down he realises that even if that’s true, it doesn’t change the situation he’s in. To paraphrase a famous movie, his ego is writing cheques his talent can’t cash … and so yeah, although inside Parkhead there is a dawning realisation that we are on the brink, the manager knows that nothing could be stupider than starting to believe it.
At Ibrox, every thought they have is directed towards it.
To them it represents the great nightmare, and that’s why – as I’ll write later – the pressure is all on them. Not to win one of those trophies, but to stop us winning them all … that’s going to be an important distinction.
Kevan McKeown says:
February 2, 2023 at 11:32 am
John Copeland says:
February 2, 2023 at 11:36 am
S Thomas says:
February 2, 2023 at 11:48 am
February 2, 2023 at 12:11 pm
February 2, 2023 at 11:58 am
February 2, 2023 at 3:38 pm
Johnny Green says:
February 3, 2023 at 10:11 am
February 2, 2023 at 6:27 pm
Eire goCeltic says:
February 2, 2023 at 6:54 pm
Well accordin tae gushin, ibrox fan-boy berry of the DR, we’ve all been misled and we’re now watchin ‘scintillating, fast flowing football’ from his favourites and he even ‘suggests’ the reason bein for their recent mediocre shite, is that they had’nt kicked intae gear yet. So now they have us all tremblin, ah guess we can fully expect them tae go on and sweep the board now eh ?! Tho the fact they were playin the team, who are constantly and embarrassingly, provin tae be the most likely in the SPL tae go missin from them, disnae come intae it. Always beggin for a reality check these fkn clowns, they never learn.
What was it the Bealy boy said at the start of his employment with the Rangers ? Oh yes,he said ,’we need help from others ‘. Well he certainly got it last night from the fraud that is Robbie Neilson ! Chopping and changing a winning team ,playing his player’s out of position ,losing a goal at home in front of a vociferous home crowd after only 9 minutes …. An outsider looking in might be forgiven if thinking that there was a tacit understanding between Hearts and the Rangers pre game to the advantage of a certain match outcome ! I’ve always had this vivid imagination…even as a boy .
They smashed hearts last night.. had the ball in there net 6 times. They always beat Hearts, like we always smash Aberdeen. The manner in Hearts defeat was shocking though, was only waiting on them getting a goal, to get my acca up, and the rats couldn’t even do that. It was a terrible performance getting hammered at home like that, no wonder people say the Scottish league is a joke league.
Could’ve been 20- nil last night in Edinburgh. I suspect Neilson would’ve been fine with that.
The var after Kyogos goal was a disgrace.
Talk about Trebles after they are won.
Nothing has been won yet this Season.
We are all perfectly entitled to talk about Trebles when that feat becomes so reachable and we are now at that stage. We are going for it now and are in good shape to achieve it.
James, I agree we’re the better team by far. But you’re guilty of hubris here, and not for the first time. You were the same before the ibrox game, and we were generally garbage there. It’s a cup final. Maybe their only cup final. We do not take victory there for granted. We prepare, we don’t play people out of position and we do our best.
Mickey Beale has his team playing good enough high pressure football. Morelos has improved and opposition players are backing off Kent when he cuts in and runs across the goal front. You have to haze and harass him. Get your shoulder on his and stop him swiveling to strike at goal. Celtic was disappointing when they drew with Rangers last game. Rangers could get a draw and then easily win a penalty shoot-out to win the Cup. Joe seems to guess the wrong way to move. I have a thought that the Sport Scientist with the help of Goalkeepers could calibrate themselves by identifying cues to stimulate best movement just before the point of ball contact. Use a camera where Joe stands. There are few studies done on this subject.
Is the alignment of the strikers shoulders to the goal-line a cue? Could Seigrist be brought on before the game ends, if he is a better choice? Ange knows this.
There have been comments saying that the standard of Scottish Premiership Clubs has dropped.
This can happen but it can improve quickly. I also wanted to see Hearts shake-up Rangers.
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