Alex Rae's Celtic "meltdown" comments are coming back to haunt him

By David Walton

February 24, 2020

It’s fair to say that Alex Rae could’ve chosen his words more carefully after December 29th – particularly considering football hits you hard.

Rangers and Ibrox-supporting pundits were in no place to get carried away after beating us 2-1 at Celtic Park. It effectively put them one point clear of us (depending on whether they won their game in-hand). They had the initiative and the bragging rights, but big questions were still to be answered.

As you would expect, Celtic fans all around the world launched a post-mortem on the game to see where we went wrong. Certain players came in for stick and others didn’t. It was exactly what you would expect after such a crunching defeat. After all, we had a three-week break to sit on it too.

Former Rangers midfielder Alex Rae (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Rae, however, couldn’t help himself. He stated that he enjoyed the meltdown and that Gerrard had overseen a “remarkable transformation”. Speaking in the Daily Record, Rae had this to say only as recently as last month.

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“I’ve enjoyed the meltdown after the Old Firm game. Celtic have had such a free rein but in the last 20 months there’s been a remarkable transformation at Rangers under Steven.

“People thought the Betfred Cup Final performance was a fluke but to go to Parkhead and play in the manner they did, it was nothing short of sensational from Rangers.

“Celtic deserve credit for being 10 points better off at this stage from last season. So for Rangers to potentially leapfrog them with a game in hand is incredible. It’s the first time in a long time the players will genuinely believe they can win it.”

Oh dear

Fast forward just over a month later and Celtic have just about wrapped up the Premiership title. 12 points clear with 10 games to go and two derbies still to come reads well for the Hoops.

However, Rae was far too quick to talk about Rangers being full of belief and this apparent “remarkable transformation” under Gerrard. Our rivals had a strong first half of the season and it was an improvement on last year. Yet, when you look in the Ibrox trophy cabinet, it’s the same dust that fills it as was there when Gerrard first arrived.

For all of these great achievements our rivals have apparently obtained, not one of them has resulted in a trophy.

Celtic lift the Premiership trophy (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

You also have to take exception to Rae saying that Celtic have had free rein in winning league championships each year. Was last season a free rein when we saw off Gerrard’s apparently new and improved Rangers? Will it suddenly be a free rein again this year if we waltz over the line?

Celtic deserve far more credit for effectively burying Rangers’ title-chances. It would take a momentous swing in order for Rangers to win it now. Of course, if the unthinkable were to happen, many could bring up this piece and accuse me of the same arrogance that Rae showed.

However, I actually have something to base this on. Celtic are the eight-in-a-row treble-treble champions. We have a history of getting over the line, something Rangers don’t have. That’s why Rae jumped the gun by talking about their belief and his enjoyment of the Celtic “meltdown”. How football hits you hard at times.

What did you make of Rae’s comments last month? Are we now in a position where we can say the league is over? Have Celtic proven this season that they can’t lose three games in 10? Let us know your thoughts on all of this in the discussion forum below.