This Time Last Week, Most Of The Hacks Thought The Celtic Boss Was On The Brink.

Image for This Time Last Week, Most Of The Hacks Thought The Celtic Boss Was On The Brink.

What a difference a week makes. They say it’s a long time in politics, but in football even a day can upend The World As We Know It. Or, at least, The World As We Think We Know It.

Reading through the hack predictions before the game last Sunday I was struck by how many of them had tipped the club from Ibrox. I wrote about it and said that I felt kind of good about that. It’s been a long time since we were written off in one of these games.

One idiotic sports reporter – I refuse to use the word “journalist” in the context of this joker – who writes a Sunday morning column thought Rodgers might be gone by the end of the day based on how many we lost by.

He tried to couch his words as a warning to both bosses, but he also wrote about how “the roof could fall in” and tipped the Ibrox club to win … so who was he talking about it falling in on if not Brendan Rodgers?

It is pretty clear what he thought would happen. And as per usual – so regular that it should make him embarrassed – he was wrong. Completely. Utterly. Most of them were, and I don’t mind that. A lot of our own fans thought the same thing.

A handful took their emotional views out of it. A handful were able to analyse the match in a proper fashion. A couple of them tipped Celtic as a result, talking about how our experience and our superior manager would get us there. They were the exceptions. For the most part, the Scottish sports media was unified in its ignorance of fact and logic.

I read some of the stuff in the run up to the game and I could not imagine what two teams they thought they had been watching. Ours hasn’t been great but the Ibrox club has been absolutely dreadful. Their tactics look incomprehensible if what you are looking for is complexity or some kind of sophistication; it’s like what I always say about a top-class chess player coming up against a complete novice. The pro will look for a pattern, sometimes taking losses, before settling in to his own game … and that point it goes quickly.

There is no pattern underneath it all with their team. There is nothing to uncover. What you see is literally what you’re supposed to get. This is how The Mooch wants his team to play. He built them with this system in mind, this long-ball punt up the park style. How did they believe that would threaten a team as disciplined as ours?

Rodgers is clearly a vastly superior manager to The Mooch and the bulk of the team that was heading for Ibrox had won there before. We are current champions. How do they think we achieved that status?

By having the roof fall in on us?

The idea that having no fans inside the ground would crush our team psychologically was also a pretty weak reason for believing this would be a bad afternoon for us … the Ibrox crowd was as big a burden to them as it was us, something we proved over the course of the afternoon. It wore them down, not us.

As I wrote last night, the eruption of anger over the result is partly because the Ibrox fans allowed themselves to believe, as the media did, that we were there for the taking. It was nonsense. Aside from the back line we are stronger in every area of the pitch and I said that if our midfield did its job there would be nothing to worry about. It is the midfield, after all, which controls how a game pans out and the simple fact is that ours is better than theirs.

The one genuine elite level match-winner is in our team, not theirs. He proved it on the day. Their forwards were so ineffectual than even when our backline was weakened even further, we still didn’t look to be in any real danger. The four players we had at the back at full time will in all probability never play together in the same team again, far less at Ibrox. Still, their forwards were unable to break us down. It didn’t matter what they did.

Between our team and our manager, we came through a match that few in the press corps thought we even could. Now, today, that one I mentioned earlier is essentially claiming to have been right all along because of the firestorm that has raged all week over the Ibrox boss … but he and others want us to forget that at least part of the reason for that firestorm is that they shared the arrogant belief of the fans over there that we would be soundly beaten.

The writer in question believes our fans would have reacted to a defeat the same way. I can’t speak for everyone but I don’t believe for a second that the majority of our supporters would have reacted with anything other than measured calm. The general impression I got talking to people before it are that it was just another three points, and it wouldn’t leave us too far off the pace. They know that Rodgers is too good not to get this team firing.

Of course, there might have been some over-reaction, but I know that the blogs would have urged people to be patient and wait until our injury issues started to ease, as well as reminding folk that we were only two points behind. Yes, there would have been tension in the air this past week but it would not have exploded the way the anger has across town.

Nor would our board have reacted reflexively. They would certainly not have opened briefed against the manager in the medias as the Ibrox hierarchy has done, using one of their paid toadies to get the word out about the transfer window and how they backed the manager’s judgement in it; which makes it clear that if these players don’t impress it’s on him. The idea that The Mooch is facing the sack is now pretty near universal … nine games into his season.

It’s been a week. There is no sign that things are getting better for him, or that the Ibrox fans are calming down and starting to see things in a more neutral way, and I understand that completely; you can see exactly how this is going for the guy and his team. But still … the fundamental lack of understanding amongst our hacks is profound.

Most of them got their prediction for the game entirely wrong, and they are now struggling to process the aftermath. That both things were predictable apparently hasn’t dawned on them.

But last weekend they had Brendan Rodgers on the brink, an idea so manifestly absurd I am shocked that more than a handful of people – the kind of fantasists who let their imaginations run wild with the idea of the roof falling in and Celtic defeats of four or five – could ever have believed it. A week on, it’s as if we’re in a different reality.

