In This Weird Season, Celtic Are Getting By On Grit And Will. Ibrox Depends On The SFA.

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The thing about going for a few beers after the game is that you sit down to write with a much clearer mind and a much more level headed outlook. Sounds crazy, right? But take a moment and think about it. You have the perspective that comes from time to gather your thoughts, from a more complete understanding of context and more information to work with.

Today has been one strange day in what has been a very strange season. To understand where we are you have to take a step back and look at, in some ways, from a neutral perspective. And I mean all the way back, to try and look at Scottish football almost as an outsider would. Even that has its problems, because so much “outside opinion” is still shaped by the media here and if you believe them, we’ve been in crisis since the first ball was kicked.

This has been a vintage day in understanding how this whole season has gone. Celtic weren’t actually that bad today. As an attacking force we’ve gotten the job done. The palpitations most of us felt at the match were caused at the other end of the pitch. Here’s the thing; if we’d been as clinical all season as we were today, with our four goals, we would not just be top but we’d miles clear. Our defending was shocking at times. But at the other end, the sharp end of the spear, we poked and prodded and drew blood and that’s what you pay your front men to do.

Maeda was tremendous. He scored three and could have had a couple more, quite easily. Rodgers said it best after the game; “The right side of our team is where the creative spark came from and the left side finished it off … His movement, his runs, his anticipation was great. His movement and desire to get in and score was fantastic.”

It’s impossible to disagree with that. And there were some individual displays other than Maeda’s which bear giving great credit to. Kuhn had his best game so far, something that owed a lot to the pace of the attacking and the big spaces of Celtic Park. In addition, I thought that Forrest, the Famous Name himself, had a game changing impact when he came on.

Rodgers raved about him too, calling him “the best winger at the club” and not for the first time. That is true. He actually is. But he doesn’t have the legs any longer to get up and down the pitch as he once did. Still, he was excellent in his brief cameo this afternoon.

You wonder what this Celtic side might have achieved this season without the injuries which seem to be dogging us every step of the way, and if we’d played the whole campaign at this intensity. The title race would be just about over by now, and in our favour.

Today, in the second game, the Ibrox club has beaten Hibs by 2-0 and to say that the officials played their role in that would be an understatement. A penalty for the Ibrox club after a move in which there was a clear foul on a home team player and two red cards for Hibs in the space of a handful of minutes, with the second deemed soft by more than a few of the hacks … it all comes to bear, and they are only the latest in a number of critical calls that have gone their way.

Nick Montgomery was actually pretty restrained for a guy whose side might have fought all the way to at least extra time. “I haven’t seen Obita’s second yellow. I thought Nathan’s is really harsh, he’s gone across Lundstram. I don’t think he really contacted. For a strong player like John to go down the way he did… I’m surprised the referee didn’t go to the monitor. I’m just bemused by some of the decisions.”

Bemused. Really? I would have thought these people would have ceased being bemused by now, because Operation: Save Ibrox has been in full swing since Clement took the reins. And it’s only going to get worse with the business end of the campaign now upon us.

Look, take out of this any thought of conspiracies for a moment. Try and do what I said at the start; look at this from the perspective of the neutral. Our side is not playing well at times but we’ve gotten results more often than not. A handful of games, like last weekend, stand out as occasions when officialdom intervened in bizarre circumstances to do us out of points … but let’s surmise that that will happen during a title race, basically because some officials are incompetent.

But how many times in games this season have refereeing calls basically swung it their way? Let’s assume that every single one of those decisions were correct, which we know is madness, but let’s for a moment give them that benefit of the doubt.

They are still a club which depends, to a ridiculous degree, on the opposition breaking the rules of the game in order to get results. They are still dependent, to a ridiculous degree, on the “personal interpretation” of officials. If opposition sides were just a little more disciplined or officials just a little more consistent, in that they awarded decisions against Ibrox with the same regularity as they give decisions to them, this whole season would have a different texture to it.

