Keep Calm & Follow On- Gerrard’s Rangers On Verge Of Passing The Banter Years To Celtic Fans

Alfredo Morelos
PAISLEY, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 30: Alfredo Morelos of Rangers celebrates with teammates after scoring their team's second goal during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between St.Mirren and Rangers at The Simple Digital Arena on December 30, 2020 in Paisley, Scotland. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

These illustrations suggest four general maxims when you’re narcissistic…
The first is: remember that your motives are not always as altruistic as they seem to yourself.
The second is: don’t over-estimate your own merits.
The third is: don’t expect others to take as much interest in you as you do yourself.
And the fourth is: don’t imagine that most people give enough thought to you to have any special desire to persecute you.

Bertrand Russell.

Narcissistic behaviour is rife within Scottish football. We’ve seen it rather clearly over the last year from The SFA, the SPFL and of course, Celtic football club who to be frank have tended towards narcissistic behaviour during my entire 50 years alive on this planet.

Rangers won the New Year Old Firm derby. If you’d read the Scottish tabloids or listened to the BBC (Scotland) or the local radio stations, you wouldn’t think so though. According to the Scottish mainstream media, Celtic played Rangers off the park.

Well, that’s not exactly true, but yes, I will concede they were the better side in the 1st half, and Allan McGregor made a couple of fine stops to keep them at bay in the first 20 minutes or so.

However, that’s the crux of it though. Celtic didn’t have a shot on target after the 22nd minute of the game. I’ll grant you that Rangers didn’t have a shot on target so to speak at all, but hey, who won the game 1-0? Ah yes, I think you’ll find that was Rangers.

That the win puts Rangers 19 points clear of Celtic at the top of the SPFL Premiership seems to have alluded the media in Scotland though, which is yet another example of playing down what Rangers have achieved so far this season.

They are unbeaten in the league. Unbeaten in the Europa League having won their Group and have now beaten the narcissistic Celtic twice this season, both at Ibrox and previously at Celtic Park, whilst not conceding a goal in either match.

Celtic were better than they have been in recent meetings between the teams, I’ll give them that. That’s not to say they were good though; they were decent, not a lot more than that.

The rhetoric though is that Rangers were 2nd best. They weren’t. They won the game, and on the 2nd half performance alone, the simple fact is there’s common knowledge throughout Scottish football and beyond that Celtic don’t defend set-pieces properly.

That proved their undoing in Saturday’s game. Well, that (clearly illustrated in the 2nd half) and fact that Rangers are a fitter side than Celtic. This simple truth has been abundantly clear for a long time now.

Celtic yet again had a different shape to their team on Saturday, and no matter what they do, they seem incapable of getting under this Rangers team’s skin at all. Yes, they put them on the back foot. Yes, they had them under pressure in the 1st 20 minutes, but they offered very little after that. No matter how they, their fans or our compliant media try to spin it, that is the truth of it.

Nir Bitton being sent off
Rangers v Celtic – Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium Celtic’s Nir Bitton reacts after being sent off during the Scottish Premiership match at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow. Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder. PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xAndrewxMilliganx 57357767

The indignance of Neil Lennon after the match was delicious for Rangers fans. Nir Bitton was sent off for a rugby tackle on Alfredo Morelos. It was as clear a red card as you’re ever likely to see. Not according to Celtic’s manager though. He suggested Bitton’s centre back partner, who was 20 yards away at least, would’ve stopped a goalscoring opportunity.

How he was going to do that remains a mystery to everyone else with two eyes to be perfectly honest. Morelos is about to enter the penalty box while Ajer is (as I said) 20 yards away from Morelos. It’s as clear a red card offence as you will ever see.

It was a game changer. You could see the Rangers players instantly go for the jugular. Celtic down to 10 men have come to Ibrox and won despite such mishaps. Not Neil Lennon’s team though. Rangers took control, and after the sending off, it took them a mere 5 minutes to get themselves in front. From there, the result never looked in danger.

A wicked delivery to the front post where Joe Aribo made a quick dash, Edouard comes off the front post, and their inept goalkeeper has to take a step over to his left and boom, a deflection onto Calum McGregor’s shoulder slides past the outstretched arm of the Greek tragedy of a goalkeeper.

1 nil. The game pretty much over and the only concern I had was whether Rangers would add to their lead. Celtic had ran out of gas. They had very little left. Fitness is key in games like this, and when down to 10 men even more so.

Game finished. Rangers 19 points ahead in the league albeit their opponents have 3 games in hand. 3 games in hand that they need to desperately get played and quickly by the way.

Which begs the question. Why did the SPFL allow them to rearrange their next game versus Hibs from Saturday to the following Monday? That takes 2 midweek opportunities to catch up out of the equation. Both this midweek and next are gone due to that decision.

That is scandalous. All you have to do is look at their own fans reaction to this trip to see that narcissism is at play.

