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A case of what might have been for Rangers

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Jim Spence | 17:36 UK time, Sunday, 25 March 2012

Celtic's Scottish Premier League title win will be well deserved when it comes, but had they shown the spirit earlier in the match at Ibrox that their nine men provided with their late rally, they might have been breaking out the champagne already.

Yesterday, though, Rangers must have wondered what might have been, had they not lost Nikica Jelavic and had they not suffered some significant suspensions and injuries in recent times.

Mostly, though, they must wonder what might have happened had they shown some real mettle and application and not allowed themselves to squander a title-winning lead to Celtic.

Suggestions that Rangers' impoverished state will have helped propel the league flag to the east end of Glasgow can only come from apologists for the Ibrox side.

Andrew Little (centre) is congratulated by his Rangers team-mates after scoring his team's second goal at Ibrox. Photo: SNS

Andrew Little (centre) is congratulated by his Rangers team-mates after scoring his team's second goal at Ibrox. Photo: SNS

Neil Lennon's side were reigning in Rangers' handsome lead at the top before financial concerns started to bite at Ibrox.

The Rangers side that started at Ibrox was vastly experienced and contained a plethora of internationals.

They were good enough to win their fourth title in a row and, as they threatened to demolish a nine-man Celtic side, how they must rue their recent unfathomable collapse.

Rangers threw away a huge points advantage, and the title, to the better side over the piece and have no-one to blame but themselves.

After putting three goals past a Celtic side which had conceded only one goal in their last eight SPL games, they must be kicking themselves for their own shortcomings.

Recent form of three defeats in four SPL games appeared to prove that this Rangers side was short of the character normally associated with those in light blue.

Until Sunday, that is, when in a show of defiance they dispatched a Celtic side who never really got out of first gear until the dying stages of the game.

Generally Celtic have been more creative and forceful than Rangers and have provided craft and guile far in excess of their rivals. That was in short supply at the Ibrox showdown.

Traditionally Celtic are expected to be cavalier in attack, playing with flair and style, yet defensively they could have been welded in the Clyde shipyards, so tight have they been at the back.

Just 17 goals conceded in the league until the Ibrox game seemed testament to their defensive capabilities.

Up front they have been superior to all others and, having netted 62 goals prior to the match, more than two per game, they have been ahead of the pack in terms of threat carried.

The Cup final against Kilmarnock saw Celtic's first defeat in 27 matches: that is phenomenal form.

There has been a killer instinct about Neil Lennon's side.

In their recent 4-0 win at Dundee United they were outplayed in the first half and defeat looked a distinct possibility.

Then Robbie Neilson was red-carded and Celtic ruthlessly grabbed the advantage and took the game by the throat to capitalise.

On Sunday, something similar happened to them.

Cha Du-Ri's red card gave Rangers the advantage and at first they were merciless in using it.

The second red, for a daft tackle by Victor Wanyama in front of the referee's nose, showed a lack of discipline and left Celtic with an impossible task.

The winning mentality hammered into the side by Lennon over the last couple of seasons was bettered by a side which showed more organisation, passion and desire on the day.

Celtic, though, have the title in the bag and it is won over a season, not just one day.

With the Scottish Cup offering the prospect of a double, the Parkhead side can still enjoy a great season, but Sunday's result will have given hope to the sides remaining in the Cup that Hampden success is not impossible - as Kilmarnock proved last weekend.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Jim - on a factual point Celtic had overhauled Rangers before their financial implosion.

    What might have been the case for Scottish football if Rangers are found to have been financially doping their squad this past decade?

    Rangers deserved to win the game today, they looked more up for it and that I think that says just as much about the lack of real backbone at Celtic. The midfield collectively were not 'fit' for yet another big game and defensively both Cha and Mathews were awful.

    I don't normally support poor performances from Celtic on the back of refereeing decisions but there was no clear goalscoring opportunity for Wallace to merit a straight red. That said Wanyma's indiscipline cost Celtic any way back into this match.

  • Comment number 2.

    A well deserved win for Rangers. Without their financial woes they would probably have won another league title this season. Once they recover from this financial difficulty it will be business as usual in Scotland.

  • Comment number 3.

    Jim:

    My interest in football is limited, but I had to read this a couple of times to make sense of it. I finally worked out that by 'reigning in', you meant 'reining in'. I don't normally correct grammar like this but 'Neil Lennon's side were reigning' would actually make some sense is other contexts. Secondly, you don't mean 'reining in' anyway - you mean 'reeling in' - as it pulling it towards them.

    Sorry, but this is the BBC and as you say, they 'pay you to talk football', so I think clear unambiguous prose is the least we should be able to expect.

    (I won't even go as far as Neil Lennon only having one side so actually it "WAS reeling in...")

    No offence intended.

  • Comment number 4.

    "is other contexts" = "in other contexts". I hate predictive text.

  • Comment number 5.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 6.

    Jim,
    You cannot underestimate the impact of issues that unsettle minds(in this case leaving Rangers) can have on human performance. You may or may not have been in a similair situation, I have, my concentration re matters on hand was blown away.
    Celtic win the title because they have been the most consistent. Well done to them.
    The Rangers players deserve plaudits for their dedication in sticking with it, "what might of been" is way off the mark. The "all is normal when you cross the white line" assumption is claptrap.
    KGB

  • Comment number 7.

    Once they recover from this financial difficulty it will be business as usual in Scotland.
    ----------------

    Is that the same 'business' that failed?

  • Comment number 8.

    "The winning mentality hammered into the side by Lennon over the last couple of seasons"... is that games or trophies Jim....... must be games but over two seasons and they pay you for this. Wow.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    "only apologists for Rangers" Its not apologising for Rangers to say that they imploded for financial reasons.
    As with most years this millenium, the title looked likely to go to the wire until the Rangers owner stole the money from the sale of their best player.Then administration.
    NONE of that is Celtics fault but to say they are well deserving winners....after the next OF game they could be 5 points (*15) ahead, with 5 games to go;Rangers have twice won the league in 6 years with this difference, minus administration
    Celtics 27 match run? Courtesy of Mr Wullie Collum not seeing legitimate goals for Hearts and Rangers. That points swop puts the league back up for grabs. Your article is green-friendly.

  • Comment number 11.

    The result today changes nothing, Celtic will still win the league and are the only team who can do the double, Rangers are still in administration no matter how their sympathisers try to convince us that it will soon be business as usual.
    They still have massive debts to the Uk taxpayer and Ticketus despite the administrators apparently getting confused as to their role in this matter, they are not meant to be cheerleaders for Rangers.

    It would appear from his reaction today that McCoist places more emphasis on beating Celtic than anything else. As a Celtic fan I have no problem with losing to Rangers as long as we win the league, bigger horizons and all that.

