AFTER a three-and-a-half-year stint as manager at Ibrox, in that time winning the Premiership and blocking Celtic from ever being able to say they had won 10 in a row, Steven Gerrard has finally left the team behind.
His journey south to take the reins at Aston Villa left some Govan fans with a bitter taste in their mouth. Sure, performances this season hadn’t matched last year’s heights, but they look like they were set on another title victory, with another chance to go deep in Europe League, after the disappointment of crashing out of the Champions League qualifiers.
Nonetheless, Gerrard obviously felt it was time to move on, progress elsewhere, challenge himself in what is understood to be the best league in world football. Now, Villa fans are purchasing Premier League tickets from SeatPick and seeing Gerrard’s blueprint of being tough-to-beat play out in claret and blue successfully, with a high-octane, direct attack producing the goods.
So, what has happened since Gerrard exited the arena? How are his former players coping without him, and with a new manager to get used to? And is it affecting their greatest rivals, Celtic?
Read on for all the details in the Glasgow rivalry and Gerrard’s effect on the teams.
How are the Ibrox side Doing?
It seems like they have well and truly found their footing. Their new manager, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, has been credited with their success thus far in the Premiership. A sequence of seven successive wins only came to a halt at Pittodrie last night in the 1-1 draw with Aberdeen.
How are Celtic Doing?
Meanwhile, Celtic are watching closely. When the news of Gerrard’s departure was announced, a lot of fans and spectators theorised that this could only be good for Celtic, who would undoubtedly watch a floundering team come to grips with their new manager and make a lot of mistakes along the way, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
What’s Happening Now?
Like a scandalous love affair out of Romeo and Juliet, two teams both alike in dignity, spotted their managers having a meeting at a popular Glasgow restaurant alongside an unnamed woman and Ibrox sporting director Ross Wilson.
It’s possible they simply bumped into each other, since Van Bronckhorst and Postecoglou are both regularly seen at the West End café, but they were reported to be “deep in conversation”. You know that if you bump into a colleague at a restaurant, you’re going to keep it to work and wrap it up as soon as possible.
It’s likely the two are keeping the battle on the field, but that is a ferocious battle that is ever raging on, and they will see each other again in Celtic Park on February 2 for the pivotal game of the city rivalry in this title. Van Bronckhorst’s men currently lead by four points, but Celtic will hardly see that gap as insurmountable.