Hurting Pro-Ibrox Hack Can’t Contain His Bitterness At Celtic’s Double … Or His Fear Of What Next Season Brings.

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Last night, just for a laugh, I read Gary Keown’s piece in The Mail, and I was halfway through it when I realised it needed the full Keith Jackson treatment.

I’m not going to waste time here; let’s jump right in.

They didn’t lose the midfield battle this time. They were clearly the better team on the day. But when working with a squad of players that offers such an atrocious lack of quality and composure in the final third of the field when the heat is really on, Ibrox’s manager Philippe Clement is never going to get anywhere.

They didn’t lose the midfield battle? In the first half they were played off the park, and whilst they got in our faces more in the second half this clown has failed to notice that they barely registered a shot on target in the whole game. Neither did we. But that’s another story. Our midfield was certainly not brilliant, but it was a midfielder who created the winning goal.

If he’s looking to take any positives from the highly-precarious position of having failed to beat Celtic for the fourth time in his Ibrox career in the Scottish Cup final, it is that he’s not the only manager in the (Glasgow derby) bubble having to rebuild his side.

If Clement is looking for positives out of that record he’s even stupider than we think, and we already think he’s pretty stupid. The idea that he should be pleased that Celtic also has a rebuilding job is pretty hilarious … the difference is that we have the money for one and they don’t. We also have an extra month to make sure we get it right. They have Champions League qualifiers to play. So as crumbs of comfort go … these wouldn’t feed a budgie.

Celtic under Brendan Rodgers have not been good this season. They got away with it in the league because a wobbly Sevco buckled at key moments. And yesterday, with all eyes on them at Hampden, having needed a penalty shoot-out win over Aberdeen to get there, they failed to show up against an Ibrox side running on fumes and running out of fit players in certain positions.

Absolute rubbish, all of it. We won 93 points this season. We didn’t “get away it” … we beat their club three times and drew the other in the league. We won the title by eight points. Not by a single goal scored late in the final match. By eight points. Had we not slipped for one week spell in December we’d have been over the hills and far away. He fails to acknowledge that even without their similarly bad spell we’d still have won the title by virtue of winning all five of our closing fixtures, and nine out of the last ten. They can kid themselves all they want about how they let us off the hook … that points haul is the equivalent of 31 wins out of 38 games.

As to this garbage – for that is what it is – about the cup semi final, it would have been easier for us if, like the Ibrox club, we had played against a team which couldn’t be bothered, but Aberdeen, in their final game of any meaning, fought like tigers and gave us a better test than the Ibrox club itself managed at any point. Yeah it took penalties. It also took Aberdeen scoring both a last minute equaliser in normal time and a last minute one in extra time to take the game there. Keown is hurting. That much is obvious. But he’s just lying to himself here.

And as for not showing up yesterday against an injury ravaged team … first, whose name is on the cup this morning? We beat a side in the final which was also playing for the only meaningful thing it had left to fight for. It was a tough game. To suggest we didn’t show up for a match we won is idiotic at best and screams of bitterness. And that was as close to a full-strength Ibrox team as we’ve seen in weeks. Even the allegedly unfit Yilmaz – “he cried when he realised he was hurt” – played the full match, so he should cease wasting our time with any more of this “ahh but” bullshit. We are deserved double winners. 

Rodgers, considering he is likely to lose Matt O’Riley and must replace the retiring Joe Hart, needs at least half-a-dozen new faces to go into that starting XI. A total of 12 guys were signed by the champions over last summer and January — and not one of them made the team yesterday. Domestic double or not, that is dysfunctional stuff.

Nothing this site and others haven’t said. Does he expect a Blue Peter badge for this insight? And yeah, not one of the signings started the game. I think that’s the point where you should give Rodgers immense credit actually; he refused to work with the poor options the board handed him. He has won this title with a weakened version of last season’s team, that’s a fact, and although none of the signings started, we did have three of them to come off the bench and finish things off, and isn’t that something to give the manager credit for as well?

They looked like a team in desperate need of freshening up yesterday. When the hangovers have eased this morning and the green-and-white confetti has been shaken out of the underpants, can any Celtic fan really say that this is a squad of players adequately equipped to make any kind of impression in European competition next season? If they do feel capable of making that kind of prediction, their idea of getting over the morning after the night before must involve sniffing glue.

That’s our problem, not yours. I do love how Keown’s first instinct is to try to tell us why we’re not good enough after we’ve just won a double. That is pain talking, deep-seated emotional pain which I’m sitting drinking with my afternoon coffee. Nobody in the Celtic support is unaware of any of this. We face an interesting summer. It will help to have tens of millions of pounds in the bank whether we sell O’Riley or not, and even more if we do. If I were an Ibrox fan I wouldn’t be terribly excited at the prospect of a well funded Celtic rebuild under this all conquering boss.