    Some strange decisions today which confirm that the one thing missing from referees is consistency.
    Murray was quick to award a penalty in the League cup semi-final for wrestling in the box, why not today?
    Wanyama didn't actually touch Whittaker but the tackle was silly, Chas red was debatable.
    I'm sure I'll be accused of bias but I thought Murray had a poor game and now having heard Lennons interview on Radio Scotland I'm even more certain of that.
    It's normal for managers who upset refs to be sent to the stand immediately but it took Murray all of the half time break to inform him that his remarks in the tunnel at the end of the first half had earned Lennon a seat other than in the dug out.
    The TV pictures also show that the second goal was offside, with the linesman looking straight along the line ?
    Because we've won the league, by virtue of having overhauled Rangers lead before they went into administration, I really can't be bothered to get upset by today, we've got bigger fish to fry.

  • Comment number 12.

    Rangers collapse was more down to a series of bad luck rather than one single event, the loss of top players, Naismith, Lafferty, Whitaker through injury, Jelavics departure would have had an impact, jim remarks on there bieng international players on the field but Gers havent had a recognised striker since Jelavic left, not sure why Healy has been dropped but he wasn't the same class as Lafferty, Naismith or Jelavic anyway, this result shows that Celtic don't have the bottle for a big chalenge after last weeks cup defeat to Kilmarnock, yes the have been the better team this season but they are entitled to be with the players available. Rangers proved today that they will be a major force for many years to come, i applaud the supporters on both sides for a great atmosphere, but yet again Lenoon let himself and Celtic down with his behaviour, whereas Ally McCoist acted with dignaty and respect, shaking the celtic players hands and congratulating them on their imminent title victory was in sharp contrast to Lennons Whinging...

  • Comment number 13.

    Tkye
    Rsearch at Carmbdige Unviesrity sohws taht hmuans raed and udnesrtnad by reocngisning the wohle wrod and cnoetxt. If the frist and lsat ltetres of the wrod are crorcet tehn we can udnrestand waht we are raeidng.

    I tihnk Jim is syanig taht Cletic dservre the imemnnet laegue win.

    He sohuld aslo be syanig taht Rnagres dsereve all tehy get.

    The hsitroy bokos may yet be rcedordnig tdoay as a 3-0 win for the Clets.

  • Comment number 14.

    morbhoy, nobody touched samaras but it still didnt stop him doing an anthony stokes to get the penalty. Same goes for the late goal celtic scored, no one touched commons for the free kick he fell to the ground as he knew the rangers player was behind him. The fact youv also tried to defend neil lennon says it all for me. It must be coincidence that hes been sent to the stand during every match celtic lose :). must be the refs fault.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    Oh and 54 is the nutaral nmuber flolownig 53 percdeing 55

    I'm not srue taht it wkors for nmuebrs but I tihnk you may hvae to rneame yuor minoker soon and sart cuotning at 40 smohteing :)

  • Comment number 17.

    For Rangers second goal, Lee Wallace was pulled back when he was attacking with a goal scoring oportunity. Although I want to see footage on televison again, even if Charlie Mulgrew was moving across to challenge it can't be said for certain that he would have been able to tackle Wallace or block a shot. The referee therefore made the correct decision and sent the defender off. If you are talking about bad refereeing decisions, what would you say about the kick that Manyama had at a Rangers player in the first half that went totally unpunished? Why don't the Celtic manager and their supporters just accept that the better team won on the day. I also await with interest to see what action is taken in relation to the inference in Neil Lennon's interview that they had no chance of winning today? Is he saying that that the match was fixed and that the officials had been told to ensure Rangers won.

  • Comment number 18.

    7863 you are talking rubbish, Rangers will not go in to Liquidation, there are strong bids for the club and it will exit administration by the end of the season certainly before the start of next season, you talk about sectarianism of Rangers fans but why is it Sectarian to fly a union flag in a British country? there are some bad apples in both baskets and sectarian abuse nust be condemned, Rangers team, management and true supporters have gone to great lengths to condemn sectarian abuse, but Celtic were silent on their supporters flying burn the poppy banners, and shouting abuse at the British army and singing rebel songs during one minutes silence in rememberence day games.

  • Comment number 19.

    "you are talking rubbish, Rangers will not go in to Liquidation"

    That's what all their fans said about administration. It's extremely hard for any detached observer to see how the club could possibly avoid that fate, and supporters probably ought to man up and start dealing with the reality, however belatedly.

    The fact is that Rangers are a long way from even having the potential to be a profitable business, and most if not all of the bids so far put forward are heavily conditional. It's a Catch 22 - to be profitable you need good players and success, but Rangers fans have a long history of not turning up if the club isn't winning trophies. So without the fans you have no money, without the money you have no good players, without good players you have no success, with no success you have no fans, and there's the circle.

  • Comment number 20.

    sammyb1, your spot on. There are elements in both supports that leave a sour taste in the mouth. Im an ayr united fan but enjoy watching the spl in the hope we might get there one day :). Ive been to both ibrox and parkhead though with friends and some of the stuff i have heard chanted at both grounds has sickened me. Also watching the match today if i hadnt of seen both sets of players emerge from tunnel and only seen both sets of fans then id have thought it was rangers vs republic of ireland, not rangers vs celtic!.

  • Comment number 21.

    21:20 25th Mar 2012, 78963

    Couldnt agree more with your comments. I would love to think with Newco Gers playing in the 3rd division next season Scottish societies ills of a sectarian nature will disappear but unfortunately I suspect they will escalate even more. This cancer will not be cut from our landscape so easily. Sad but true.

  • Comment number 22.

    spl football

    Unfortunately, Neil Lennon could not be sent to the stand today because police officers advised against it as they could not guarantee his safety. Contrast that with Mr. Smith who regularly sat in the Celtic Park stand before taking his place in the dugout. He felt safe to sit there but Neil Lennon could not safely sit amongst the middle-class men who inhabit the main Ibrox stand. Neil Lennon has been assaulted twice in the streets of Glasgow and once at Tynecastle Park. He has had viable explosive devices sent through the post to him by Ibrox season ticket holders. No other manager has been attacked in that time.

    And when Neil approached Ally McCoist after the "shame game" to shake his hand, as you advise him to do, he was met with whispered venom and the government called a police summit.

    Neil Lennon has been demonised enough and is in real danger of losing his life for doing his job. It is time that people examined their own motives for their hatred instead of attributing motives and actions on events that you and I were not privy to.

    Unless , of course, you are one of the officials at today's match or Neil Lennon.

  • Comment number 23.

    Rev-Campbell "It's extremely hard for any detached observer to see how the club could possibly avoid that fate" They will avoid that fate because the conditions attatched to some of the bids can be overcome, Creditors will accept a deal becuse liquidation will leave most creditors with much less that a CVA would and some with nothing at all, full houses for each of Gers last 4 home games and indeed 40,000 plus at all home games previously do prove that Rangers fans will continue to support the team, real football supporters will turn up no matter what, A good example is Leeds United who still attract over 30,000 at Elland road and have done since their troubles started over 15 years ago...

  • Comment number 24.

    54 is the natural....:so after the next OF the gap would be 5(15*) points?thats a fair old assumption given rangers have won 3 times in 27 games(12 years)at celtic park,all of that period with better sides than they have now...mind you most of that time the had a (alleged)tax advantage over the rest of scottish football who played by the rules...the win at all cost mentality has come back to bite them and they deserve the book thrown at them

  • Comment number 25.