We are getting by on grit and guts, and we’re still in this and chasing a double. Their club would be nowhere without opposing players losing the plot or refs interpreting the rule book differently than they do when the shoe is on the other foot. This whole season cannot be decided like that, it would be a travesty. If our grits and guts aren’t enough Ibrox should send Hampden a big thank you for the role its own officials have played in making this their year.

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  • BJM says:

    The fix is in.

  • Tam says:

    Correct your piece is Spot on…. CELTIC don’t play brilliant they have to dig deep to get a result.. The “the rangers” don’t play brilliant the on field referee and the VAR referee step in to help them…on another matter if a person is blind and/or deaf or disabled and can’t get to matches they have to depend on so called experts, pundits, and the village idiot Kris Boyd to tell the “truth” and we know that won’t happen…..if only they could say what they see and NOT what they want it to be

  • Joseph Mcaleer says:

    It’s so obvious, that today I sat with a Rangers fan. And he was embarrassed at the Hibs defeat.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      He would call himself a ‘Rangers’ fan Joseph…

      But given ‘Rangers’ became a rotting carcass in 2012 it was in my humble opinion a Sevco fan that was embarrassed at The Hibs defeat !

  • Jim says:

    The fact we haven’t been able to keep the same 11 on the park all season has certainly affected games.

    Hopefully with fighting to the last minute and scoring, many times, has had an impact on the confidence of the sometimes patched together team .

    Some maybe projects but playing with winners and the never say die attitude can give the rest of the team players that extra mile to pick up the pace.
    Especially now sevco were shoehorned into the next round with the usual helping hand by the MIB band of brothers.

  • SSMPM says:

    Careful now or the SFA will have you up in front of them.
    Maeda was very impressive today and a few weeks after the Asia Cup now seems to be returning to some form.
    If only a few could raise their game. Hopefully Cal, AJ and CCV will be back on it for the game at the midden. What’s doing with Hatate anyone?
    Not even gonna discuss the other topic of refs and their interpretation of the rules.
    ‘Twas a Treat to see James Forest today and he made a difference. If only …. HH

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    We’ve injury problems aye, tho that display today was shockin. We looked weak all over thst park. The defendin was absolutely amateurish and that team bottom of the league, might even have won it if it wisnae for harts save at 2 each. If McGregor is goin tae be out indefinitely, along with CCV and Hetate’s fitness bein unreliable, we’ve nae strength in depth and not a chance of winnin this league. We’ll be lucky tae get the Scottish cup. That defence without CCV will never get us through the remainin games. Kiddin ourself on if we think they can.

  • Dinger says:

    Corupt sfa and bent refereeing buddies

  • Roonsa says:

    We weren’t that bad today? We can’t deal with a bunch of clodhoppers who only have to lump the ball into the box to have our defence pissing its pants. Without CCV, our defence is a liability. You talk about grit and guts. We struggled against a team who are bottom of the SPFL and are total pish.

    I don’t care about that other lot. We’ve had to deal with dodgy decisions going in their favour since time began. You make out it’s Clement’s arrival that has upped the ante in that regard. Poppycock I say. Celtic have always had it in their power to keep that lot in a box, ever since they were shat into creation 12 years ago. If we balls it up this season, you won’t find me pointing the record at dodgy refs. I will be pointing the finger at the charlatans who are running our club into the ground.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Ibrox should send Hampden a big Thank You…

    Yeah – I hear your reasoning James but there’s not a snowballs chance hell of it even being considered far less processed…

    Jeez – They will just continue to troll Hampden big time and the more they do it the better the rewards and bounties they become…

    Compare and contrast to us at Celtic…

    If I was paying towards this it’d make me bloody vomit so it would…

    Thank Goodness that I don’t…

    Clachnacuddin lost 3-2 at Rothes on Saturday – but they lost in AN HONEST MANNER in what I’m informed was a good old fashioned game…

    Celtic fans that are sickened by the cheating should channel their hard earned cash into their local junior team or part time professional one where they might see more honesty instead of being frauded…

    There again – St. Roch’s and St. Anthony’s are probably being cheated as well because of their names and backgrounds…

    Well it did happen big time to HIBERNIAN today folks !

