Alan Pattullo: If it’s time to get down to business after the Celtic evisceration… The Rangers look very, very common


Rangers Allan McGregor and Calvin Bassey during the 3-0 loss to Celtic.

The Ibrox side should hope it’s not a sprint to the finish line because if Wednesday night is anything to go by, they’ll be left behind in a cloud of not just pyrotechnic smoke.

Celtic kicked the dust in the faces of their rivals while displaying a dynamism that could be poised to carry them to the Scottish title. They certainly have the momentum now.

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The first Old Firm midweek derby since 2011 had anything but away fans, which once again seemed cause for regret. That impasse is not likely to be resolved any time soon. Having seen on TV how their team seemed surprised by the intensity of their ‘welcome’ from the stands on Wednesday, Rangers fans will be keen to ensure Ibrox are as hostile as possible when Celtic are the visitors in the spring. . They just won’t be able to tap into the extra energy that seems to come from playing in the spotlight.

Rangers players enter the pitch at a raucous Celtic Park,

The scheduling, or at least the rescheduling, of what was originally intended to be a New Year’s event, starting at noon, played in Celtic’s favor in this Japanese-inspired remake of Fright Night. That said, Rangers are also capable of conceding three goals in the first half in the afternoon. Giovanni van Bronckhorst knows this better than anyone. He was sitting on the dais awaiting his introduction when Martin Boyle joined Ibrox at the épée in Hibs’ Premier Sports semi-final victory at Hampden Park in November.

This isn’t a side of the Rangers whose flaws have been suddenly exposed on a primetime television slot for all to see; they have been evident for weeks, even months. Take on Ibrox’s side with pace, like the Hibs were able to do when they were able to call out Boyle, and there’s plenty of chance to deal damage. Ange Postecoglou will just have to hope he doesn’t suffer the same fate as Jack Ross, who was fired just weeks after he dismantled the Rangers with such a tactically sound game plan. Somehow it seems unlikely.

While we shouldn’t forget the Kenny Dalglish posters he was quick to reveal he had on his childhood bedroom wall in Melbourne after he arrived at Parkhead, there’s something heartening about the fact that someone who grew up on the other side of the world can deliver a team that seems more rooted in the ‘Celtic Way’ than any in decades. Even the teams of Martin O’Neill and Brendan Rodgers couldn’t be described as bullies.

By emphasizing speed and identifying players like Reo Hatate who can rotate positions, the Greek-born Aussie is helping to exercise memories like sending in a clearly out-of-form Leigh Griffiths to try and save the day against County Ross. a year ago this month. The very idea that the former Scotland striker could have had a role to play with Postecoglou (he was a topic of debate in the summer) seems ridiculous now.

Ben Doak and Greg Taylor (right) of Celtic at full time.

Get fit or jump in. Angeball does not please simulators. There is no time for those unprepared to put on a pair of compression stockings and board a flight to Scotland, via Amsterdam, from Tokyo hours after playing a World Cup qualifier and then come on as a substitute for their club. the next day. day in one of the most exciting games of the season. It wasn’t like Daizen Maeda played only the last moments. They gave him almost half an hour.

The rangers were the ones apparently suffering from jet lag. Ball boys and girls weren’t the only ones to blame for holding onto the ball too much.

Maeda would have had trouble sleeping on the bench even if she wanted to. The noise and lights of the disco helped to liven up Celtic: at one point, the Rangers players were plunged into darkness when a green beam illuminated the pre-match gathering of home players in what turned out to be a theater highly effective.

Rangers will now look to make the atmosphere at their home game against Celtic on April 3 as partisan as possible. The manner of Celtic’s midweek win raised the possibility that by then it might already be too late. They could be four points up the next time the Rangers kick a ball. While anything can still happen – and you have to remember that Celtic went to great lengths to beat Dundee United a few days ago – you can’t expect Aaron Ramsey to do much.

A penny for Steven Gerrard’s thoughts as he watched the matchup unfold. He was not among many of his English football colleagues who took to social media to share how much they enjoyed the spectacle. He might have been alarmed, possibly a little embarrassed, and ultimately relieved. This is a team that had become unnerved under him. He could see the signs.

Rangers conceded two goals at home against Ross County in Gerrard’s last game. That was the afternoon the then-coach hailed a “world-class goal” from Ryan Kent, who put his team up 2-1 on a diving, wide shot. The Rangers winger proved less potent against Celtic on a night when his team really needed such heroism against their biggest rivals in a much more challenging environment.

Already in the wrong part of town, it was as if the Rangers had stumbled upon the wrong party on the wrong day. They were ambushed by a man in a mask and the companions of him instead of cake.

It was one of those nights where the game caught everyone’s attention. Barnsley v Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town v Derby County could not match the appeal and so observers south of the border were inclined to tune in.

They heard Ally McCoist make some unusually damning comments. He described both Amad Diallo and Fashion Sakala, the player who replaced the Manchester United winger on loan in the second half, as “lightweight”. Even Andy Walker, his co-expert, seemed a little taken aback. “Tell it like it is, Ally…”

If it’s time to cut to the chase, then we might as well say it: Rangers look very, very ordinary.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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