Fifteen years ago, Sky commentary legend (he was, admit it haters) Andy Gray infamously stood up on the gantry and started applauding a Robert Pires goal at Villa Park, due to the sublime brilliance of it, live on air. A bold shout, yes, but as a lover of fitba, it was his natural reaction to a tremendous bit of play.
While watching Celtic under Brendan Rodgers, I’ve became very used to seeing us win games at a canter now, and fully expect us to win every domestic match we play, to the point that even when we score, it’s such a given that we’re no longer making games difficult for ourselves and other teams are mentally capitulating before a ball is kicked against us.
I live for the drama of a hard fought title win, and grew up on savouring them and how much effort it was to beat our closest challengers to the glory of the silverware at the end of the season.
On GIGPOD, I’ve been very consistent about just how easy things are at a domestic level for Celtic, and I am very vocal about being desperate to see this Celtic team in a proper title battle, akin to 2002/2003, 2004/2005 or even more recently 2010/2011.
Last night though, was the first time in Rodgers reign that I’d truly appreciated a domestic performance. It was perfection, and it’s one of the most complete Celtic displays I had ever seen, to the point that I ‘did an Andy Gray’ and stood up after the second goal and applauded – something I had not done in quite some time watching this Celtic side.
Kieran Tierney’s roasting of Shay Logan, the impeccable inch perfect cross put on a plate for Moussa Dembele to tap home was just wonderful and had it been Marcelo of Real Madrid doing that for Benzema, we’d be hearing about how world class it was and how you’d only see that in La Liga. Make no mistake, KT’s piece of play last night was genuinely world class stuff and it was fantastic to see from ‘one of our own’.
It’s not that I sit in silence after watching us crush teams on a weekly basis, although my neighbours would no doubt wish this was the case, it’s just that it’s became as routine now as a delayed Scotrail train or another poor joke from Reidzo, if you will, that I personally haven’t went radge bongo when we score, even games against Rangers now, our once fierce rivals, are nothing more than a training exercise with a lot of fans. A far cry from how things used to be!
Aberdeen, last season’s winners of the Runner Up treble, are undoubtedly the second team in Scotland just now, and this trip to Pittodrie by all accounts should have been a serious test for us, after a gruelling trip to Munich and then having been pushed all the way against Hibs at the weekend in the Betfred Cup, but this team treated last night like a cup final and comprehensively reminded the Dons why they will never be able to challenge us as long as Brendan Rodgers is still our manager.
Yes, our financial clout exceeds Aberdeen’s, and everyone else in Scotland, but we were in that same position with the dough under Ronny Deila, and they constantly battled very well with us at Pittodrie, even – shock horror – winning a couple of times. Last night was all about attitude - the confidence and belief in this Celtic team, domestically anyway, is as high as it’s ever seen resulting in the team being as impenetrable as the Los Angeles 2049 Sea Wall (I had to get that BR2049 reference into here)
There was a feeling among the fans, on the TJDS timeline anyway, that last nights game was going to be the end of the streak, even more so when the manager didn’t start with Scott Sinclair or Patrick Roberts, but once more, the players who came in for the ‘undroppables’ performed exceptionally well and justified the managers selection. Their appetite was just insatiable and leaves Rodgers with some serious selection headaches ahead of the Bayern Munich game next week, and to a lesser extent, the Kilmarnock game on Saturday.
Everything about the performance last night was sublime, from another clean sheet at the back, to Moussa Dembele rediscovering the form that had a host of European clubs keeping tabs on him last season, as well as further patronising another team by letting Nir Bitton effortlessly saunter about at centre half and seeing the assassination of Shay Logan by the legend Kieran Tierney was joyous. It really was the most complete display of this unbeaten run domestically, yes, ahead of the 5-1 drubbings of Rangers last season too.
Will it have any bearing on the Bayern game next week ?
I really hope so. We’ll play the same way against them as we did at Pittodrie last night, albeit up against players who probably won’t collapse and fold after one misplaced pass to Callum McGregor or Scott Brown and it really is about time that this team claimed a scalp at Celtic Park against a big dog, after three drubbings thus far, and a game we drew despite being in the lead three times.
We’ll discuss that on the Pod though before that particular game, so remember to subscribe and catch it when it’s out.