    • Jimmy says:

      Brilliant piece Roonsa and my opinion entirely. We have nobody but ourselves to blame.

  • BJM says:

    Clement the waffle,in the last few weeks all over the media/ press my players need protection from refs. Hibs 2 players sent off ask and you will receive.The scum are being aided to a treble. Obviously the sfa know the financial state sevco are in the 60 million will help to clear some of their debt courtesy of the sfa mib.

  • goodghuy says:

    The problem is our defence.. Livingston scored two goals from a few chances, we had 30 shots on goal. Our defence is just abysmal, and it’s starting to make my blood boil. Celtic are badly missing Hatate as well, as he is technically very good, and he makes a lot of our goals from his great passing, the quicker he back the better. I never seen the other mobs game, so I don’t know if they were red cards or not.

  • Dinger says:

    Fraud corruption and cheating is being done before our very eyes time to call in police Scotland oh I forgot Thier corupt too

  • Stephen says:

    At some point, the Celtic board will need to make a stand. It might not be this season might not be next season but at some point, they’ll start to lose customers as they see us.
    By protecting the blue pound, they’re threatening the green pound.

  • Jimmy says:

    Seriously Clachnacuddin your ramblings are depressing the fecking life out of me. . As I stated before go and get some sunshine FFS.
    Another mad rant suggesting nobody likes us. we don’t care stuff. Where have I heard that before.
    To bring in St Rochs and St Anthony’s yet no mention of the board is madness in the extreme. You going on these rants only let’s liewell and his cronies off the hook. Nobody but ourselves to blame because the team is full of 2nd rate players.
    Outside CCV O Rielly and maybe Johnson nobody would get anywhere the team when Rodgers managed previously. We won the treble last year yet have went backwards spectacularly. You probably think that’s down to the media you are obsessed with. Unbelievable.

  • John McGuigan says:

    Watched yesterdays game we deserved the win,but Khun Maeda Johnstone and Hart, were our best players,Matty, Bernard Iwata Idea Scales and Welsh were abysmal in a word please lets all do ourselves a favour and push any notion of us winning the league out of our minds it is just not going to happen with the defence we have. Earlier on in the season Scales was solid maybe that was down to having CCV beside him Welsh is average at best Idea was a waste of a man yesterday he done absolutely nothing, i find us a painful watch at the moment because i expect us to concede goals any time the opposition get into or near our box,no teams in the league fear us or coming to Parkhead anymore,this season is gone i think.I really hope to fuck am wrong! this team needs dismantled and rebuilt with a few players kept if possible and as far as Brendan is concerned i wont be at all disappointed if he is not here for the start of next season..your totally disgruntled.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    The Rangers and the original Rangers can and did win the League with very average teams, getting help from cheating Refs. We don’t win the League with average teams, Any Celtic supporters denying that the Ibrox club don’t benefit from dodgy decisions from officials over a season are pretty naive.
    This is the reason I don’t believe we will win win this League, this team of ours is pretty average, and without McGregor, CCV and Hatate available, very average.
    BR has found himself in charge of a team that lost key players in the close season and replaced them with projects that were just not up to the job. Who was to blame ? in my opinion BR must take some of the blame for not getting certain guarantees on calibre of signings or maybe he overestimated his ability in developing projects, but most of the blame must go to the the Scouting Dept, The CE and Board that employed them. The spectre of the returning Lawell Snr in the background didn’t help.
    We can only hope that we get 3 points on Sat against St Johnstone, and after the International break we have CalMac CCV and maybe even Hatate available and the equivalent of the 1979 and 1986 miracles might happen.
    Thought I would finish with a wee bit, “Hope In My Heart” that’s what being a Celtic supporter is all about.

  • John McGuigan says:

    James apologies, to you i thought my rant had been deemed to critical to publish but it has cheers John Mcguigan.

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