But that’s the operative word here; reality. This is where we were always most likely to be.

Everything fell into place exactly as a handful of neutrals thought that it might, because they took a step back and looked at the whole picture rather than a narrow strand of it … which is why some of them did take Celtic to win, why some of them looked past a couple of injuries and some indifferent form. Some looked at the fundamentals, at both clubs.

What a pity that some of our “journalists” didn’t do the same.

Share this article


  • Tony B says:

    I always thought Moley’s tactics were ideally suited to scoddish foodbaw and its bent officials.

    Hoof – up the park.

    Boof – into an opposition player to win a free kick or a penalty.

    Poof – Cantplay dives and wins a free kick or a penalty.

    Where did it all go wrong?

    • Roonsa says:

      Clearly years of intimidation from Celtic, pressuring refs into giving them all the desicisions (according to the loonballs)

  • John L says:

    The same old man who should have retired years ago and had written so much negative **** about our club and team that he fully expected to be writing that story slightly different , with our club on the receiving end of his venous pen. Tough titty . Who ever he tipped to go down in the Premier league must be rubbing their hands with glee as he is possibly the worst tipster ever or wishful thinking control’s his pen. What a TURD.

  • Finbar muldoon says:

    James, most of these pundits know what side their bread is buttered on. They are basically told not to p@ss off their station’s demographic. HH

  • Captain Swing says:

    I had shifting thoughts about it in the run up. We’d failed to beat or even score against two dreadful sides in Kilmarnock and St Johnstone and the Kilmarnock match was also tainted by dodgy refereeing decisions – by the same pair due to referee at iBrox – plus our central defensive pairing was sub optimal and fairly lightweight against a side that had invested in brawn over skill. That said, our forwards are proven matchwinners on big occasions and their team lacks width, confidence, had just been slaughtered by PSV and genuinely plays as if they haven’t understood a word their coach has said to them. So as long as we didn’t experience a calamity from the understudies or suffer an outbreak of honest mistakes, I thought we would hold our own. I even thought a draw might be on the cards because it didn’t damage anyone too badly after a difficult couple of difficult weeks (them) and indifferent ones (us) and left everyone where they were – us a point clear and them still on the coattails. But the win was pretty sweet, and the resultant meltdowns arguably even better.

    I don’t think the fan response to us losing that game would have been on the same scale as theirs but there would have been a negative reaction (particularly if we’d lost meekly or by a big margin), aimed more at the boardroom rather than the dugout for the tight-fisted summer recruitment perhaps but BR would still have copped some of the flak, and the press would have been gleefully stoking the fire like a locomotive engineer on an express train to drive a wedge between the manager and the fans.

  • Jimmy R says:

    “. . . Scottish sports media was unified in its ignorance of fact and logic.” They followed their hearts and indulged in wishful thinking, little realising that by building up their expectations, they were simultaneously building a bonfire under the Mooch. A bonfire that Kyogo was happy to ignite when the chance came.
    I seem to remember the sevconuts were trying to organise a Party in George Square to “reclaim their city,” How did that go? I didn’t see much coverage in the press 😉

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      No – But even if had happened Jimmy… You still wouldn’t have seen very much in The Scottish Mainstream (Lying and Cover up expert) Media !

  • Johnno says:

    No doubt Rodgers was under a fair amount of pressure last week before the derby James imo.
    The scum cheerleaders within the media would have had a field day with a defeat, and would have been aided with all the anti Rodgers brigade within our own support.
    Thankfully, none of that shite surfaced, and the weeks peace from the likes was very much appreciated.
    Had huge concerns about weather our CB pairing would cope with the aerial bombardment that was to be expected, yet they handled that comfortable enough.
    This team still had enough match winners within it, and great to see them all finally getting there seasons up and running, as was desperately needed also.
    Always felt that Rodgers was bought in to improve matters within a CL campaign.
    Been very little of that on show to date, and even last week was far from perfect of where we need to be, when the CL kicks off shortly.
    Hopefully the confidence gained and a few returning from injuries and a few more options added, will help improve matters heading into the CL campaign.
    Believe it will myself, and the same theory remains intact.
    The theory is very simple, as we remain the only club capable of playing at CL level within Scotland, then in turn means we should remain way to strong for anything that the SPFL has to offer.
    Got signs last week to be heading in the right direction finally, now we still have to push on and prove that theory still, and believe we will do also.
    CL will give us a great indication of where we are as a club, and will be a fantastic challenge for ourselves.
    Personally believe that getting victory’s within a CL match is a far bigger achievement than one over the scum these days, so really last week only really bought us much needed time, without accomplishing to much either, with improvements still required imo.

  • Bob (original) says:

    What if it had been the other way round last week?

    If Beale was taking an injury ravaged sevco team,

    to a Hoops-only Celtic Park,

    to face a fully fit, Celtic first choice team?

    What could the score have been?

    Agreed: BR showed his value last week, and secured a HUGE win,

    which will be referred to frequently if/when we wrap up the title, again.

Comments are closed.