Winners win and losers lose, yesterday proved that beyond all doubt. Credit to Steven Gerrard, who had his team press against the champions. Celtic played an hour without a striker, but that was no mitigation for the sheer gulf in performance between the teams.
Winning nine trophies in succession gave Celtic the tools to survive an onslaught that would have buried others, although much of the credit must go to Fraser Forster, who played in none of those nine wins. By contrast, Newco played like they had a deep-seated loser schema. There is no other viable explanation as to why a team can dominate so thoroughly but show so little composure when it came to making a difference.
Central to all of this was Alfredo Morelos. He is Newco’s best player but he is not good enough. He does not have the mentality to do what is necessary against Celtic, and for a team who aspire to win things in Scotland, that is unacceptable.
His psychological makeup was questioned when he was the most red carded player in world football last season. He has not been ordered off this season, although that should change with a retrospective charge for running his studs down Christopher Jullien’s Achilles. Scoring and behaving when it doesn’t really matter is pointless if you cannot find calm when it counts.
The goal looked offside at first pass but the picture is less clear having watched the replay dozens of times. Newco’s Helander moves behind Jullien’s frame. On camera, we do not see which of them has a playable body part nearer goal when the kick is taken.
The finish was a carbon copy of Ciro Immobile’s opener against Celtic in Rome. Immobile showed his class with that goal, Jullien showed a comparable touch and composure. He is a winner and a leader.
A lifetime watching Celtic play Oldco and Newco came together for me a moment after Odsonne Edouard came on as a second half substitute. His first action was to have the legs taken from him by Connor Goldson. It was as though we were watching John Greig doing what made him the Greatest Ever Ranger – kicking a Celtic player. Some things never change.
Celtic were ahead before Newco touched the ball again. If Walt Whitman best described Wednesday’s win over Hamilton, Lennon (the other one) inspired this victory when he sang, “Instant Karma’s gonna get you”. This is Celtic in their poetry period.
Tom Rogic signed shirt raffle for Celtic FC Foundation
The Celtic squad wore a special shirt for last month’s league game against Motherwell, bearing the Celtic FC Foundation Christmas Appeal logo instead of the normal Dafabet logo on the front, and the words “Christmas Appeal” on the back, instead of the Magners logo.
Tom Rogic’s signed shirt from that day is available for raffle. Each donation of £10 or more will be entered into a draw, which will take place on Friday 13 December. The shirt will be posted on Monday 16th (or available for collection at the Hibs game on Sunday 15th).
The Celtic FC Foundation do incredible work throughout the world all year round, but their work with those most in need in the winter months, and for children and families coping with chronic poverty, can give warmth, nourishment, self-respect and human compassion that some people struggle to find. All donations go straight to the Foundation.
This is why Celtic exists. You can enter here at JustGiving. Good luck and thank you!!