Take a look at this sequence of letters which was posted by @Bet365 tonight.
The Clumpany will freely admit to enjoying the desperate art of clickbaiting. The Scottish sports media are absolute masters of producing next-to-nothing but adding a ‘controversial’ or (more often) a laugh-out-loud ludicrous ‘lure’ to get you to click on their wares.
The best ones are the Sevco clickbait pieces, as these invariably involve world class turd-polishing, and the inexplicably upbeat comments of a Rangers or Sevco ‘legend’, ‘icon’ or ‘hero’.
But today’s tasty clickbait morsel was Celtic-flavoured:
You can read the full article by taking the bait and clicking here.
Now, to be fair, at no point does the article’s author actually say that Celtic are in a slump. And it should also be noted that the article asked a sensible question:
“To be clear: any other team in world football would love to hit a “slump” where you’re still scoring goals and winning games. It is nevertheless clear that Celtic are struggling to rack up scorelines as impressive as they did at the start of the season. So what’s caused this?”
What’s more, the answer was a refreshing change from the ‘because Rangers* are coming and they must be rattled’ guff that passes for punditry in many media outlets.
The answer centred on the idea of ‘variance’:
“These are all things beyond your control that affect the outcome, and the same can be said about shooting in football matches. On some days, you’ll face a keeper in great form. For example, at the weekend Scott Bain made five good saves for Dundee to keep Celtic on their toes. Others, your team may have left their shooting boots at home: against Hamilton Accies, thirteen of Celtic’s fifteen shots missed the target.
To provide an opposite example, earlier in the season Celtic scored four goals from ten shots against Aberdeen. Indeed, in that game, just one of their five shots on target failed to find the net. Despite all this, it’s clear that Celtic are still the team to beat.”
“Celtic had a lot of good days at the start of the season, as well as a couple of excellent ones. To hit a few red lights after a run like that is totally normal.”
Now this is all fair enough (although I suspect that playing a lot of games and creeping tiredness is playing a much bigger part…).
But come on, ‘slump’?!
That word is simply ludicrous and casts an aspersion which simply isn’t true!
Personally speaking, from what I have read of author Dougie Wright’s defence of his piece, I am sure he doesn’t think Celtic are in a slump (and even if he did, he is entitled to his opinion, although I would laugh out loud at it). Here are some of his comments:
However, you have to wonder whether Mr Wright wasn’t very aware of what he was doing when he opted to use the word ‘slump’. Because casting a straw man called ‘Slump’ as the focus of the piece almost inevitably casts a huge shadow over it. The term is simply so ‘loaded’ and – frankly – so inappropriate in the context of Celtic’s season that it practically invites you to take issue with it (as well as click on it…).
The online response tonight was as predictable as it was amusing, as Celtic took a trip even deeper into Slumpville by narrowly beating Partick Thistle to move 14 points clear at the top of the league with a game in hand.
I honestly don’t know how the fans are coping with this following the humiliation of qualifying for the Champions League, and the disaster of winning the League Cup. And it must be absolute agony for the board to see the prize money, TV revenue, and ticket sales pouring into the coffers.
Now if you’ll excuse me I am away to deal with a worrying slump in the availability of Buckie at Clumpany Towers.
“Is the Celtic team bus actually a car? Is this a TRANSPORT SLUMP for Celtic?”
“Are Celtic not as rich as Barcelona? Is this a FINANCIAL SLUMP for Celtic?”
“Is Brendan Rodgers becoming a flawed manager? Is he facing an EXPERIENCE SLUMP having not tasted defeat in the domestic game?”
“Is Scott Brown struggling for form without competition from Joey Barton? Is this a MOTIVATIONAL SLUMP for the Celtic skipper?”
Desperate? You certainly will be if you tune in! 😉