    SFTB - I dont hate neil lennon at all, i just dislike him as do most people in football whether you like it or not. And i do not condone any attacks on neil lennon on the field or off it, in fact i think its a disgrace that people will take things to that length over a football match. However the way lennon conducts himself at times is shameful, especially when celtic are defeated. I dont know how celtic fans can sit and defend him for his behaviour.

  • Comment number 26.

    sammyb1:leeds dont attract over 30k each game(21k midweek v forest and similar most of the season)and it is also quite correct to question the potential loyalty of rangers support should it all go pear shaped...when they were last in the wilderness in the early 80's crowds sank as low as 5k for some games and v partick one game only 2k attended...hardly 'loyal'...the main creditor will most probably be HMRC and i doubt they will do 'pennies in the pound' they would rather take nothing and set an example to big business,rangers are a high profile scalp to them so if they dont accept it will be liquidation and not the CVA exit from administration

  • Comment number 27.

    * is for tainted. I thought the blog would have allowed you an opportunity to slam the behaviour of Neil Lennon, who once again blamed everyone but himself for the defeat. But no, not Neil. "It is a conspiracy!!!" And with statements such as these, the deluded go into overdrive (instead of questioning why, time and again, his team bottle it at the big occasions). To say the off field situation did not affect Rangers is also drivel. Look at the size and quality of the squad. The effect of the injuries the team faced could not be absorbed within such a small / inexperienced squad. Not an excuse, just a fact. I do wonder if Celtic will, with regards to Neil Lennon, ever be defeated fairly? And for those who act like blowing the chance to win the league in your enemy's backyard was irrelevant.......deluded.

  • Comment number 28.

    I thought George Osborne promised all out attack on tax dodgers in the Budget, doesn't augur well for Rangers obtaining an easy route out of administration does it?

    It would appear that the irony of the club selling Union Jacks for fans to wave and playing patriotic songs doesn't and didn't apply when it comes to meeting financial obligations to the taxpayer.

    As for those who rush to condemn Lennon, do they actually listen to what he says or watch his interviews or are they simply led by the nose, blue of course?

  • Comment number 29.

    #25

    How do you know who in football likes and doesn't like Neil Lennon ?
    The answer is you don't, all you've done is jump on to a bandwaggon that happens to suit your agenda.

    The game today had no bearing on any of the really important matters in Scottish football, it didn't stop Celtic from becoming the league champions, merely delayed it possibly to the desired setting of Celtic Park, nor did it take Rangers out of administration or resolve their financial problems.
    Celtic, as has been pointed out, will win the league and have a home fixture with Rangers after the split with the opportunity to even the score at 2-2 for the season.
    No need for anyone to get over excited over a day when both sets of fans enjoyed crowing.

  • Comment number 30.

    Post No 18 - sammyb1
    Sorry to rain on your parade, but perhaps you would like to read this article -
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2101788/Rangers-administration-Insolvency-expert-sees-outcome-liquidation.html
    One comment by the accountant Donald McGruther, Director of Insolvency at Mazars (who oversaw the Livingston administration) that tends to stick in the mind - I can't quote directly because of copyright - to the effect that that if the owner of the football club won't sell his shares then the club is finished.
    Some people (not all of them Celtic supporters) could see parallels between Massone at Livingston and Whyte at Rangers.

  • Comment number 31.

    morbhoy

    I have heard Neil Lennon speaking many many times. His attitude leaves a lot to be desired. There always seems to be some excuse, calling Wanyama's sending off "debatable." There is no debate about it - he went in 2 footed therefore it is a sending off.

    Cha's sending off is one of those questionable ones. I had a discussion with a Celtic fan at work just the other day saying how I hate players that dive at the slightest touch. I said it was wrong, and we agreed that the rules should be changed to mean contact has to be enough to bring a player down. The point here is that we were talking about Anthony Stokes getting booked for diving in the Cup final last week and how Lennon was critical. But he can't have it both ways - if his player goes down under slight (was there even any...?) contact he expects a penalty. If the situation is reversed with his side defending he expects the decision to go the way of the defender. He wants it both ways - as long as it's for his team.

    He comes across as petulant and childish and has done throughtout his Celtic career as a player and manager. I don't think anyone deserves to be assaulted or sent bombs, far from it. I do think however that he should learn to conduct himself with a little bit of dignity and respect towards the media, opposition and officials and accept that sometimes the reason his team lose is because they weren't good enough, and that decisions sometimes go against them because of their own mistakes or indiscipline. If he has a problem with the protection for referees (and I agree with him on that - they should be accountable and communicative) Celtic should discuss it with the other SPL clubs, the SFA and the referees to reach a solution.

  • Comment number 32.

    spl football mentioned "rangers v republic of ireland" with the amount of union flags /union jack flags flying wouldnt that be UK v ROI?? Celtic has a close relationship with Ireland and they have similar colours, so not sure what your point was by saying that.

    Anyway, there will always be discussions of what might have been, but I still believe Celtic would still be the 8 points clear, their run of winning games was well deserved. Also Rangers got themselves into Administration and they will get through it etc, but we could also easily be asking what might have been if Rangers were a bit more frugal over the years like everyone else in the SPL, would they have won so many trophies?

    Also thanks John Budis or should I say Jhon Bidus, your comments are class

  • Comment number 33.

    As an outsider looking in, I don't understand the argument that Rangers lost the title because they went into adminitration, the argument I hear from every Rangers supporter whining about how lucky Celtic are and that they only win by default. If anything the threat of losing staff and players should have given Rangers more drive and determination to prove they should be a part of the team and more importantly to show potential buyers of the club that it is a team that wins, not a team that capitulates under any sort of troubles.

    As for the match today, I didn't agree with the first sending off but Rangers deserved to win. Any player who is stupid enough to make a two footed lunge tackle infront of the referee deserves to lose. Definitely not the worse tackle i've seen but still. Either way, Scottish football is such poor quality that it doesn't matter. I hope Rangers can pull through for the sake of the SPL. It would be sad if the number of half decent teams in the league was halved overnight. I do wonder what would happen if the mascot of the protestant half of Glasgow disappeared though, would Catholics take control of the city and start recruiting Protestants to their side, murdering the ones who don't join. I'm not sure. But judging by how the fans act it must be a matter of life and death. I cant think of any other logical explanation to hate the other side with such malice.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    today's game was pretty meaningless in the bigger picture. I'd have loved to have won, but didn't expect to.
    Wallace through himself down for Cha's sending off - if that was a red card offence then I worry about the future of the game. If refs are consistent in sending players off for this kind of thing / tackle, then every game will be abandoned because contact is a part of the game.
    Wanyama's tackle was wreckless and possibly a red card, however, have a look at it again and you'll see that Whittaker has both feet off the ground and his right foot is going way over the ball - had Wanyama not been on the floor, Whittaker would have caused him serious injury.
    so Celtic had to play for 20 minutes with 10 men and then 40 minutes with 9 men - and the second goal was offside. Taking all that into account, I'm pleased that we only got beaten by the odd goal in 5 and I'm amazed at the reaction of the rangers players and fans at the end of the game - why were they celebrating?
    as for mccoist being such a diplomat - does anyone really believe he would have done the same if Celtic had won today?
    Neil Lennon has given his side of the story - I haven't heard (and doubt anyone else has) the refs side of the story, so how come anyone can judge and decide Lennon is guilty? The only facts that we have are the facts that Neil Lennon has provided in which he has said he is innocent. how can anyone claim otherwise if they haven't been given contradictory evidence?
    as for HMRC - they don't care about rangers. They wanted a high profile case in order to have a go at all the other companies (many english teams included) who were using the EBT's to avoid paying tax. If they accept a CVA then this will send out a message to all the other companies that even if you're found guilty of tax evasion, you just have to offer a pittance and HMRC will just go away. Do rangers fans really believe this? You've been deluded for too long, surely now is the time to wise up?
    rangers imploded before the financial problems surfaced (Celtic fans have been telling you about this for years, but you didn't want to know) - they bottled it, not Celtic.
    at the beginning of the season I wanted to Celtic win the SPL, maybe pick up a cup and have a wee run in europe - as far as I can see, it's mission accomplished.

