Fear And Loathing At Celtic Park: Hitler Thought He’d Closed The Gap Too

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The history books demonstrate clearly that until the infamous moment in the bunker when he realised that Steiner’s phantom armies would not be coming to stabilise the front that Adolf Hitler still believed that Germany would win the war.

The records of those last few days have him on his birthday talking to Albert Speer about the new look Berlin that would rise from the ashes once the victory was complete. He was, sadly, not the only person in that city who believed it.

Hope born from delusion, then. An unshakable belief that the world as you want it to be is the world that actually exists. We all poke a toe over the line from time to time, reaching for unrealistic goals, hoping for impossible things, but we limit that exposure to those moments.

We do not, as some in this world of ours do, live there and breathe in the air of insanity each and every minute of each and every day. Josef and Martha Goebbels realised along with Hitler that the gig was up and they had wrapped themselves so tightly into the fantasy that they killed themselves and their children because the real world was too much to bear.

Ibrox has been labouring under a vast, and dangerous, fantasy for a long time now. Today they might have snapped out of it had we gone on, at 3-1, to score a fourth rather than conceding a soft goal, but I have seen enough of them to have my doubts. Nothing short of a rout for Celtic today would have brought them kicking and screaming into our world.

And you know something? If I had my choice between that rout and that result I would chose that result. Because as I said in the earlier piece, where i quoted Walter Mattheu’s character in the movie Fail Safe, they know violence but we know strategy. We recognise that the longer they live in their own world of delusion and denial the better that is for us.

That it will dawn on some of them that that today could very easily have been a convincing Celtic victory does not concern me. Not enough of them understand the fundamentals to grasp that, and so it will elude them completely. That does not make it less true.

The rest -and this includes most of the media – will continue to kid themselves on that there are big things happening at Ibrox and that those big things presage our doom. Like Hitler in that bunker moving his imaginary armies around the map, they will see only what they want to.

“The gap has closed.” That’s the mantra. How often have we heard it? No-one ever asks the only questions that matter, perhaps because the answers would be hard to hear. Is there still a gap? Yes. Is that gap still sufficient that we’re winning titles and trophies? Yes. So who cares if they spend enough that they can close that gap to 1 millimetre?

They cannot sustain a challenge to us on that basis.

Imagine two boxers who the press kept on saying were evenly matched.

If they fight three times and the same guy wins twice and forces a draw on points in the other fight, who is the better fighter?

They have proved they can match us … this will be the media narrative. Great. Brilliant. Wonderful for them. But they cannot beat us, and that, sadly for them, is the only metric that matters a damn. Their fans know this very well because right now they are watching a team of losers continuing to lose, no matter how “close” they run the team that wins all the time.

The Mooch is very, very fond of appropriating Gerrard’s record in a single season as the proof that he is some kind of managerial guru, but in the games that his club – his club, by the way – and his fans think is the only one that counts anyway is played three lost two and drawn one. Where’s the win in there? It exists, perhaps, in the same fantasy land as Steiner’s armies did.

But the reality of our superiority is measured in a league table which makes appalling reading for them tonight; a twelve point lead for us which is an accurate reflection of a gap which they might try to convince themselves they are bridging one bit at a time but which, in fact, has grown since he walked through the doors. The cup final was a further proof of our superiority.

Hampden looms. I hope we are a lot better than we were today … but in that admissions is sort of the point. Even on our off-days we still have enough about us to punch this shower to the canvass and put another check mark in the win column.

There are a couple of players who deserve special praise for today. This is not the article for that although if I may be permitted just one small one diversion into that territory; Alastair Johnston is becoming the Kieran Tierney of this team. A stalwart, a warrior, a winner, a fearsome competitor who looks a class apart from anyone in that positon in a long time.

I digress, but only because I think that guy is a superstar.

The real point of course is Fear and Loathing. And although some people want to pretend that this whole “he’s closed the gap” thing matters, most of their fans are looking at the whole front in a losing war and recognise exactly what it is that they see.

So questions now arise about this manager of theirs and what he’s really brought to the table. They have exactly one player who consistently gets into a “Celtic-Ibrox XI” and he scored their goals today and he now has 100 of them. As a dead ball specialist he’s decent, and he’s had plenty of practice at it, but I’d take our boy at right back over him every day of the week.

