What Are Some Celtic Fans Seeing As They Peer Enviously Over The Garden Fence?

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As a movie lover, I have a particular reverence for Hitchcock.

Rebecca, which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1940, was his first major American movie. Based on Daphne du Maurier’s book of the same name, it is the story of an un-named narrator who has married a wealthy widower and finds herself growing increasingly obsessed by Rebecca, his former wife.

One of the story’s most memorable characters is the housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, who was fanatically devoted to her former employer and who tries to undermine the new lady of the house at every opportunity.

It is her constant taunting and her reminders of how glamourous and beloved was Rebecca which leads the narrator to her steady unravelling.

The story is not only about that unravelling as she at first attempts to live up to reputation of Rebecca and then, failing, plunges when she thinks that she cannot meet her standards, but about her eventually discovering of the truth of who Rebecca was … and why she is the better woman after all. It’s a pretty brilliant piece of fiction.

A lot of our fans are peering over the garden fence today, and I am baffled as to why.

I know we have Mrs Danvers screaming at us from the media that we should aspire to Ibrox’s European record, but this is madness.

This is every bit as crazy as the narrator in Rebecca believing she has to live up to a phantom. What exactly do these people think they see?

This is the Ibrox club which we’ve been laughing at with good cause for the last ten plus years. They’ve had one good year in their entire history, one where they had some fraction of the success that we’ve had, in exceptional circumstances, never to be repeated.

In Europe they got to a final; big deal.

And I know a lot of people – them included – do think it’s a big deal, but I’ve been arguing for the past two years that we should not be conned by that.

It’s all appearances, it’s all surface stuff, like Rebecca was.

They won seven games on that run. Seven.

They got out of their group with less points than we exited the tournament with. That’s a fact. It’s one their media lackies would prefer we forgot, but it’s on the record, it’s true, and they can ignore it all they want but they aren’t going to change it.

They beat Real Betis this year. No more than what we did two years back. Sparta Prague are dreadful; I’d have been mortified if we didn’t beat them home and away. Limassol, I wrote about that earlier. And their own last foray into the Champions League was an utter embarrassment.

There is nothing worth aspiring to across the fence; their garden is overgrown with weeds which at least cover up the beer cans and the dogshit.

I’ve got a dose of flu right now so I can’t even be bothered to fact-check how many managers they’ve gone through lately; it’s as many as we’ve had Prime Ministers of late, I know that.

And in that span, we’ve won five – count them, 1,2,3,4,5 – trebles.

We are a handful of trophies away from snatching The Lie from under them, and there are people who, because of a couple of good European nights, think we’ve got something to learn from them? I am aghast that anyone could believe it.

We have a better manager. A better squad. We’re top of the table. We’re heading for another title, and possibly another double.

That will sit nicely with the one we won two years ago, and that will sit alongside the trebles very nicely indeed.

Our record casts a dark shadow over their club which no European result will ever erase. We put them in the shade.

Honestly, every time they’ve had a good European result in the past couple of years there has been an over-reaction from a section of our support who seem to enjoy self-flagellating on it. “Why can’t we do what they can?” is the question.

And my answer is this; what, you mean, sack a manager every eighteen months, run up depths, fail miserably, watch their rivals run away with nearly every domestic honour and get sued more often than Donald Trump?

And this isn’t even about building a team which can get some of the results they do. Some of those results look better than they are.

In the not-too-distant past we beat Lazio home and away and topped a Europa League Group of our own.

The year of their march to the final, we got nine points in a group with Ferencvaros, Betis and Leverkusen in it. We lost heavily to the Germans at home in a shocker, but we came within an ace of a result in Germany. We beat the Spaniards at Celtic Park, and lost 4-3 in Spain although we’d had a 2-0 lead.

It is in the Champions League where we look overmatched.

But guess what? So are they.

Their one appearance resulted in them winning zero points. Zero.

They’ve made it once in three attempts, being knocked out by Malmo and then being crushed by PSV. Their European form is lauded only because they don’t regularly appear on that bigger stage … when they’ve stepped onto it they’ve been absolutely humiliated. But some people see only what they want to.

There are folk who think we’re better off in the Europa League; what a pity winning the title doesn’t allow us to do that.

Remember, their “European success” is only possible because they are abject failures right here at home, because we’re at the top table and they’re not. That’s the truth of it; they get to mix it up with the other domestic also-rans. We get the big boys.

I get the frustration a lot of us feel on a day like today.

Totally. I felt dreadful after that game the other night, so totally deflated.

But there were extenuating circumstances we have to take into account, and Rodgers has talked about taking it in isolation.

I also understand the frustrations of watching the Ibrox club get a positive home result, but they are in a lesser competition against lesser opposition, so let’s not draw the wrong conclusions from it.

If we’re trying to live up to that we’re crazier than Mrs Danvers.

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  • paul obrien says:

    I think the frustration comes from not aiming at being the best we can be rather than being a step ahead of the Rangers and using their crash in 2012 to keep cash in the bank which funnily provides DD and PL with big returns

  • Johnny Green says:

    James, maybe I am just lucky with my choice of friends, but I haven’t met any Celtic supporters who cast admiring glances at them…….not now and not ever!

  • Peter Cassidy says:

    The Europa has some decent teams in it and some poor teams you can’t compare Europa with champions league but to be honest we have been dreadful in both.Accççcnd not progressed for a number of years in both cups Madrid put 8 against us 2″from us same as last year real Madrid 8 against us 1″’ from us very depressing to say the least.