  • Comment number 36.

    "threw" obviously, not through

  • Comment number 37.

    Today, Rangers wanted the game more and Celtic didn't deliver the form which has made them 'champions elect'. However, the performance of the officials was so biased, it left my brother-in-law, a Leeds fan, questioning their neutrality. Even Ally McCoist stated on Sky that the second red card was debatable and he would have been disappointed if it had happened to them.

  • Comment number 38.

    'His trouble with the summit came after the "shame game" which Celtic won and Neil was the only one punished by the SFA' (34)

    Lennon could have appealed to the SFA (as McCoist did) but Lennon chose to go down the legalistic route of challenging the SFA's rule book. So be it but there's no sense in anyone whinging about the punishment when he accepted it so he could get it effectively reduced with the help of his lawyer.

    A deserved win for the Gers today and a good performance. The referee had a good performance too.

  • Comment number 39.

    SFTB, get off your high horse for a minute and return to earth. Your arguments to the points you raise are hardly balanced in any way and dont add to thoughful discussion. Post 31 from Zoom15000 just about nails the point about Neil Lennon. He is petulant and childish in his antics as a manager and representative of Celtic. If the fans are happy with this then great, good for you. But at least acknowledge that he acts in the way he does instead of claiming that "he gets right up the noses of bigots who cannot understand and work out their own false reasoning". Thats garbage. As a player, Lennon was well known for getting sent off late in crunch old Firm games where celtic were beaten. he did this as a loyalty to the manager so that his sending off would be the focus and not the teams display that led to the loss of an important game. Its a classic smoke and mirrors approach to take the heat off his team for failing miserably to win the title at the home of their biggest rivals and he again did this both last week and today as Celtic were soundly beaten. The need to make mention of short skirts and rapists was frankly, unnecessary and baffling in the context of a discussion.

  • Comment number 40.

    Nearly every time Celtic lose it is the referees fault according to the Celtic Manager . Will someone please tell him to grow up and remember who he represents . The reality is that Celtic were well beaten today by a better team who for the first time in many weeks could field most of their first team squad.
    Celtic have spent a great deal of money on mediocre players that is their problem

  • Comment number 41.

    strangy

    Ah! that high horse where contradictory facts are presented to people who prefer their prejudices to remain untainted by logic.

    Number for me, if you will, the number of games where Neil got sent off in crunch games involving something you call the "Old Firm". Since it's "well known", it should not take you long to count the numerous times it happened.

    But at least acknowledge that he acts in the way he does instead of claiming that "he gets right up the noses of bigots who cannot understand and work out their own false reasoning"

    If you can do reading for meaning, you may have spotted the section where I "admit" that Neil is a sore loser and blames referees etc;. I listed him alongside the managers who do likewise without receiving the criticism and demonization that Neil receives. I can well understand that some bigots do not like their prejudices challenged and will invent scenarios, such as his sending off record, to justify a perception that facts won't back up.

    Some in this country have a problem with unrepentant Irishmen and sing about repatriating them. Hopefully, Neil will be around for a long time to annoy such people, provided he can be allowed to practice his management job without being told he is too provocative to be kept safe.

    Of course, my rapist/short skirt analogy was referring to the same distorted logic rather than crimes of equal seriousness. Football criticism should not be equated with the serious crime of rape but, in Neil Lennon's case, the violence associated with that criticism is such that it could lead to his death. That is bizarre. In most civilised countries, Neil's treatment would be the subject of editorials decrying his treatment. In Scotland, we get the "he brings it on himself" defence, instead.

    He is just a successful manager of Celtic. That should not be enough reason to see him wished harm.

  • Comment number 42.

    One comment - not from a football fan perspective but from a gambling perspective.
    I've been doing online gambling for seven years now and I consistently win money. Normally with an Old Firm Match you have a scenario like this - you have two roughly equally matched teams. You look at reality - the Betfair prices. This is the most liquid market, yeah.
    The home team is normally priced at around decimal odds of 2.2 - 2.3 (say 45% probability of a win). Away team 4 or higher (say 25% probability win). Draw 3.6 (30% probability win). These are constant averages. I can remember several occasions when the home team went below 2, but in the last seven years I can never remember a set up like this - Celtic - the away team - traded as low as 1.77 - that is a 55% probability of a win. And I got some of these odds. You could have got as high as 4.3 on Rangers winning (and I did) - that is the home team priced at only 25% or less probability of winning - quite extraordinary. Fortunately I took account of the basic principle - markets are very good at putting a price on what people are thinking right now - but very poor on predicting what is going to happen. I'm a Celtic supporter, but made slightly more from Rangers winning, covered my ass on every scenario. Want my prediction - come the game at Celtic Park - Rangers the away team will be trading at 7 possibly 10. The market knows a turkey when it sees it.
    You ever watch Carlito's Way - there is this great comment - the street is watching.

  • Comment number 43.

    #41: In fact there have been numerous editorials decrying Lennon's treatment.

  • Comment number 44.

    Jim, why are you so concerned about this match. The real story is the 10, as an Arab you are more interested in that, yet you don't blog about it. You pander still to the SKY - BBC - OF mantra, these games are more important. Celtic will win the title, Rangers will be second, Motherwell will take their place in Euro qualifiers. Everyone knows that, what we want to know is are the 10 going for it.

  • Comment number 45.

    #43
    Only after the postal explosive threats. It took a long build up of press demonisation of Neil to produce the climate in which the assailants felt justified. The narrative up to then had been "he brings it on himself"

    All of Neil's critics have to ask themselves why does Neil's particular brand of managerial complaint against refs produce a reaction that is not produced by similar or worse behaviour by other managers? Why can Walter Smith sit in the director's box at Celtic Park but Neil cannot do so at Ibrox, nor safely occupy a dugout position at Tynecastle?

    Keep digging and I'm sure, if you're honest, you'll find your motive.

  • Comment number 46.