We’ve had the Scottish Government question the antics of the players in Dubai, where social distancing protocols appear to have been ignored. All you have to do is look at the SFA and SPFL guidelines to see that sitting by the pool with other hotel guests or sitting in the bar are prohibited for those in a football bubble.

Celtic had a statement out within minutes returning the serve sent over the net by John Swinney. Instantly declaring that the Scottish Government had granted permission to go to Dubai.

Aye, but not for some R&R though. It was supposed to be a training camp. Something you couldn’t do in Scotland. The photographs of their players and their manager downing a pint or 2 don’t make for good viewing. In fact, if I was a Celtic fan, I think I’d be livid, to be honest.

Here’s the issue and amazingly that club don’t appear to grasp the basics of this… People are being forced to stay at home. People are losing their jobs. Businesses are being destroyed on a daily basis. The country is at a standstill. The people of this country are struggling. Daily.

Yet, out they come with a statement deflecting from all of those truths. The government gave us permission so get it up the lot of you, was the crux of their response to a ‘diplomatic’ raise of the eyebrows from Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney.

That’s narcissistic. That is arrogant. That is being utterly incapable of reading the room. “How dare anyone question us and what we do?”

That’s the mindset those in positions of power appear to have at that football club.

It’s that lack of self awareness that’s been their downfall. It’s that insolence that’s made their own fans turn against them. It’s that hubris that’s seen demonstrations outside their own ground this season.

They appear to believe that referees can’t give decisions against them. They seem to think the government of a nation can’t question photos that appear to show their employees wilfully breaching football/covid protocols. It flies by them that teams can beat them fairly and squarely. Absolutely nothing is ever their fault, apparently.

A club like no other indeed. More than a decade of the Scottish media telling them they are their darlings has done this. They genuinely believe they can do no wrong and how dare they be questioned. By anybody. I mean, what a mindset. Particularly when you’ve been humiliated in Europe several times and can’t get remotely close to your main rivals.

Well, I’m a Rangers fan, and I’m loving it. They look out of touch with reality. They look out of step with the way their own support feels about them too, which is beautiful.

Steven Gerrard
Rangers v Celtic – Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium Rangers manager Steven Gerrard gestures towards his watch during the Scottish Premiership match at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow. Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder. PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xAndrewxMilliganx 57358133

Here we are, Rangers fans… 19 points clear at the top of the table. Into the last 32 of the Europa League after winning our group while they finished dead last in theirs. They have at least 5 or 6 players who are desperate to leave. Rumours that Lennon will be removed in the summer. Suggestions that Lawwell is for the off too. Add to that the fact that they are about to witness a downsizing of gargantuan proportions is mana from Heaven to anyone connected to Rangers.

Rangers are on the way up. Celtic are on the way down faster than a lead weight here. I wrote here a while ago that financially they peaked a long time ago and that Rangers have an earning potential that their fans still haven’t fully grasped.

That’s what happens when you believe the complete nonsense their fan media coke away with. They’re far too busy thinking and dreaming about Rangers to grasp any sense of reality when it comes to their own club’s downsizing and ultimate downfall.

Steven Gerrard has built a team that we are incredibly proud of. A team with its feet firmly placed on the ground. A team that is taking one game at a time. A team on the cusp of achieving great things. It’s within their grasp, but there remains so much work still to be done. I see no ego or peacocking from anyone at Rangers.

The Rangers board and their investors have gone about the rebuild of this institution quietly, effectively and without the aloofness of their city counterparts.

The plans Rangers have in place regarding the infrastructure of the football club, the new Edmiston House plans, the museum and everything else that goes with it will see Rangers in the strongest position they will have been in for generations. Rumour of a stadium capacity increase will only see the club flourish to even greater levels of financial prosperity.

You Celtic fans can keep banging on about debt to equity swaps though. Keep your eyes on Rangers and ignore what’s going on at your own club. It is after all what you do best. Obsess about the blue half of the city.

Rangers fans will concentrate on Rangers too. We’ve had the decade from Hell, and we simply refuse to take our eye off the ball now.

On and off the park Rangers are Ready. It’s up to the manager, his coaches and the players to seize the day and grasp their opportunity now. They are the best team in the country by a distance. It’s up to them to prove it now in the remaining 16 games.

A massive game lies ahead on Saturday against Aberdeen at Pittodrie. There are still 16 games to go and plenty of points still to play for. Nothing is won yet, and there’s a long, long way to go.

As I pointed out last month, it’s Rangers title to lose now, but I’d like to point out that last month when I wrote on this excellent site, Rangers were 11 points clear with 2 games in hand. That’s an 8 point swing in Rangers favour in a month.

Old Firm wins will do that, you know. It severely damages the other half.

So when all around you are losing their heads, stay calm and follow on. If Rangers can see this through then the damage done to their city rivals will be astronomical. They have a rebuild job on their hands already. Doing that rebuild from a position of weakness is a whole lot harder than when you’re lording it over all and sundry.

Those days are almost gone and gone forever. We pass the banter years baton over to you…

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Thoughts on Scottish football. Always honest and won't shy away from the truth.