Hugh Keevins still underestimating Celtic despite already being proven wrong

By David Walton

January 30, 2022

Ange Postecoglou has already proven Hugh Keevins wrong about Celtic this season, but the Daily Record columnist appears ready to underestimate us once again.

Indeed, when Ange was going through his sticky spell at the start of the season, Keevins was quick to hammer him. He stated that Ange stood for “Absolutely Not Good Enough” [Daily Record]. Fast forward a couple of months and he was changing his tune. After seeing Celtic Park packed out for a big European success over Ferencvaros, he stated Ange had created a “climate of optimism” [Sunday Mail, print edition, 24/10, page 62].

Things have gotten even better since October too. Postecoglou has managed to fill a host of key areas as he bulks his squad up for a title-fight. In addition to that, we’re now only 2 points behind Rangers as the title-race boils down to a 1-match wing.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Yet Keevins is insistent on believing Celtic are up against it. Incredibly, he’s been bigging up Rangers instead in the build-up to Wednesday night. And bizarrely, he stated Rangers would get a result against the Hoops even if we had all of our top stars available.

Speaking via his Sunday Mail column, Keevins said: “Celtic will start as underdogs when they face Rangers on Wednesday night. Second favourites to win on their own ground. On a night when the only Rangers fans there will be in the away section of the directors box and on the television gantry. How could it be any other way?

“Ange Postecoglou will be without his captain and inspiration Callum McGregor and his top goalscorer Kyogo Furuhashi. Not to mention his most creative midfield player Tom Rogic. I am on record here as saying I think Rangers will go through the remainder of this season without losing a game.

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“I would have tipped Giovanni Van Bronckhorst to get out of Celtic Park with nothing worse than a draw no matter who was playing for the home team. But with half a team out due to injury and international football being played on another continent, the odds against Celtic winning are even greater.”

Why do Celtic continue to be underestimated despite closing in on Rangers?

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But it’s always good to be able to see logic in those views that differ from your own. You like to understand a person’s thinking as to why they feel a certain way. It’s difficult to do that when it comes to Keevins and Rangers.

How on earth can anyone watch Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team and think they’re going the rest of the season unbeaten? They already lost at Tannadice back in August. They were mauled by Hibs at Hampden in the cup final back in October. Where is the logic here?

To say that Rangers would get a result against Celtic regardless of who is playing for us? That feels both immature and premature. Celtic have scored more goals and conceded less than their Ibrox foes this term. We have the momentum and the home advantage heading into Wednesday night. There’s very little to base a Rangers win off of outside of those looking to sheer hope.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

That’s not to say it won’t be a difficult game this week. Rangers beat us back in August and we haven’t forgotten that. However, even on that day at Ibrox, Celtic created a host of opportunities and could’ve had 2 or 3 on another day. We’re a much better team since that contest, can Rangers really say the same?

Celtic should be the favourites heading into Wednesday night, not that Ange will care all that much. He’ll be confident in his own players even if we’re missing a few first-team regulars.

Keevins, however, is setting himself up for another U-turn should Celtic win on Wednesday night. But at least it won’t be the first time Ange will have proven him wrong.

In other news, James McCarthy looks set for Glasgow derby opportunity as Celtic absences mount