  • Ian MacDonagh says:

    This is really poor journalism.I have supported Celtic for many years.I supported Celtic even before the wonderful years of Jock Stein.This journalist insists on comparing our team with the new Rangers but this is very negative journalism.Our team should forget our only serious Scottish rival.Our team should aspire to be the very best that training and finances can create.We have a wonderful support and adequate finances.If we are content to measure our progress merely by comparison with Rangers,then we will never again have a top European team.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    That game v Hearts that Cheatin’ Beaton and The Cheat with The moniter won has been pivotal to their momentum for sure…

    The honeymoon was over had they lost or drawn that for sure…

    They didn’t though due to cheating in plain sight –

    I’d hope they might drop two points with a draw at Livingston…

    But at The House of The Jail Martin – Nah I just canny see it happening –

    I’d hoped Sparta Prague might sneak a win last night but not to be…

    Ah well – no listening to Clyde Superscoreboard tonight then for sure !

    That they’ll likely progress now and Celtic probably won’t might be a bonus to us come February time as coupling domestic and European Football can be tough at that time…

    Yet they were fitter than us by far in The Glasgow Derby matches towards the end of There Europa League final run…

    God alone only knows why – That is one of life’s great great mysteries !

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Ye only need tae look at their blogs or hotline comments tae see how utterly deluded that lot are. Ye would think they were some sort of ‘pillars of european football’. Amazin what a few wins in the Europa league can dae tae some people.Their problem is, they NEVER HAVE been able tae emulate our past European success. No even close. And they’ll distort facts, as well as totally disregard perspective tae try and give theirselves any kind of credibility. It’s a deep rooted jealousy of our European achievements that they don’t want tae face and that’s the reality.

  • Johnno says:

    The simple question here James, is do we want to be a CL club or a Europa league team?
    So for any Celtic supporter claiming that Europa league remains as our level?
    I would like to remind them that it’s the price of failure to become one.
    For ourselves to get into the Europa league might be regarded as success, especially at this stage of the CL campaign, yet we are against 3 teams who would regard dropping down into the Europa league as failure for themselves?
    This is the level of mindset, our club has to reduce and overcome still, as the big teams within CL still regard the Europa league as failure, where ourselves would class it as success?
    Doesn’t make sense, especially when it requires ourselves to become the 2nd best team in Scotland, just to qualify to get to play within it?
    It only remains a backup option for ourselves, yet its still regarded as a successful option within Scotland as the mindset is miles behind where the elite of European football looks upon the competition still?
    Even the big clubs within the Europa league, treat it as a feeder competition, where there own domestic league still takes preference, and allows them to blood the younger players within their squads.
    So is that really what we could class as success at this stage of a season, when it only remains as a back up option?
    No surrender, my hole.
    Let the scum continue to wave the white flag, while cowereding in the trenches to scared to face the fight, just to enter a competition they want to rejoice within?
    Is that really the club we want to become?
    We still don’t hide behind the challenges faced with the homegrown rule?
    Even played 6 of our 8 required for CL squad, against hibs away for at least half an hour, could have included bain and Welsh also, yet was only worthy of a point to ourselves.
    Could the scum even try or in a position to do so?
    The size of the gap we are still trying to overcome, but won’t hide away from the challenges faced?
    Even won’t complain about the increased challenges faced in Rome, without 4 of our warriors available in Maeda, Palma, Hatate, and Abada at least.
    Just with the faintest of opportunities to get to the level the scum cowardly and rejoicing within.
    We still stand up and prepared to face any fight that challenge, yet when the scum thought that were brave enough to take it on, they only managed to get the weakest of anyone ever prepared to take the fight on?
    No surrender, yeah right.
    Feneian blood?
    How did that end up in that toxic shithole with the cowardly scum?
    Liam Scales walking into the shithole singing “Come out ya black and tans?” and leaving the scum battered and bloodied and still waving the white flag of surrender?
    That’s WHO Celtic are, and proud to be so.
    No looking over the fence from myself anyway, especially as Celts we remain up for the fight with the massive challenges to face and still looking to face them head on.
    So let the scum wave the white flag of surrender, and to scared to face the real battle, and rejoice in remaining as cowards?
    Is that really the club we want Celtic to become and rejoice within?
    Not for me, anyway.

  • Woodyiom says:

    Nobody (in their right mind anyway) should be comparing our results in the CL to their results in the EL but the fact is it is going to be 20years MINIMUM since we will have managed to win a post xmas knockout tie in Europe when we eventually do so – in that time Rangers have already managed it in SIX different seasons never mind how many ties (including reaching TWO finals) and that’s with them not even being in Europe for FIVE of those twenty years FFS!!

    I’m sorry James but our record in Europe in the last 10years is shocking – winning the group that included Lazio in 2019/20 is our highlight! Theirs might be overegged and had more than a slice of luck here and there but at least they have overachieved – we’ve not done that in a long time!!

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      Perhaps to be a wee bitty more successful in Europe we might just need to park the bus the way Sevco did in Prague two weeks ago…

      But then we simply couldn’t wail, bitch and whinge the way we do about The St. Johnstone’s and Hibernian’s of this world when they set up at Parkhead like that –

      Or we’d be hypocrites just like Sevco then !

  • John S says:

    Fabulous film. I had the joy of watching Laurence Olivier play Richard III recently on telly.

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