Good Afternoon. [And please Vote ‘Clumpany’!]
We were led to believe that the ‘return’ of the ‘Old Firm’ (sic – and boy were we sick of hearing the liquidation lies) would pit two classy stallions against each other in a race for derby bragging rights and momentum in their title charge.
The papers, radio and TV were seemingly hell-bent on convincing us that Rangers – the actual Rangers – were back in the top flight of Scottish football and that our national game finally had some value and excitement again after an unfortunate four-year hiatus. As I pointed out earlier in the week, there seemed to be an assumption that just because ‘a’ Rangers are in the Premiership they are automatically going to be’title-rivals’ (copyright Evening Shark-Jump) with Celtic.
However, anyone with any sort of rational faculties was quite clear that Rangers weren’t ‘back’ at all. Because they had taken a final trip to the corporate knacker’s yard in 2012. And most sensible folk had a strong feeling that – all things being equal – Celtic had the players, manager and likely game plan to send Sevco packing.
Of course, upsets do happen, and if Celtic had an off day, combined with Sevco overcoming their recent misfiring nature, it was entirely possible that the Ibrox outfit might get something out of the game – as predicted by the Record’s Gary Ralston and the ESJ’s Chris Jack.
In the event, however, with the exception of their goal just before half-time, Sevco were absolutely horsed by the Champions. Sevco’s trusty steeds appeared to be of donkey derby standard, while Celtic’s looked more like thoroughbreds. Not Group One thoroughbreds just yet (although Dembele came close!), but decent prospects nonetheless.
As noted duck-spotter Tom English observed in a piece for the BBC, “it was an Old Firm match in name only, just as this was Rangers in name only”.
Correct in all senses, Tom. Including the ones I suspect you didn’t mean…
Today’s papers have been surprisingly straight about the beating taken by Sevco, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see some spin kicking in over the next few days. Perhaps nonsense such as “helpful wake-up call for Gers*”…
Then again, perhaps questions will be asked about Sevco’s transfer activity and the team selection made by The Warbmeister. Because a hammering from Celtic and the prospect of falling way behind in the league are two of the few Ibrox developments which the press pack won’t ordinarily overlook.
Let’s face it, a transfer policy which apparently results in big outlays for Geriatricos such as Barton, Kranjcar, Hill and Senderos at the cost of losing a pretty free-flowing, pacy and reasonably-effective style of play while creating a side-splittingly bad defence has to be queried. And it should be queried at both board level, (where the Chairman has previously spoken of ‘over investment’ and doing “whatever it takes”), and in the manager’s office – no matter how much of a genius we have been told to believe Warbo is.
Whether Warburton only signed Senderos because the Joleon Lescott signing fell through so dramatically is an interesting point to ponder. But not half as interesting as the question of why he was thrown straight into a game against the pacy and dynamic Scottish champions after having only played 60 minutes of football – against Linfield – since June! That really is ‘intriguing management’…
Also of comedic ‘concern’ is Warbo’s inability to get a performance out of Joey Barton, a man who said he does his talking on the pitch, but who seems to turn into a Trappist monk each time he steps on to Scottish turf. How many chances to impress should Barton get, and who should replace him in the first team if Warbo decides to drop him? I can’t imagine those being decisions which the Sevco manager will relish.
Whichever way you look at it, Sevco were a shambles yesterday, and you could point to any number of reasons for it. All of which aren’t easy to completely resolve short of writing some unlikely big cheques during the next transfer window. A window which is still a very long way away.
Right now, having seen Sevco drop points to Hamilton, Kilmarnock and Celtic, and often labour in their wins against Dundee and Motherwell, smart observers are now wondering whether this season is going be a long hard slog for them. Such a spectacle will be absolutely excruciating for their fans and media cheerleaders.
However, all may not be lost. The Warbmeister himself seems quite optimistic:
Perhaps that was because Major Gulf was on holiday, Warbo? Leaving General Humiliation to take his place instead. 😉
And in the unlikely event of Warbo’s optimism failing to deliver the goods, there is always the inheritance of Dave King’s children. Isn’t there, Dave?
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