But ponder that their best players today were guys signed three or four managers ago and that gives you some idea of how completely that club is failing, and it doesn’t take me writing this to make it true because everyone over there knows this as well as we do.

Their worst nightmare is right in front of them now, coming two weeks hence in the cup, and there’s nothing they can do to make the time between than and now even !% better. That game is hurtling towards them like the Russian army was closing in on Berlin.

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  • Tony B says:

    Aye. The gap has closed from 9 points to err 12 points (13 effectively).

    They are a team of losers, managed by a graceless loser ,who have been able to hang on to second place due to their Lanarkshire bretheren.

    To quote Hyman Roth……..

    ” They’re small potatoes “.

  • John L says:

    As if that was a hand ball against Jota. Nick Walsh would have been all over that like a rash, yet Tav and the Mooch think they were robbed with bad decisions today. If they got a dodgy penalty for shirt pulling, then we got away with one for a push. Swings and Roundabouts. Not quite put in their place but a win is win regardless.

  • Geoff says:

    Totally agree.
    I don’t think we have played anything like our best against them including the cup final.
    We need to come up with a way to balance the five v three in midfield.

  • Jimmy R says:

    In some ways a close run thing today helps us long term, although it has to be said, it’s much easier to enjoy us giving them a pummelling. How does today’s result help?
    It’s the hope that kills them.l
    Some of them will go to Hampden convinced that they have our number. That their season is not yet over. That they are on their way to the title under MB. With Reo and Liel back, and Aaron up to speed, I wouldn’t be betting on it.

  • Scud Missile says:

    BENNY nae eyes Miller on radio shortbread still talking sevco up and still giving it nothing between the teams,Crichton another sevco pundit who sounded like she was reporting from a funeral parlour the same as BENNY nae eyes with bland reporting of the game all because their team got beat.
    BENNY McKintyre as soon as the game finished he was giving,let’s move on to the rest of the games today,had sevco won they would still be talking about.

  • Andrew Lamb says:

    We did not have to put them in their place we just needed to win! Can you imagine the pressure the Mooch and his players will be under in the semi? James is correct we all know what we are going to get until then, moaning about how decisions go against them and how we are pish. We also know that they were at the second last chance saloon today and I for one am not surprised they showed a bit more than usual but as I have always said you can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear. They know the importance of losing this league with CL money at stake Ange can get on with planning for next season right now. The other mob couldn’t plan for a Xmas night out this year as they might not have any money.

  • Johnny Green says:

    We were a bit wayward with our passing game and put pressure on ourselves at times. It was a hard won game, yet we still managed to do the needful. The 3 points is all that matters at the end of the day, but a better performance is required in 2 weeks time to ensure a cup final appearance. We can all enjoy our weekend though after that.

  • John Copeland says:

    A more deluded , unprofessional ,torn faced and self centered football player in Scotland at present ,you could not meet than Tavpen ! Being ungracious in defeat obviously is part of his DNA ! Beale was bealin’ after the game being interviewed and Tavpen was craven at Celtic having one hand on the league trophy .

  • Johnno says:

    Of course delighted with the result, performance not so.
    Usually I would give credit to opposition for been able to stifle our game, but I will give the scum exactly what they earned today, fuck all.
    We gave a fairly nervous performance with giving away far to much cheap ball, which I would say was down to the pressure our players felt more so.
    The scum had practically a free hit today, with not a great deal expected from such a shower of shit.
    Now that pendulum has swang favourably in our direction for the semi with the scum under immense pressure now.
    Deserved the victory upon the balance of play with the scum only really a set piece team still with a total lack of imagination from open play still.
    When we don’t play well yet still remain far to good for the scum, will the physiological damage get discussed before the semi within the Scottish media?
    We all know the answer to that one

  • Rodders says:

    A draw was only required today to all but seal back to back titles, but only settling for the win is so admirable, and continues to set the ambitions that we have in every game.

    Fair play to StRangers, they set themselves up well and had the better of Celtic for the first 20 mins, and competed well throughout the match.

