Ronny Delia will be the loneliest man in Scotland this morning. In case you didn’t notice Rangers are back. They beat Celtic in a Scottish Cup semi-final, in a penalty shoot-out, after drawing 2-2, after extra time. Triumphalism from the Huns, and rightly so. Over the piece they had more possession of the ball and were the better team. That tells you everything you need to know about Celtic. Out fought and out manoeuvred by a team made up of patchwork professionals. Managers need to carry a bit of luck. That’s the unwritten rule. Poor Ronny’s teams follow his lead, when things can go wrong they will go wrong. The all-important first goal in the Old Firm game is crucial. Celtic and Scotland captain Scott Brown knocks the ball from the edge of the box into the path of Kenny Miller. That’s Kenny Miller of Rangers and not of Celtic, in case you were asking. Even Kenny Miller couldn’t miss from six yards and didn’t. That wasn’t unexpected. Celtic’s defence frailties are known all over Europe. Teams we’ve never heard of snigger when they draw Celtic out of the hat. Delia was brave here. He took off Boyata, who’d been booked and found wanting, as he usually is, and put on Erik Sviatchenko. Sviatchenko got us back into the game with a headed goal from a corner, but only after Patrick Roberts missing an open goal. In anyone’s language that’s called a Van Vossen.
Managers need to carry a bit of luck, but players have to occasionally help out. We know Celtic’s defence is rotten, but whisper it, so are Rangers’. Pat had 3-1 to win on his coupon. Andy Rat had 4-1 and 5-1 on his. And I did a bit of spread betting. Celtic to win 5-1 and Rangers to be winning at half-time and Celtic at full time. We tried to stick another couple of quid on Celtic to win the game over the ninety minutes at what we thought were generous odds of 4/1, but Andy Rat couldn’t get through on his phone to the bookies because of Rangers’ fans laughing.
Rangers scored the second, a top corner strike, that’s worthy to win any game. Tom Rogic comes on for an out of touch Stefan Johansen, so out of touch he hardly touched the ball, but that’s an ongoing thing. He hasn’t played well for months. Why he keeps getting selected, you’d need to ask the manager. Biton has also been out of touch as has Brown. That’s the whole engine room of the team. Shite. It’s not hard to see if you can’t defend and can’t create, you’ll lose games. Tom Rogic scores. He’s got that knack. He rolls player and is a goal threat, as is the best central midfielder in Scotland Kris Commons. That’s the manager’s prerogative, to pick his team. Ronnie can talk about pressing and energy, but that’s camouflage for ineptitude. Plan B is the same as Plan A.
Kieran Tierney gets pass marks. The only Celtic player worthy of his wages. But you don’t ask a boy to do a man’s job and take a penalty. Leave that to the ballooners and bottlers.
Mangers need to carry a bit of luck. Even at penalties it could go either way. But it was only going to go one way. Ronnie is right up there with John Barnes. A doomed experiment.
Rangers deserved their victory. But the thing about triumphalism is can bite you on the arse. Hibs are underwhelming favourites in the Scottish Cup Final. Much as Rangers were against Celtic. And this is the first time I’ve watched Rangers since last years Old Firm game. They’ve got better. We’ve got much worse. But Rangers can’t defend. They’ll lose masses of points next year being hit on the counter by teams that come and sit in at Ibrox. Celtic will get better, because, really, they can’t get any worse. They’ve got some average players that can be polished up to being better than at present. That’s the job of the next manager. It’s a painful one, but a new start. Let’s wait and see.