I’ve always said that, in the grand scheme of things, for me football is all about the patter ahead of anything else. It’s great to win things, and celebrate trophies, but you want to do it by having some laugh as well on the way and at times under Brendan Rodgers, the success had become laborious.
Groanworthy Betfred cup final wins over Motherwell and Aberdeen weren’t memorable at all. Would the boredom continue against Rangers ?
Thankfully, the answer was no, as the Ibrox nearly men provided a sensational display of patter that ensured yesterday’s cup win was one of the most enjoyable in a long time.
It’s been said we played half an hour with ten men. It could be argued, we played the entire game with a man down, as Lewis Morgan, with the greatest of respect, is not a striker and was largely anonymous. (as was the unfit Mohamed Elyounoussi)
Rangers STILL couldn’t beat us.
The moment Christopher Jullien put the ball in the net, it was game over.
They had all of the ball, they did all the pressing and, honestly, played all of the football. We were shocking and on another day, should have been 3-0 down at half time.
However, a combination of luck, difference in mentality and a lesson in composure ensured that we lifted the League cup yesterday, and not our rivals.
It’s fair to say we Walter Smith’d them. A role reversal from the 1990’s, with Fraser Forster in the Goram role, and us taking the lead from our first attempt at goal was something I grew up watching being done to us on a regular basis as a WEE GUY in that era.
And speaking of wee guys, what more can you say about Alfredo Morelos, who once more failed to score in a game against Celtic and he seems like a forever cursed and broken man in this fixture.
The penalty miss alone probably galvanised us more than the goal, and for that, Alfredo, thank you.
If truth be told, Rangers weren’t terrible yesterday. We were.
However, our game management with ten men was terrific. Drawing them in to commit fouls, exaggerating injuries and slowing the game down was just masterful and very similar to the March 2018 game at Ibrox, when Simunovic was sent off. We reacted to that yesterday just as well as we did in the 3-2 game, although had they not bottled the penalty and equalised, it’s hard to imagine we’d be celebrating that cup win at the end of the game.
All in all, we were just smarter than them, and winners will always find a way to do this, whereas nearly men will constantly moan about being worked into a shoot.
We suffered for a long time being second best in these matches, and while games against Gerrard’s Rangers are a sterner test than the Warburton/Caixinha/Murty era sides, the end result remains the same.
We have the trophies to show off after them, and all they can do is post some valiant battlecry on Follow Follow Dot Com, or go on about how much Ryan Jack ‘gets it’ for greeting after the game.
Long may it continue.
Rangers, on behalf of patter, thank you.