    Last was posted as Rangers fan, not just enjoying today but Lawell squirming. " We don't need Rangers '" , ha ha ha. We die - you die, Scottish football as no rank. the 10 can make a move, even meet without you Celts. So upsetting, didn't use to happen. No Rangers, no OF = no point in Celtic = no interest, except EIRE.

  • Comment number 47.

    Why can Walter Smith sit in the director's box at Celtic Park but Neil cannot do so at Ibrox,

    Simple really, Walter usually did anywhere, Neil prefers to be on touchline

  • Comment number 48.

    Nearly every time Celtic lose it is the referees fault according to the Celtic Manager . Will someone please tell him to grow up and remember who he represents . The reality is that Celtic were well beaten today by a better team who for the first time in many weeks could field most of their first team squad.
    Celtic have spent a great deal of money on mediocre players that is their problem
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    too much has been made of Kilmarnock beating Celtic last week, it was a final & sometimes the underdog beat the odds on favourite, deal with it but to suggest that the squad at Celtic is full of under achievers is laughable.
    Yesterday Celtic lost their 1st SPL game since early October so almost 6 months have gone by since that run began. In the meantime Rangers have blown a huge lead & have used the administrators as an excuse even though the squad was the same in August as it was in December, (with the notable exception of Naismith but Celtic lost key players in that time too)
    Rangers won today because they had enough reasons to do so, they have been absolutely rubbish at home since the club went into admin. they perhaps have not been concentrating on their job at hand & lost too many games at home. They had to win today, reason being that if they lost then Ally McCoist would've gone down in history as the 1st Gers manager to lose 4 IAR & to avoid Celtic winning the SPL in front of their beleaguered supporters who have tried to rally round the club in it's time of need
    today was a brief ray of sunshine for the Gers in a desperately dark season for them & if they managed to get up for it today against a deflated Celtic then what stopped them doing it against Hearts, Kilmarnock & Dundee United (twice?) so I don't buy the smoke and mirrors of admin as an excuse unless Duff & Phelps had immediately culled half of the playing squad in the same fashion that Dundee, Livingston, Airdrie & Motherwell had to do?
    the SPL title will be won by Celtic & to say it was 'tainted' is as sour graped as Lennon today blaming the refs, he has an agenda & is sticking to it but he reminds me of Souness when he arrived in Scotland all those years ago & tried to take on the establishment.

  • Comment number 49.

    What gets me is people actually thinking Scottish football is any good....Rangers won at a canter yesterday to anyone watching with an open minded view of the game. Neil Lennon is a disgrace to football from spitting in the dug out to being sent from the pitch many times in his short and pathetic managerial career. No disrespect but Neil Lennon and Ally Mcoist would not get a job in the premier league...not even at Wolves!
    Average players who have earned salaries that have destroyed Rangers and will eventually do the same to Celtic....and which destroy the game in Scotland....
    The EPL is boring, same teams every week winning with the occassional slip up....Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea and now Etihad Utd.....boring boring stuff.....and the SPL is miles behind this boredom......it's not competition, but repetition!
    When we as a Nation stop these imports from strangling the game....maybe then we have a chance.....Maybe when Scotland gets the independence they are dreaming of, maybe then they will be a world force in football with Alex Salmond doing the job of Ally Mcleod and just building their hopes up instead of getting back to basics.....AYE RIGHT!!!
    The Champions league for Celtic will be the same next year as it was for Rangers this year... a non event....STOP DREAMING....vote with your feet and walk away until root and branch change happens in football......but no, your bigotry will keep you going for another year.....Boring Boring stuff....
    Supporters do not matter anymore....and when you realise, it will be too late.

  • Comment number 50.

    I'm totally mystified by this blog. How can anyone talk about 'squandering leads' when Rangers have been docked points? Done rightfully, of course, but in a sporting sense, they haven't 'squandered' anything.

  • Comment number 51.

    Some perspective is required after yesterday's result. Rangers have nothing left to play for this season other than pride so they were bound to be fired up for the game even more than usual. Celtic fell behind early then had a man sent off, in my opinion, rather softly. While they were still trying to recover from that they had a second man sent off making it just about impossible to get back into the game. Typically, however, the one-swallow-makes-a-summer mentality of the Rangers fans has kicked in and now we are asked to believe they were they better team all season but were merely victims of circumstance. Rangers have been poor for most of this season, even when they were winning. Apart from a couple of comprehensive wins they have struggled to beat bad teams and if it wasn't for the fact that Celtic are not much better, the league would have been over weeks ago, deduction or not. We, in Scotland, have to face facts - our league is one of the worst in Europe and the Old Firm are merely the best of a bad lot. The talk of them thriving in the Premiership is embarrassing nonsense. The reality is, both would do well to finish mid-table in the Championship.

  • Comment number 52.

    The problem with Scottish football was perfectly illustrated for me when I lived in Dumfries. Every Saturday, three coaches full of Rangers supporters left from the town. Meanwhile, the local side, Queen Of The South, were playing in front of crowds of around 200.

  • Comment number 53.

    Jim,

    Objective, well balanced article.

    I was disappointed by Celtic`s approach to the game - cautious & ball watching. Rangers came galloping out of the traps & after Saluko`s brilliant first goal - Celtic were like rabbits staring into the headlights. A couple of wasted chances were balanced out by simmilar from Rangers. Sadly it was not until we were 3-0 down & task impossible that the cavalier disregard came out & we played the only way we can play - direct attacking football. Sammy was great, Commons showed determination but it was all too little too late.
    As for the season, Celtic had reduced Rangers massive lead by xmas & the writing was on the wall. The -10pt deduction was a nail in the coffin. If Celtic do not win title by at least 11pts there will be grounds for debate. However over the long season, even with concideration to my bias, Celtic have been the better side. Congrats to Ally on yesterday`s win - nice gesture to shake Celtic players hands coming off the pitch.

  • Comment number 54.

    It's simply not just relief being displayed on the Rangers manager's face, no it something else and it goes so far deeper than just a game of football. All those who continue to stick their proverbial heads in the sand are simply not living in the real world. Yes indeed where would Scottish football be without the old firm, I wonder? It's sort of like asking where would Scotland be without the UK, I wonder? I'm not a highly educated man, went through all my life being average but I'm guessing I'd still play a better hand than those that think they know what's right!

  • Comment number 55.

    Yet again Jim Spence shows his true colours. Why not just come out and ‘fess up to being a Tic fan? Your constant digs at Rangers are ill-disguised. They are now border-line gloating. On the other hand your incessant fawning over Celtic surely breaches BBC guidelines on impartiality.

    As to your line about “The winning mentality hammered into the side by Lennon over the last couple of seasons”. Hilarious beyond words. Somebody really does need to give wee Spencey his medicine.

    Best stick to profound footballing debates such as “is the goalkeeper the hardest job on the pitch?” Jim. And leave the serious football debate to the adults.

  • Comment number 56.

    So, final score was 3-2 to Rangers, with 10 men finishing the game against 9 and one manager sent to the stand. Am I the only one who finds this sort of thing a bit of an embarrassment to Scottish football?

