Throughout history, battles and wars have been won through decisive moments that shift the power to one side, either through acts of bravery, luck or sheer stupidity.
Winterfell, 303 AC - The Battle of the Bastards. Ramsay Bolton and his flaying obsessed comrades are on the verge of crushing Jon Snow’s wildling army, only for the bravery and the sheer savvy knowledge of his sister, Sansa, to get hawners in from the Vale boys to turn the tide in injury time.
The Year 3,500 something. The Battle of Yavin. Luke Skywalker blows up the Deathstar by firing two missiles from that X-Wing into the ONLY part of the architecture’s weak point, which Han Solo correctly stated was a ‘one in a million’ shot, turning the tide to the rebels from the clutches of the galactic empire.
September 1st 2019. Ibrox Stadium. Steven Gerrard names a Rangers side that is set up to stifle and frustrate Celtic, bereft of playing any attacking football whatsoever against an opposition whose back four are missing two key players and have been largely suspect since the start of the season.
The gravest act of stupidity you’ll see, and it was this bizarre tactical blunder that ensured Celtic strolled to victory in Govan, went three clear at the top and ultimately delivered the psychological knockout blow that will, in my opinion, seal nine in a row.
Forget the fact that there’s still 34 games left to play, amongst a plethora of domestic cup and European fixtures, today was a more than just a win in the league, it was a statement.
A statement to show that for all Rangers have improved since they returned to the Premiership in 2016, and for all they had been receiving the plaudits in the media for their European progress, they have not won a thing, and this afternoon showed the difference in the mentality of a team who are winners, and those who are perennial losers.
The home side abandoned their high pressing and natural width which caused us so many problems last season, for a narrow, robust and frankly outdated style of football against a team who just dismantled the champions of Sweden on Thursday night, who also tried to physically bully us, and had no joy from it.
Today, many Celtic players who have had to endure some pelters early on in this campaign have rightly received the plaudits today, and while it’s justified, I would still say they’ll face sterner tests elsewhere this season compared to this afternoon’s game , which at times, was literally a walk in the park.
Shoutouts however, have to go to the much maligned Boli Bhoy and Jullien, who settled into the game and cruised it after Edouard’s finish, which was never in doubt when he was through on goal, and praise must go to Mikey Johnston, whose throughball was impeccable for the big man, another young player who has had dogs abuse from some of the support in recent weeks, with many thinking playing him was a gamble!
As soon as it was 1-0 to us, the game was over, and I tweeted knowing that this wasn’t going to be anything like the previous two encounters at Ibrox too, with our game management and shape absolutely spot on against a side so rattled that they would have been delighted for the ref to call it at half time.
There was a brief rally from Rangers in the second half, but Forster had nothing to do, and the introduction of Alfredo Morelos brought them even less joy, with their midfield heavy legged and constantly hitting a brick wall, meaning he was bulldozing his way all over the final third himself with no support, and that suited us fine.
The match was decided as a contest after Edouard’s goal, but Jonny Hayes put the icing on the cake with a fine second, and he’s another player who will be buzzing with his contribution today, and will surely be in contention for a starting place after the international break.
There was even time for Jordan ‘WATP’ Jones to get himself sent off and injure himself in the process by scything down Bauer, another player making his derby debut.
Rangers won’t recover from that. The next game at Celtic Park will be routine for us, and by then, we’ll be stretching well clear at the top.
Steven Gerrard’s side are not winners. They have a captain who performs against us when titles are done and dusted and they have clinched second place. They have a player whose greatest footballing achievement was winning a 50/50 with Olivier Ntcham. Their entire hopes cling to Liverpool loaning them a guy who is sitting wasting away in their U23 team, which does not look likely, and then there is their manager, who never won a domestic league title as a player, and this season at least, that doesn’t look like it’s going to change for him as a manager.
Meanwhile, Celtic have brought in a guy bought for £16m on loan for the season, and Greg Taylor looks like he’ll officially sign tomorrow, with our squad healthily equipped until January.
The cries and the moans from the Cluj game now seem like a distant memory, just like Rangers title challenge!
They will forever be wee guys compared to us, for the foreseeable future.
And it’s exactly what they get.
You can hear more from me tomorrow on................THE TERRACE! Tune in then.