The Critics Have Poked The Celtic Bear, And Finally It’s Started To Roar Back At Them.

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The last thing that a club which is not on form needs is for everyone inside it to get all introspective and start beating themselves up. The last thing a team which is on form but not playing well needs is for people inside its walls to start confusing one thing with the other and especially when that involves believing what’s in a press corps which is seeking to undermine them at every turn.

As Brendan Rodgers has pointed out, over and over, this Celtic side is not “off form” in the traditional sense by which we understand that term.

We have eight wins and a draw in the last nine games; most people, in most footballing nations, would agree that’s the definition of being “on form.” I feel like I should not have to say this again; we’re the “on form” team in this country right now. The Ibrox club were swatted aside at Celtic Park. Their run is less impressive, of late, than ours.

We’ve not been playing well. But, by and large, we’ve been putting the points on the board recently and that’s something we shouldn’t forget.

The Hearts win at Celtic Park was soul-crushing for the appalling way we played; the sense of something not quite right was growing and we’d lost an excellent home record. A series of wins, and that one infuriating draw against Aberdeen, was the only black spot on an otherwise clean record.

The coverage we’ve had in the media has bordered on scandalous for weeks. The win at Easter Road, coming with a penalty, ended the same way the Ibrox club under Manneken Piss got its wins against both Hearts and Aberdeen; late spot kicks. Nobody was calling them a team in crisis because they’d needed the intervention of VAR to save them.

They aren’t playing particularly well either, yet the media is wetting its pants over them. Look at the coverage their manager is getting; it is the most laudatory boot licking nonsense since their last boss was getting laudatory boot licking nonsense. And his was bad, only if you ignored the raptures the same hacks were in over Van Bronckhorst.

As I said earlier today, the hacks are accusing Rodgers of trying to create a siege mentality, but in fact it’s the coverage itself which is helping to foster the perception that Celtic is surrounded by enemies, all hell bent on trying to shatter morale.

But morale is harder to shatter at Celtic than these people think. The manager and the players are fighting back and not just on the pitch. We have Maeda openly stating that the players still believe they’ll win the league. You have Welsh in the papers today saying that the team is rock solid behind the boss and fighting for each other.

And you have the man himself, the manager, who sounds more bullish than I’ve heard him in a long time, a man severely pissed off, it seems to me, that he still has to continue proving himself to these people when his record in management is excellent.

The players and the coaches are really coming out swinging here, off the field and on it. That’s all to the good, because when this team has its back up there is no finer side in the country, something we’ve proved over and over again in spite of what the critics write.

I enjoy it when we’re being written off, although granted it’s been a while since we saw it happen because we’ve just been too damned good. But let’s not forget that the same people dancing on our grave right now were doing the same back at the start of Ange’s first campaign, when the headlines were all negative and Ibrox did have a solid lead in the league.

Writing off this Celtic team when we’re still sitting at the top of the table right now is the daftest act in a long history of them though, and whilst Ibrox might go ahead on goal difference tomorrow you look at the squads and ours is still the best one.

But it’s the dugout where the real difference lies. I’ll write about that later.

In the meantime, it’s good to see us coming out and challenging this narrative right ot its sneering face. A couple more good results and we’ll see it start to crumble.

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  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    A big big day ahead on Saturday…

    For once we play before Sevco –

    Could do with a couple of early goals to settle the sell out Hoops supporters…

    But we need to watch McInnes who’ll have his Ayrshire thugs primed up for common assault –

    And it’s Cheatin’ Beaton with the whistle on the day !

  • SSMPM says:

    I’m just glad it’s not Robertson that refereeing. Not because I think he more biased against us it’s just that that’s a man that loves a rugby tackle and even though Valentine’s Day will have passed there’ll be not chance of seeing a card. HH

  • Pat says:

    We absolutely are off form. Our last minute victory against Hibs, where we were extremely fortunate and a similar dreadful performance against Ross County have been indicative of how we have been playing. Similarly against St Mitten in the cup we underperformed. It’s arguable that Joe Hart has kept us in all these matches and literally saved our bacon. The issue with many fans now is that there are no real signs of improvement. CCV and Hatate may make an improvement but we were just as poor under them.

    So yes, the results don’t suggest we are off form, but any supporters watching the games and the evidence of their own eyes tell another story. The govan lot are no great shakes either but given our resources and so called quality, we need to improve.

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