    I have no doubts that, despite other protestations, the referee was 100% correct with the Morelas final push, and the ref handled the game very well in difficult circumstances, IMO of course.

    Even when the Celtic players are not performing to their best, their work rate is excellent in defending, and once again they forced errors from a tired team, and found a way to win. We are still somewhat wasteful with the chances that we create, more work required.

    So now it’s going to be a showdown in the semi final at Hampden, another tough game, and then I’ll look to see how we strengthen our squad for our European challenge next season, that’s where I’ll judge our progress.

  • Finbar muldoon says:

    Huns and baby huns and baby baby huns lose. Roon them. HH

  • John says:

    They are focussing on the moreorless effort being knocked off and the jota hand ball? They are saying they are closing the gap. It just takes one of these to flip then it could be different?

    We need to turn up for these games. The last 3 we have been poor. They have scored 5 goals against us. So a bit concerning when we say they are rubbish. We need to turn up for the semi and smash then. Not giving any excuses.

    At the moment they are living on excuses, unlike hitler there was no media to help him.

  • Michael McCann says:

    Big three points. never saw so much diving as I did in the last Olympics. They kicked and cheated by rolling about, more rolling about than a WW2 movie. The two new starts thinking they are hard men pathetic cardboard figures, embarrassing at times to call them professional. Delighted to see Souttar starting I knew he would be a disaster. They got a free kick every few minutes disgusting stuff. Well done Bhoys not at your best but still good enough to beat that cheating crowd

  • Jackson says:

    We were not great today but still managed to win, Mooy was very poor and don’t know how he lasted so long on the pitch….Iwata brought more stability to the team.
    The hope will kill them , we still won and we can’t play any worse when we go to Hampden in a fortnight …..a win then and they will be in total meltdown,

  • Green Machine says:

    But but Ehh but But The Rangers nearly won. Ehh but but Glasgow Green and White, Forrver

  • Henriksgoldenboot says:

    James, something for you to ponder. Who was who today. After watching that game today I’d say we were the convict’s because we got out of jail today. That could easily and probably should have been a draw but the klan could even have a case for winning it today. We were well below par today. We played like a bunch who were just released from prison and had played together for the first time in years.

    I have to say Ange got it terribly wrong today, and we for the second or third game in a row against them, didn’t look like we are head and shoulders above them as you like to make the point that we are. Although we should be. TBH I thought they, and it grinds my bones to say this, played the better football today. Apart from our two moments of magic to get Kyogo on the scoresheet.

    Ange shouldn’t have started Maeda or Mooy. We were much more balanced when Iwata came on and I think the boy is ready to be a stick on. We still need a true leader at the back. There is no real stature there. CCV is a quality player but he isn’t an out and out leader. Starfelt had a decent game but again did loose his men now and again and is also not dominant and commanding enough. I also felt he could have given away a penalty midway through the first half when he had a push in the back of Cantwell I think it was, very very soft but seen them given. Again we got out of jail. Taylor again is exposed in these games. He is a tryer and a plodder but is at him limit and if Bernabei is not better then we need shot of one of them and bring in better quality and keep one as backup.

    So many loose passes today, I lost count.

    Having said that, winning these games when we don’t perform at our best is how champions are made. And perversely it’s almost more enjoyable! We’ll need to be a level or two above when it comes to the semi as we were in the final previously. My cynical side screams out also in these games and it says are we toying with them, making them feel as if they have a chance and trying to “sell” the fixture for TV? Because as you know as much as modern life is these days,it’s all for show and nothing is what it seems! Happy Easter to you all and God bless you brothers and sisters!

  • Effarr says:

    When I turned the game on I thought I saw a goal by Kyogo that was ruled offside but I have heard or seen nothing of it since. Did I imagine this?

    • Martin says:

      Yeah he scored after 5 minutes. Correctly ruled offside. We were well off it yesterday. Well off it. And not for the first time against them.

  • Hunbasher says:

    Never mind the bunker in Berlin. What about the bunkers at St Andrews. Have you ever been in one of them? No RAF bombs would have got anywhere near you. Stepping over the line of reality? What, like trying to shoot 69? And what about yesterday’s result?…….. How… What happened yesterday? ? ? ? ? ?

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