  • Comment number 57.

    rangers are 18 points behind this morning. they deservedly won yesterday, but that still leaves them 18 points behind - administration only accounts for 10 of those points, Celtic would still be 8 points ahead with 7 games to go if administration hadn't happened. all the delusional rangers fans who reckon rangers would make this difference up should head down to the bookies where I'm sure you'll get generous odds on this scenario.
    OF games generally go to the home team - history will confirm this. I hoped Celtic would win yesterday, but didn't expect to. just as I expect Celtic to win when rangers come to Celtic Park after the split.
    the big story from yesterday's game however, is the fact that strathclyde police couldn't guarantee Neil Lennon's safety in the ibrox stand in the second half. presumably the match officials will be reporting this and rangers will be brought up before the beaks for failure to control their fans and will face a large fine / have part of the ground closed for the next home game. but it's only Neil Lennon we're talking about so nothing will be said / done. are rangesr fans not even slightly embarassed about this?
    would love to see the facts regarding Neil Lennon's sending offs in OF games when Celtic were losing. I can recall maybe 2 occasions and 1 was after the final whistle. rangers fans love their myths and this is just another one of them (along with teh myth that Neil Lennon's religion has nothing to do with their hatred of him).

  • Comment number 58.

    jim it was a characterful perf from gers yest against a behind the scenes that the celtic players know the league is in the bag. really disappointing reaction for the second week in a row from NL to the refereeing of the game. re "super ally" prior to the financials he has overseen TWO european competition exits, lost a HUGE lead in the league and exited TWO domestic cups !!! on the administrators, they filled the forms in wrong, ridiculously tried to sign a player after going into admin, broken the rules of two domestic competitions while they have been in charge, have failed to provide enough info to convince a judge that the ticketus contract is to the detriment of other creditors ( surely an easy task). the plymouth argyle admin men fee'd up at c 900k surely d and p are going to take a 75% fee cut like the players. ARE THEY BRAVE ENOUGH TO RIP UP THIS TICKETUS CONTRACT!!!!!

  • Comment number 59.

    Nine men did well against a side leading by 3 - 0. Congratulations to the challengers and the winners. Tremendous fighting qualities by the soon-to-be-crowned SPL champions.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 60.

    I totally fail to see the point of this article Jim Spence - unless it's to bring the knuckle draggers out from under their stone to slag each other off.

    What might have been for Rangers? Who knows. If you're going to write an article on the title race this year then why not focus on Celtic, who are going to be champions, and who should be analysed for their success? Oh, I'm a blue nose by the way so this is not a bitter rant. Yes, Rangers were 15pts clear but Celtic always had games in hand so too much is being made of that. A 9pt lead so early in the season is never safe, not in the SPL. Bottom line is, Celtic put together an excellent run and overturned Rangers advantage. It's hard, since administration, to know how Rangers performances have been effected but it's not too important. The title was already won.

    Now, I'm sure Jim will write the article on Celtic's success when the finishing line has been crossed but until then why not concentrate on more relevant issues? Eg. Why are our referees so bad? Why are our players falling over so much? There was no way, IMHO, any of those red cards were necessary yesterday. The two footed tackle I can understand because it's currently being clamped down but common sense should have been applied. The game is being ruined by players cheating and they only get away with it because the ref's and authorities are so soft.

    As for the general Scottish game, I enjoyed watching highlights of Dundee Utd from the weekend, some very good talent coming through there. The talent is in our game but for me we need to be fielding it every week. I watched Sportscene last night and there are still way too many imports on our pitches. Too many long balls too - I remember BBC Scotland's "debate" a few weeks ago where Craig Levein defended the long ball. Seriously? Our national manager defending it. I'm pretty sure when Barca teach their youngsters control and short passing they are fully aware that talented players will be able to play a long ball if needed to. If.

    So, Jim, how about a more relevant article next time?

  • Comment number 61.

    #31Zoom

    I didn't say Wanyamas sending off was debatable, I don't think he even touched Whittaker but in the game at present you can't tackle with raised studs.
    I agree that players who go to ground at the slightest touch shouldn't be given the decisions and this does spoil the game.

    I also have no problem with people not liking Lennon but it shouldn't lead to the outright condemnation that he receives for doing what every other manager does week in week out.
    Jim Jeffries could be seen going purple at every Hearts match and berating everyone and everything but I don't recall any posts condemming him nor shoud there have been, it's part and parcel of the gamefor managers to be blinkered and to complain.
    Look at Fergie and Dalglish who do it all the time, it's never the fault of their team when they lose. Dalglish rounded on Jamie Mackie during the week for commenting that he thought the Liverpool players looked tired when QPR beat them 3-2 yet Kenny is quoted after the defeat by Wigan as blaming it on tired players, you couldn't make it up but there's been no attempt to point out how silly this looks.

    I thought that McCoist's gesture yesterday, far from being generous, was a publicity stunt. If he really meant it why didn't he shake the Celtic players hands in full view of the crowd and I certainly don't believe he would have been doing it if he had lost but I'm not rushing to post damming criticism of him.

    It's time that the Lennon baiting stopped as it says more about Scotland than any sensible person would wish.

  • Comment number 62.

    #60 Wheely77
    I don't agree with your comments re Jim Spence but I do with the rest of your post.
    With all the fuss that's made about OF games and maintaining discipline you would also expect some common sense to be shown by the officials, it's not always necessary to stick to the letter of the law but if so then they must be consistent and give penalties for all the goings on in the box at corners, etc..

    I watched the Sportscene debate also and it simply confirmed for me why Levein will never be a success as Scotland manager. Long balls and not losing, what a way to go. The only one to speak for the fans was Elvis with his support for a larger league yet we have Levein preferring a 10 team version as he thinks that's better for the national side.
    There is a debate to be had but the problem is making sure that it includes all who should be included and somehow I don't think it'll happen.

  • Comment number 63.

    Boring!

    The most exciting thing to happen in Scottish football for decades is Rangers being in debt.

    Stop doing blogs on Rangers BBC!

    World Football would hardly notice if Rangers disappeared off the edge of the map!

  • Comment number 64.

    Jim I know your only writing these articles because the BBC's other "experts" are too cowardly to share their own opinions about anything oldfirm until well after the event (wouldn't want to offend anyone after all) but seriously don't go there. It's not worth it.

  • Comment number 65.

    morbhoy wrote:

    It really is a laugh reading your attempts, you really should read them back in the cold light of day.

    1. I dont like Lennon, I don't like Jeffries either for that matter always thought he was a miserable so and so. That doesn't make me a rabid loonball it means I have what is called an opinion.

    2. If you actually looked at the tv pictures, you would see McCoist shook the Celtic players hand from within the tunnel, not in front of the fans as you incorrectly pointed out.

    Anyway as I said keep em coming it's entertaining at least

  • Comment number 66.

    @50 "I'm totally mystified by this blog. How can anyone talk about 'squandering leads' when Rangers have been docked points?"

    Because they'd squandered their lead BEFORE they were docked points. Rangers had been 15 points clear, but Celtic had already overtaken them to go top of the league at the time before the 10-point penalty was applied. It's not that hard to follow.

  • Comment number 67.

