This weekend has been an absolute treat if you view Scottish football through the prism of ‘entertaining competition’ rather than as an ‘Ibrox domination-and-damn-the-consequences’ freak show.
The extent to which many in the Scottish MSM enjoyed this weekend remains to be seen given that
- Sevco went spectacularly ‘off script’ by squandering a lead against Falkirk; and
- their designated ‘clown of the month’ Ronny Deila managed (just) to secure victory via an awesome Tom Rogic goal and thereby extend Celtic’s lead at the top of the Premiership; as
- Derek McInnes’ Aberdeen lost despite taking the lead at Motherwell.
And let us not forget today’s highly entertaining Dundee derby, which is one of the games I always look forward to seeing. There is something almost insane about the way that fixture is played, and I think it merits a lot more exposure than it currently gets. Maybe the Dundee sides could get it by rebranding themselves as ‘The Old Firm’? Let’s face it they have as much right as Sevco does to be involved in that particular franchise.
I am sure that our media outlets will rise to the occasion and express their fulsome appreciation of the excitement generated by a game that is untrammelled by financial doping and side-letters.
There is no getting away from the fact that Celtic were awful (again) on Saturday, but they somehow found a bit of magic which enabled them to clinch a crucial three points.
The last few minutes of the game against Kilmarnock perfectly summarised the agonising joy of football. Despair was setting in as it seemed inevitable that abysmal Celtic were going to drop points and allow Aberdeen to move ahead in the table. More than a few swear words were echoing around the lofty chambers of Clumpany Towers during the second half, I can tell you. There was anger at the players and manager, and a dread of the recriminations which were about to follow.
And then BOOM!
THAT. GOAL. WAS. SCORED.
I haven’t yet got tired of seeing it, and I suspect that I never will. Even Shunsuke Nakamura nodded his head in approval as he watched it while kicking a ball through the holes in the SFA’s response to the Resolution 12 requisitioners, from a distance of several thousand miles away…
Rogic’s goal instantly changed my mood from ‘dark’ to ecstatic. Three points were in the bag, pressure was put on Aberdeen and I could see a possibility of going to sleep without nightmares for a few days!
That buzz from a dramatic winner is hard to beat. Especially when it seemed so unlikely. Of course, it doesn’t put a stop to concerns about Celtic’s inability to play as a dynamic team, and about the motivation of some of their players. But boy was it great to be able to join Ronny in celebrating a win secured under intense pressure.
As we all know, the Motherwell squad had problems with illness this week. Apparently the illness wasn’t ‘Rangersitis’ which was first identified by Nobel Prize winner Professor Charles Green in 2012, as Motherwell had already developed an immunity to it in last season’s playoff final. There had been (highly speculative) talk last week that their game against Aberdeen might be called off, but this came to nothing. It would be fair to say that hopes of a Motherwell victory weren’t high, and most observers fancied Aberdeen to keep up the pressure in the title race.
But that didn’t happen, and to be fair to Derek McInnes he was pretty frank about his side’s shortcomings yesterday afternoon.
So against the odds, Celtic ended yesterday four points clear of Aberdeen with a game in hand. No, having seen the first 89 minutes of Celtic’s game I can’t believe it either.
And as for the Mighty Sevco Juggernaut, who could have predicted that they would have thrown away a 2 goal lead and lose to Falkirk (even though they have been playing very well in recent times). It was as if Ally McCoist had returned to Sevco and reintroduced some of his famous ‘Petrofac Spirit’ to the side.
Incidentally, I was surprised not to hear Neil Lennon on the radio tipping the Gnomemeister for a return to one of his former clubs. It would have been a nice gesture given Ally recently joined the stampede of support for Lennon’s return to Celtic Park in place of the ‘Beleaguered Deila’. Sadly however, it seems that Lennon has sufficient dignity to avoid making an arse of himself…
Warbo was (predictably) anguished about the result, and apparently read the Riot Act to his players! I must admit I find the idea of the former City Trader reading out a defunct piece of legislation to players pretending to be part of a defunct club rather pleasing.
Meanwhile, two days on from the Falkirk Sevpocalypse, I hear that Gordon Strachan is still pouring himself whisky and breathing a sigh of relief that he so systematically snubbed Sevco players when selecting the Scotland squad.
Well played Gordon!
All in all it was a wonderful weekend’s footballing entertainment, with plenty of drama, excitement and talking points. A famous philosopher once said: “Football – it’s a funny old game”.
He was correct. And thank Heaven for that! I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Although I suppose it could be improved by having a permanently-outraged recreation of a financially-doped, rule-breaking entity in its top flight. I read the papers and listen to the radio every day, and they tell me that this is the case. So it must be true…
And in any case, what could possibly go wrong?