It may sound a bit optimistic, but I’m sure you can forgive me for at least trying to find any sort of positive to take from yesterday.
If you’re looking at matters on the pitch then there was none. Dominated, outthought, overpowered – whatever way you want to put it. The fact is Rangers were better than us in every department, and that’s just something we have to admit.
There was nothing to get excited about off the field either. Still Celtic Park had an eerie silence to it throughout the game, with only the players’ voices being heard as fans continue to be locked out of football in Britain.
So the only real crumb of comfort we can take from yesterday is something that’s effectively totally unrelated to what actually happened. That’s our reactions to recent derby defeats.
Not just ours either, but that of our rivals. How often in the past have we had our heads spinning, wondering just how on earth we’re going to raise our game to overcome our rivals? The answer now is plenty.
Going all the way back to December 2018 when Steven Gerrard secured his first-ever derby win at Ibrox. Rangers beat Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic 1-0, and drew themselves level on points heading into 2019 as we worried about there being a genuine title race.
That sparked Celtic into life. The Hoops would go on to secure 11 wins out of 12 in league competition. Rangers? Well, they would only go on to win five of their next 10 matches – dropping points to the likes of Kilmarnock, Hibernian, St Johnstone etc.
Still a long way to go
The fact is – come the end Celtic won the league title in convincing enough fashion. So that was the 2018/19 campaign done and dusted. Rangers will have learned their lesson, right?
Well, no. One year after that derby win for them at Ibrox, they managed to knock us off with a 2-1 win at Celtic Park. Another dominant performance by them unfortunately, and another aftermath of feeling as though we were losing our grip on Scottish football.
Yet once again this Celtic team answered the questions put forward to them. Nine of our next 10 league games saw us pick up crucial victories. Rangers, meanwhile, slumped to just four wins in nine league games. A ridiculous stat as they crumbled once again under the weight of expectation.
The base point here is that Celtic haven’t been flustered after defeats to Rangers. There’s next to no chance that this team simply crumbles into dust whilst our rivals continue to fly high and stop the 10. All of the pressure is now on Gerrard’s side.
They’re now facing a hurdle they’ve never once jumped over. All the while knowing that Celtic will be breathing down their necks at every opportunity.
Sure, we’ve been poor all season. But we were also poor in the run-up to both of the derbies mentioned in this article. Yet we still managed to raise our game in the face of adversity.
So let’s not be too deflated after yesterday. Yes, it was a real blow, but there has to be some perspective. We have three of these derby matches remaining. The league is anything but over.