The Rules of the Game do not discriminate between a first and second yellow, but it is the discriminate application of the rules that causes problems. Two mis-timed – but not dangerous – challenges were enough for referee Nick Walsh to dismiss Callum McGregor, players are given latitude at the second yellow in the same scenario every week in the calendar. When cast against the off-the-ball stamping, kneeing and kicking Celtic players have endured in this fixture without protection from referees, it is clear what we are up against.
Celtic took control from the off but the intervention of Walsh; awarding a foul against Scott Brown on the goalkeeper when no foul happened, awarding Newco a throw-in deep inside the Celtic half that should have gone the other way and three further fouls for shoulder challenges that went Newco’s way, broke the pattern of play.
Three of the four goals came from mistakes by our defensive mid, two from Scott Brown and one from his replacement, Ismaila Soro. Scott wanted the win yesterday as much as you or I, but despite improved performances in recent months, the tank is empty. Ismaila will learn from yesterday. He was thrown into the game cold, there is a lot more to come from him.
For this third time in 2021, Celtic went to Ibrox and created a hatful of chances, at least on this occasion they took one, although many went a begging. Creativity is clearly not the problem.
Odsonne Edouard got on the scoresheet and put in his most impressive and interested-looking performance in some weeks Mohamed Elyounoussi again impressed, in a better-structured team he would be a star. Kristoffer Ajer was man-of-the-match. He repeatedly transformed defence into attack; too powerful, fast and skilful for Newco players to touch.
So where did it go wrong? Teams practice how to play with 10 men and the first thing the practice is how to defend. Not for the first time this season Celtic were porous, lacking a robust structure. Defence protects the keeper and midfield protects the defence. Scott Bain had little cover, the same could be said for the defence. Our shape with 10 men was all wrong.
Still, as Viv said, tomorrow is another day!