It is possible to see where Clement is coming from when he talks down the idea of a sizeable gap existing between (Ibrox) and Celtic. However, the time for talking from the Belgian is over. He needs to start backing up his words with affirmative actions.

Is it really possible to see where he’s coming from? I think that’s another idiotic claim. Because all Clement is doing is indulging the same mad fantasy as the last two Ibrox bosses did, and they paid for it with their jobs, and in very short order.

What happens next season will take care of itself. He is under major scrutiny going into the first (derby) match of next term at Parkhead — because no one, by that stage, will recall or care how his team had the cup final for the taking and let it slip — and has to find new solutions in the forward areas of the team or he is toast.

They had the cup final for the taking and let it slip? Jesus, that is delusional. That’s not just rubbish it is delusional garbage. And I am glad to read this kind of thing in the mainstream media because all it does is perpetuates two dangerous myths; the first is that a handful of these Ibrox players are much, much better than they are and the second is that by and large the Celtic team which ended that game yesterday is not as good as they are … and both of those foolish assumptions will be waiting for them when the summer finishes.

That’s the big task in his in-tray right now. And along with sporting director Nils Koppen, he will have to work the market — on whatever budget he has available — like it has never been worked before. Particularly when his defence needs revamped too.

His whole team needs rebuilding. All of it. And even those who cannot wait to see the back of Tavernier and Goldson and the rest are kidding themselves about what an enormous upheaval that will be, even if they are able to get these guys off the wage-bill … and that’s a big if.

Too often yesterday, (the Ibrox team) got themselves into decent situations and just didn’t get a shot off. Didn’t ask enough questions. Didn’t take advantage.

They were dire. They were lucky we weren’t at our best, and especially in that first half, or we might have run up a cricket score.

Clement has to take part of the blame for this. It was evident he needed a goal scorer during the January window. He ended up plumping for Fabio Silva on loan from Wolves, who turned up at the mid-season training camp in La Manga, stating that he didn’t see himself as a No 9 and didn’t like to worry himself about scoring.

Nothing that wasn’t readily apparent in his dire stats. But this is Ibrox at its finest; they were more interested in getting headlines about how they had signed a £30 million player (and with some suggestions that they’d beaten Celtic to him haha) than they were about whether or not he could do the job. His stats would not have been encouraging, but there is an arrogant presumption at the heart of that signing that goes well beyond Clement, although I do think it’s hilarious that he opted to approve this. And this is the guy you trust with the summer rebuild!

It sure looked that way when he wriggled clear of Alistair Johnston on the left flank 18 minutes in. He had a clear shot at goal, but his side footed effort was weak and easily dealt with by Hart, given a much smoother ride into retirement than he should have been. Silva is too expensive to keep. And not worth keeping. Many will point to the injured Danilo being ready to return next term — the centre-forward resplendent in club suit and tie in the main stand yesterday — but did he really set the heather on fire when he was fit? Almost certainly not.

Hahaha too expensive to keep! But that didn’t stop many in the media presenting rubbish stories about how the Ibrox club would “explore the option” when the season was done. As to not being worth it, if they had got him for an Adam Idah style loan fee they would still have overpaid. The only thing they got out of that signing was his Oscar nomination for play-acting.

The bloke who stepped into the breach after his knee injury, Cyriel Dessers, has surely shown enough to make it clear by now that he cannot be trusted up front. Maybe he will go away and do well somewhere else, somewhere less pressurised, like Sam Lammers at Utrecht.

Dessers is easily their most capable forward. Which is why I am enjoying the constant undermining of him in the media and on the Ibrox fan sites. Strikers play on confidence. Between the media criticism and their own fans, his confidence is shot. It’s beautiful.

You can say what you want about him scoring 22 goals this season, the Nigerian internationalist is never, ever going to be the answer for (the Ibrox club) as a centre-forward. His ability to get himself into positions is forever put forward as a positive, but that can only hold so much water when he makes such a Horlicks of it in the split-second moments that tend to decide bigger games.

The strikers who can do that – like Adam Idah – can somehow put out of their minds what the papers, the management team and their own supporters will be saying if they miss. If Dessers bottles it, that’s part of the reason why.

He had three chances within a nine-minute spell in the first half. Not sitters. Not the kind of one-on-one he fouled up at Celtic Park earlier in the season. But chances all the same. The standard of his efforts just illuminated all his flaws.

I don’t even remember that. Which shows you how big those “chances” were. Luckily for me, Keown is on hand next to list them.

