You and I have seen it dozens of times. The manager rests half the team in a cup game against lower league opposition and those who participate somehow play as though the game was less important. Whose fault is that? Nothing gives out signals that we are not at fully strength like rotating seven players from the starting line-up.
Players are not machines; they cannot climb the mountain every time as though this time was the most crucial. That is why systems need to be robust enough to see them through mundane days. Ange Postecoglou was right to rest so many ahead of an important European game. This act, however, rendered him unable to convince those selected that their adrenalin should be pumping at full throttle.
The angry manager routine from the touchline, and no doubt at halftime, was enough of a top-up to comfortably see the game over the line. I doubt he was truly angry, as he has seen as many of these type of games as we have.
That ball from Reo Hatate to Jota for the second goal is totemic of how Celtic are playing now. In any season of the last 10, that ball would have been carried into the final third before circulating down either flank looking for an opening. This ability to exploit the space behind defenders separates the talented from the earnest.
If you wander down Buchanan St there’s a good chance you will see someone doing a Find the Lady trick, where a queen card is shuffled around a board with two others. The object is to not take your eyes off the card until you make a decision (you will still lose). Refereeing can be a bit like that. When an offence occurs that you decide is punishable with a card, keep your eyes on the player until you have sight of his number.
Referee Steven McLean decided to book the Raith player whose arm met the ball for Celtic’s late penalty. Steven, however, let his eyes wander off the already booked Sean Mackie, who handled the ball, to the uninvolved Ross Matthews. A second yellow would have been harsh for Mackie, but still………..
10 years ago today the “they are going to crash and burn” predictions we made of Oldco Rangers for 8 years came to fruition. Chairman Craig Whyte stood on the steps of Ibrox to say he was putting the club into administration. Subsequent attempts to negotiate with HMRC failed. The basket of assets were sold to a consortium and administrators Duff and Phelps wrote a letter of comfort for Companies House to permit the Newco, which had applied for membership of the SFA as Sevco Scotland, to adopt a similar trading name to Oldco: “Rangers”, would be the name.
There were dozens of ways Rangers fall from perpetual debt and losses could have ended, liquidation was not inevitable. Pain was, though. You live within your means, or you face consequences.
Newco are approaching their 10th year in business and have yet to live within their means for a single season. Like Oldco, they are playing roulette football, with no more than a gamblers chance of leaving the table with their shirt. Like Oldco, I predict they will crash and burn. It is as though there is something pathological going on.