    Some of the comments on here are hilarious. IMO both these clubs are managed by guys who in previous times would not have got anywhere near their respective jobs and it shows. In any other season Ally would not have survived blowing such a big lead and tactically at times he is just as bad as his counterpart at Celtic, though he clearly won the battle yesterday.

    Generally, I wish reporters would concentrate less on giving these guys excuses to moan about refs and ask more about their game plan, team selection and their inability to motivate players for big games. Cha for example was his usual hapless hopeless self and combining him with Brown who is so positionally inept was an obvious concern even before the game started.

    That said I'm not sure Calum Murray is up to managing OF games. He also did last season's 'shame game' and followed it up with this one yesterday. No doubt Stuart Dougal will be in the press by Wednesday to trot out his usual 'money for old rope' line about the 'ref got everything right' but more seriously you do wonder why a referee cannot actually tell a manager that he is being turfed out the dugout.

    Great soap opera publicity for the SPL though.

  • Comment number 68.

    to 44....That'll be the SPL ten story that I broke the other week that I'm not writing about. Let me explain to you. I am asked to write on certain issue and I do so. Do you turn up at your work and do exactly as you please ?

    55 Fife Bear....The only fessing up I've done came in tangerine colour, but some Old Firm fans of course always believe deep down you're either for them or against them. You fall into that category.

  • Comment number 69.

    Its become a trademark for Celtic over the last few seasons to "bottle" it during the big games, As a neutral Rangers were by far the better team during the old firm match Celtic seemed comfortable in taking a back seat with the game!

  • Comment number 70.

    #68

    Well said Jim perhaps a new term should be coined for the likes of Fife Bear (and others before I'm accused of bias):

    Symbiotic Paranoia

    Personally, I enjoy the defensive 'paranoid' posts - in this case from both sides of the OF - the most as you really do wonder at the thought process that gets them to their positions in the first place.

  • Comment number 71.

    66.
    Rev_S_Campbell,

    Maybe they did, but talking about it now, as if lead-squandering is still relevant, is somewhat pointless, because what REALLY killed off the title challenge is a whopping great big penalty and unpaid or released players.

  • Comment number 72.

    I can never garner any interest in the SPL. who will win this year? celtic.... or rangers

  • Comment number 73.

    I love this "Celtic bottled it nonsense" - remember, remember the 6th of November, as Mark Hateley remarked - the SPL was over as rangers were 15 points ahead & Celtic were heading to a defeat at Fir Park. 5 months later and Celtic are 18 points ahead, a 23 points swing if you don't include the 10 penalty points. which team has bottled it this season? losing a 15 point lead in the SPL and losing out to malmo, maribor, falikirk & dundee utd (at home) in the cup competitionsjust about every big occasion this season.
    and I'm still waiting to hear / read a rangers fan admitting they were embarassed / ashamed that it wasn't safe for Neil Lennon to sit in the main stand due to concerns about rangers fans possible behaviour towards him.
    this is the big story and it's just being airbrushed away. the SPL is over - as someone said yesterday, "rangers may have won the battle, but they have lost the war".
    Celtic losing at ibrox is no big deal, especially when the SPL is almost certainly in the bag. strathclyde police not being able to guarantee Neil Lennon's safety in the main stand (director's box) at ibrox is a big deal. but will the SPL have the guts to do anything about it?

  • Comment number 74.

    Can I ask, if the deal to buy Rangers is null and void because the club's own assets were used to buy the club (which is illegal) then who actually owns Rangers at the moment?

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    ''Suggestions that Rangers' impoverished state will have helped propel the league flag to the east end of Glasgow can only come from apologists for the Ibrox side.''

    What an utterly ridiculous statement. I can't pretend to know who would have won the title had Rangers not run into financial trouble and neither can anyone else, but to suggest that the state of Rangers' accounts and subsequent administration have not played a part in Celtic winning the league is too stupid for words.

  • Comment number 78.

    #75

    You appear to be saying that your views on Neil Lennon come from speaking to people in football and the public in general which means that you don't form your own opinions.

    It's a strange world because the people I speak to outwith Scotland are all, without exception, bewildered that so much abuse and threats can be directed towards a man just because he stands up for himself.

    I am biased because I like Lennon but it doesn't mean that I always or automatically think he's right on every occasion.
    However I can't understand why he should be subjected to this level of abuse and wonder if Ferguson or Dalglish who also rant and rave, more frequently than Lennon, would receive the same treatment if they managed in Scotland?

    It does the country no good whatsoever and escalates what is only a game into something it isn't.
    The game yesterday left both sets of fans happy as the status quo was maintained and both had things to sing about. There is still one more game to be played after the split when the scores for the season may well be levelled.

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    #68 Jim Spence

    Keep up the good work Jim and those who are complaining about the posts should remember that the blog wouldn't be here if issues such as this didn't arise.

  • Comment number 81.

    SPL stats show that the results of Old Firm derbies have had no bearing on whether Rangers or Celtic eventually win the SPL title. Titles are won or lost against the other 10 SPL teams. As such Old Firm derbies are meaningless spectacles from a football point of view. It is just televised tribalism.

  • Comment number 82.

    I obviously struck a chord eh, Spencey?

    Your assertion of the “The winning mentality hammered into the side by Lennon over the last couple of seasons” is laughable,

    Is this the same “winning mentality” that sees them bottle almost every big game that comes their way?

    Perhaps you’d care to remind us what Celtic have actually won with this “winning mentality” since Lennon took over?

    Last week’s League Cup Final against Killie – winning mentality?
    2 Old Firm defeats at Ibrox – winning mentality?
    4-2 defeat to Athletico Madrid – winning mentality?
    3-0 loss to the mighty Sion – winning mentality?

    I’m all for lauding sterling performances of ANY team over the course of a season. But it needs to be measured and reasonable. Yours is neither. Maybe you should consider a career change if reporting on the goldfish bowl of the SPL extends the limits of your ability to be unbiased and impartial.

    To accuse bloggers who happen to point this out as bring “either for us or against us” camp only illustrates the paucity of your argument.

    Cheer up though Jim, your beloved celtic will collect the SPL trophy next week and then you’ll be happy!

  • Comment number 83.

    Oh i see my comment was removed. Did i hit a nerve with the true hard facts that were stated? Waste of time trying to argue a point against a celtic fan as they are only ever going to see things through green tinted specs. Just like the biast views on here from some of you.

  • Comment number 84.

    rangers were 15 points clear 5/11/11.
    Celtic were 4 points clear by february.
    rangers then went into administration.
    Celtic were onb a winning run, rangers were on a losing run - administration added to the gap, but wasn't the reason why Celtic are way ahead of rangers. stop hiding behind excuses - Celtic have been the best team this season and that's the reason why they are so far ahead. even without the 10 point penalty Celtic would still be 8 points ahead, with 7 games to go & still to host rangers at Celtic Park. nothing to do with administration.
    still waiting on a rangers fan to admit embarassment / shame that strathclyde police couldn't guarantee Neil Lennon's safety because of potential violence from rangers fans.

  • Comment number 85.

    @ justinjest - you say that Rangers fans should admit embarrasment and shame that the police couldn't guarantee his safety.