Sixteen minutes in, Todd Cantwell plays him through on the right of the area. There’s a chance of a first-time shot across the keeper. He tries it, sclaffs it hopelessly into a ruck of players and the ball eventually comes back to Cantwell, who chips it over.

Fantastical nonsense to present that as a real chance.

Cantwell then puts a ball in from the right. It’s travelling about knee-height when it makes its way to Dessers in front of goal. He’s under pressure from an opponent, for sure, but the chance to make contact is there. He ends up delivering a fresh-air swipe.

You could praise “the opponent” for good defending … but this is a take-down of one of your own players, and who am I to stop you when you’re in full flow?

Then, midway through the opening period, James Tavernier, who did little to silence those believing his own time in Glasgow is up, connects with Cantwell, the ball is fed inside to Dessers and he sclaffs it again, sending it bobbling into traffic once more.

And by “traffic” he means Celtic defenders actually … err … defending.

He was no loss when he went off at the break. Abdallah Sima was tried through the middle in the second half and has been good when fit, but what will Brighton want to make that deal permanent? And how will that fit into the overall budget for a playing department, despite huge wages being paid, that needs torn up.

Sima is hugely over-rated. And the Ibrox club has set his development back years with the number of times they’ve thrown him into games half fit. Brighton might feel they should cut their losses on him, because God knows what a state he’s in going back there … that’s their problem for allowing the Ibrox club to abuse their trust like that. In the end, I think he’s way too expensive should Brighton decide to sell, and they owe Ibrox no favours at all.

Sima did, of course, get the ball in the net, but, despite Clement’s protestations, it was rightly ruled out.

God bless John Beaton, right? Think he still has a supporter’s bus named after him after yesterday?

Nicolas Raskin did foul Hart when going in for the corner that fell to Sima. It’s that simple.

Yep. Doesn’t stop their forums from bubbling over with rage though. What joy.

Cantwell showed a desire to get on the ball and make things happen yesterday, but he was taken off eventually and just doesn’t look forceful enough to be the main playmaker. He should be sold. Try as he did to change things yesterday, he remains better known for his what he taps out on his phone rather than what he trots out on the pitch.

There is no more over-rated player in this country than Cantwell. Except maybe Butland.

That Scott Wright is still at the club and playing in finals is a miracle. Dujon Sterling is a midfielder or a right-back, but not a right winger. And perhaps one of the most alarming remarks made by Clement post-match, when admitting that his side does have to become more clinical, is that a fit Rabbi Matondo would have finished some of the chances Rangers created.

Scott Wright would have left in the summer had they had a buyer for him and everyone knows it. That he is still playing most weeks is a tribute to the utter insanity of Philipe Clement. Sterling is another player who is hyped to the max without it actually being clear what he produces to justify any of it. I agree on Matondo; defending him is hilarious!

Rabbi Matondo? He’s been two years at the club now. His highlights reel is about the same length as Rishi Sunak’s Greatest Hits compilation from the current election campaign. Short. And not terribly sweet.

Dreadfully written paragraph. Clunkier than a shopping trolley full of soup cans. For God’s sake Keown, know your limits. Please do not try to be Keith Jacksonesque funny. It’s bad enough coming from him, but he practices at it. Just say “Matondo is terrible.” People will get the message.

(The Ibrox team) were summed up with four minutes to play here with the scoreline goalless and momentum in their favour. They broke forward with Raskin, had Celtic stretched with players advancing on each flank, but no one really made the run for the Belgian, he didn’t know what to do and the move just fizzled out. A great position that came to nothing.

Another one I barely remember. I suppose when you are looking for crumbs of comfort enough to get out the magnifying glass that you will find them … still … it’s a pretty poor effort. Momentum in their favour too haha. Wow.

And before you know it, the ball’s in the net thanks to Celtic substitute Adam Idah up the other end and it’s over. Those are the margins. You need matchwinners. You need predators. You need people who can deliver from just one big chance on the biggest stages.

Yep, and Idah has more than proved he’s good for a permanent deal. I hope that the board delivers on that for Rodgers, because this guy could be a star at Celtic for years to come.

Rodgers brought in a scorer, a goals man, in Idah in January to bolster his options. Clement went for Silva.

Aaah yes. So much for our signings not working out. After Rodgers took control back we did a bit better in January.

That, as it turns out, made the difference in the end. And it has left the (Ibrox) manager with absolutely no room for error going forward into next season. He’s under serious, serious pressure.

Adam Idah won us the double, it’s as simple as that.

As to Clement, yes … he’s in big trouble, and I am glad our fans are not the only people who have noticed it.

