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This Celtic Manager Is Heading For Something Special: He Will Make The Big Lie Irrelevant.

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There is an iconic moment from Only Fools And Horses which will never be anything but sublime. In it, Trigger, the dust-sweeper, shows off his medal from the council for saving them money. He tells a group of his friends that he has had the same broom for 20 years. Someone asks him if he’s ever actually swept anything up with it. Trigger observes that he has maintained it. “This old broom,” he says, “has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles.”

“How the Hell can it be the same broom then?” he is asked, incredulously.

We know what Trigger gets out of this bizarre belief that he has had the same broom for 20 years; a medal and some recognition.

There has to be a pay-off or you would not indulge such a barmy idea.

Ibrox fans who will tell you to your face that their club was “relegated”, and that it’s not a NewCo which started from the bottom tier, get The Lie.

Some people in Scottish Football call it The Big Lie. I call it The Survival Lie, to differentiate it from its subsidiary fiction, The Victim Lie. They are separate but co-joined and you can’t properly understand the Survival Lie without understanding the one which underpins it. But whatever your name for this is, we all know we’re talking about the same thing; the death of Rangers … and with it, the fate of the major trophies which were won by the first Ibrox club.

The Survival Lie exists to give them something to cling to. Without it, the thing their club loves the most is gone; their title as the most successful club on this island.

They used to claim to be the most successful in the world, but Al Ahly Sporting Club of Egypt claim that title, and the Uruguayans Nacional have a better record. The still claim to be the most successful club in Europe, a title I think is rendered laughable when you see Real Madrid’s European Cups … still, this is the purpose of the Lie. This is the function it serves in their lives.

More than anything else, it is what they think they hold over us. We might have our European Cup, but they claim the lead in most trophies overall. That’s what the Survival Lie really boils down to, and that’s the reason they hold onto it so tightly.

It gives them something to brag about, even as we celebrate having won five trebles in the last eight years.

Now the Ibrox forums are almost paralysed with fear that we’re about to snatch that from under them, and we are. The debate over on one of them is fascinating, as they struggle to come up with spurious criteria for excluding some of our trophies … they don’t acknowledge that some of those they lay claim to were won by cheating and would have been withdrawn in any other football nation but this one. But it’s amusing to see how their minds work.

The simple truth of it is that we’re now on the brink of rendering the Lies utterly without meaning, and I am sure our marketing department is very much looking forward to the moment when they can announce us as “Scotland’s most successful club” and not even have the most rabid believer in the Survival Lie contradict it.

The score stands at 118-117. I know almost all of us will dispute that on the grounds that the current Ibrox club has a solitary title to its name, but the point here is that the Lie itself is about to rendered meaningless.

If we win the Scottish Cup, we’re “all square.” Next season, we can overtake the Lie entirely if we win one more trophy than they do.

And I think we’ll do better than that, and from there move far in front of them and wear the title of Scotland’s Most Successful Club, and the most honoured on this island if we want to claim that, and the most successful in Europe if we have the gumption for the rest of our natural lives and way beyond.

We’re already “going for 55” and they are devastated about that, but the real prize is to snatch away from them that which they hold most dear.

Brendan Rodgers and this team are on the verge of something really special, and that should give everyone at Celtic added impetus, not only in the games which are left but into the summer and beyond. We’re going to rip from them their reason for existing in this form … that is a prize worth running down with everything we’ve got.

It’s within reach, and that is the thing that scares them most.

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  • sparks says:

    In the Olympics a country with 1 gold sits above a country with 50 silver and 50 bronze in the medals table. Success is all about being the best of the best and only 1 Scottish team have ever achieved that.

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