    Not going to happen - because a) we weren't consulted. b) there is no precedent to this - Lennon has been in the Ibrox directors box before and was treated with courtesy and respect with no incidents whatsoever and c) given that the ref had sent him off perhaps Lennon's own conduct may have been the cause of the Police's worry? I dont know that - but then, neither do you not know that.

  • Comment number 86.

    I could have scripted Sundays game; offside goals, numerous sending off's (including the token red card at the end to mask the fact the game had been officiated poorly) and a Rangers victory. Albeit a poor victory in light of the fact they played against fewer men for the majority of the match.

    Rangers will finish second in the league; not only because they need all additional monies available but also because the SPL needs it.

    This won't be the last time this season that Rangers play against fewer men.

    There will be a legal ruling and or loophole that will find some way of bailing Rangers out of the proverbial and allow them to pay back the debt on catalogue terms.

    After all, without Rangers, the league would collapse; and that isn't going to happen.

  • Comment number 87.

    82 fife bear. you didn't so much strike a chord as hit a bum note. repeating and re inforcing your own prejudices doesn't mean they're true.

  • Comment number 88.

    82. fife bear: I think the winning mentality to which is being referred, relates solely to the fantastic run of form that saw Celtic overturn a cricket score deficit, to take pride of place at the top of the SPL.

    As for your "bottling it" comments, I would have to agree to a certain extent, however; for the best part of this season, Celtic have maintained a very healthy resolve whilst Rangers lost their bottle consistently to the so called weaker teams.

    At the end of the day, no amount of well worded retorts will ever change the way things are at this current moment in time.

    Celtic will be crowned champions (and not by default) and Ranger will hopefully live to fight another day.

  • Comment number 89.

    Yet characteristically spencey, you conveniently omit to address the issues I raise re. the so called "winmning mentality" at celtic.

    Play the man and not the ball, eh? Classic tactic of someone who know's he's lost an argument. The brevity of your last response speaks volumes...

  • Comment number 90.

    Be good if you could avoid personal attacks and address the issue I raise:

    Celtic's "winning mentality" = joke. Discuss.

  • Comment number 91.

    89 Fife bear, 88 The Mad Jock answers it well enough. Celtic are about to win the SPL title and are currently 18 points ahead of Rangers. So even accounting for the 10 point deduction they are still ahead of Rangers.

  • Comment number 92.

    Fair enough - celtic's 26 game unbeaten run is impressive, no doubt. They will deservedly win the league, no argument from me there.

    But for any journo who wishes to be taken seriously, to claim they have had a "winning mentality" since lennon took over is laughable. Their record since he took up the reins at parkhead is littered with shock results and huge disappointments in games that matter.

    That was my point.

  • Comment number 93.

    #65 fufighter

    As my previous reply was removed for reasons beyond me I'll try again to deal with your erroneous post.

    1. If you had taken the trouble to read my post you would have noted that
    nowhere do I deny you the right not to like Lennon, infact I say exactly the
    opposite.

    2. Again you have misread or didn't read the comment which was that if McCoist had
    meant to make a sincere getsure he would have done it in full view of the crowd,
    not in the tunnel.

    Hope that's cleared matters up for you,but if not I'm sure you'll let me know.

  • Comment number 94.

    finance has nothing to do with the form implosion. celtics football has been better all season but rangers would have kept the title-but for administration-had naismith remained injury free.he was the talisman. rangers have not been the same without him

  • Comment number 95.

    Fife Bear, I think you are somewhat confused with reference to "winning mentality".

    When people describe a team as having a "winning mentality", they are ususally describing a side who wins a lot of games, there is no obvious reference to winning "big games". More like the sort of side who wins when they aren't playing at their best, but can grind it out - the sort of side who goes on long unbeaten runs and wins titles. That is how I and I would imagine most people interpret that comment.

    To me, what you are talking about is a side with a "big game mentality", where Celtic do often fall apart no doubt IMO. But losing at Ibrox is hardly unusual, and vice versa for Rangers at Celtic Park. It's a joke that you accuse Jim of bias and then complain about a "personal attack" on you - if you directly attack someone I wouldn't be expecting much praise back.

    Fully expected a Rangers win yesterday - if they needed any motivation it was the thought that for the first game in a long time they could actually achieve something. If they weren't up for that then McCoist would have a huge question mark over him.

    Rangers fully deserved the victory, but I thought both red cards were unnecessary. People seem to be confused regarding the laws of the game. There is no "last man" or "two footed" tackle rule. Only "obvious goalscoring opportunity" and "dangerous tackle". It wasn't obvious that Wallace would even get on to the ball before Forster, so that decision was ridiculous and Lennon has every right to question it.

    On another note, Lennon is dreaming if he thinks he can put a defence like that out and win at Ibrox. Cha is an accident waiting to happen and I thought Rogne was appalling in a big game again. Matthews has become anonymous also. There are a number of other question marks in the team also. The last 2 games have been a reality check to Lennon and the board that there's still a long way to go. Still easily the best side in the country over the piece though.

  • Comment number 96.

    yep and c----c supporters are also known not to follow the club through hard times 94 comes to mind and 13 thousand for a premier league match.Look at ur own club before making comments about the best fans in the world Glasgow Rangers.

  • Comment number 97.

    "reigning in"?
    from a journalist?
    -reining in-

  • Comment number 98.

    #95
    At long last someone else makes a comment on the football and not the sideshow.

    I couldn't understand why Cha started this game at all as he is characteristic of many Celtic defenders - Loovens, KWilson - and an accident waiting to happen. Rogne I thought was okay, though both himself and Mulgrew struggled with the physicality of McCulloch. Mathews was not at the races at all: ball watching at the second goal and lost possession which led to the 3rd.

    But I think the main problems were in midfield where Celtic really struggled to compete and create much of anything.

  • Comment number 99.

    #94 Petfar

    Rangers have certainly missed Naismith but every team suffers injuries. The absence of one man in any team, whilst an inconvenience, should never really have a detrimental effect on the teams result and performances. That is, after all, why managers are paid as highly as they are; they need to foresee these things and ensure there is strength in depth in the squad.

    Whilst Rangers have strength (and this was demonstrated in the most recent OF game), they lack depth. This in turn begs the question as to why the players are paid as much as they are and why the club pays as much as they do for the players they bring into the club.

  • Comment number 100.

    Jim spence that is a good point. Celtic did indeed catch rangers up before the 10 point deduction, remember though celtic were written off by most people and no one gave them a chance which took much of the pressure off of them in catching rangers as there wasnt much expectation from anyone that they would catch up. Celtic did go on a fantastic run to catch rangers so all credit goes to the team and manager for that. Then the 10 point deduction ended any chance rangers had of keeping the pressure on when celtic did miraculously catch up. I think what people are trying to say is if the deduction did not happen then celtic would still be under massive pressure to hold their lead in the run in to the title, and whether they would be able to keep their bottle or not would be up for debate. Going on previous big pressure games under lennon with a lot riding on them, celtics behinds have well and truly collapsed so this is probably why people are asking the question. Would they have the bottle to see it through when the pressures on?

 

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