Thankfully for him – and for the likes of Keown – all he has on his plate is a massive rebuilding, with little money, on an already ticking timeline, towards two critical Champions League qualifying ties … and then a derby at Celtic Park before the Halloween costumes are in the shops.

He might not even be in the post by the time we put those costumes on.

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  • Tony B says:

    Nobody in that sevco team would get in to Celtic’s first team, and that is their major problem, apart of course from the fact that they are skint and under FFP regs won’t be able to add real quality, whereas Celtic’s financial advantage will just grow and grow.

    Too bad so sad never mind!

  • Johnny mcglinchey says:

    Is this monkey writing for the rangers news, ??? HH

  • Therese Storrie says:

    I’m sure he must’ve been writing with crayons
    He’s actually lost the plot ( Baldymort)
    I hope he is kept on The lols just keep coming

  • Gerry says:

    Good afternoon James, and all our double winning Celtic fans.

    Hopefully we are all feeling just champion today.

    What a wonderful day yesterday…Hampden in the sun, and the vanquish of the hun!

    We all know it wasn’t a great spectacle, and that we didn’t play our very best game. Ultimately, who gives a flying feke!

    We won the cup, we won the title and another glorious double. To win it in the 90th minute, just makes it even sweeter.

    Maybe I’ve missed something, or I’m a tad obtuse, but I’m struggling to comprehend how the Sevconians and their media/SMSM loving Sevco fans, believe that they should have won the cup yesterday.

    The fact that their favourite brother, Beaton was on VAR, and flagged up the foul, to rightly disallow their ‘goal,’ is the sweetest irony. They howl about cheating officials, when most of us, cannot even begin to countenance the thought of Bro Beaton, attempting to ‘assist’ us.

    I believed, from my Hampden vantage point, that we were denied a stonewall penalty. However, I’m led to believe that the correct decision, was made then too.

    The only slight sour note for me yesterday, if it can be described as that, was hearing a few of our younger fans, commenting on how lucky we were to win and that we were poor.

    Enjoy and savour these positive times, my young friends, and hope that they continue for many years to come ! As a lot of us, have experienced the negative side!

    Whether lucky and/or poor, the cup was won, and the double was secured. After, what can only be described as an at times, frustrating 9-10 months, our top manager and squad have delivered a fantastic end to our season.

    Get Idah & Bernardo signed up, and give our manager the funds to secure the requisite quality, that will continue our domestic dominance, and allow us to make serious progress in Europe ! That is a must !!!

    Good luck to big Joe in his retirement! What a three years he’s given us ! HH

  • Dan says:

    Sheer bliss reading their delusion and pain

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Just sounds like a bitter rant ye would probably find on most ibrox blogs right now. Searchin for any nonsense crumb of comfort that’ll help get the hurt aff their chest. It’s great stuff.

  • Bob (original) says:

    Compared to recent weeks’ performances, we were poor yesterday.
    Our whole midfield was out of sorts.
    And yet…

    That makes the win more significant.
    Arguably, team spirit and players’ mental toughness forced that win?
    It bodes well for next season.

    Our own squad improvement starts now.
    Idah and Bernardo signed up this week would be a decent start?

    The Board better get the finger out and avoid any repeat of last summer’s
    underwhelming transfer business.

  • Tenaka Khan says:

    I see a lot in Bernardo and I think some stability in his future will serve to bring it out in him. Idah will only get better.
    Going for The Real 55!!!

  • Michael McCartney says:

    The hurt is seeping out of his every sentence, We won yesterday because we had a sharp striker on form and he won us the cup, take a bow Adam Idah. We won the double after a summer where the signing policy was a disaster, plus we lost a top manager in Postecoglou luckily we did replace him with another top manager in BR, we lost 4 top players in Jota, Mooy, Starfelt and Abada and didn’t replace them like for like. Luckily Maeda and Forrest came good at the right time, O’Riley was great throughout the season, CalMac stepped up when it mattered especially against the Hun, wee Kyogo wasn’t the usual predator this season but still weighed in with important goals.
    Yesterday for some reason Hatate and O’Riley went missing for long spells and this starved our forwards of support, our often maligned defence stepped up to the plate
    Hart,Johnston.CCV,Scales and Taylor were there when needed.
    Bernardo came on and had our first decent shot from distance that lead to our goal. It’s up to the board now to back the manager, get a decent replacement for Joe Hart plus 3 or 4 reasonable European class players and sign Idah and Bernardo and we’ll be in a good place.

    • Joe McQuaid says:

      Couldn’t have summed it up better myself. We got through it now let’s push on.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Just another hurtin Hun – Only I’ve not heard of him…

    Another irrelevant idiot !

  • Peter Kelly says:

    Did he really say ‘sevco’? That’s quite a turn up for a member of the SMSM.

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