Media pundits' bafflingly negative Celtic reaction makes absolutely no sense

By David Walton

May 3, 2022

Ever since Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Rangers, so many pundits can be accused of absolutely failing to seriously tackle the bigger picture.

Instead, there’s been a huge emphasis on the idea that Celtic were hanging on at the end. No Hoops fan would ever deny that was the case. However, as much as this has been built up, the fact that we bossed them towards the end of the first half seems to have been forgotten.

Celtic had several chances to bury Rangers that we didn’t take. Yet all people want to focus on is the final 15 to 20 minutes in which they had some opportunities to win it themselves.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The only thing that mattered for Rangers at the weekend was winning the game. That they failed should be all anyone is talking about. Yet that hasn’t been the case. In fact, it feels as if Celtic are being criticised just as much as Rangers are if not more.

Charlie Nicholas was the latest today. He stated in the Scottish Daily Express [print edition, 03/05, page 62] that there were “lots of positives” for Rangers and that they “now know how to play against Celtic”. Eh, even if that was the case, is it not a bit late? Or does the title not really matter all of a sudden?

But he hasn’t been the only one. Kris Commons put the main focus of his Daily Mail column on the “nervy” Celtic defence [print edition, 02/05, page 69]. He bemoaned that it needed strengthening in the summer and that “stats don’t tell the full story” where they’re concerned.

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Too much negativity being aimed at the champions-elect

We’ve also had Tam McManus go on about how Rangers’ squad is strong than Celtic’s since Sunday [PLZ Soccer]. That’ll be why we’ve got a better head-to-head record and are about to claim the title.

The fact is that the narratives surrounding Sunday’s game are being spoken about as if we’re in the middle of the season. As if the fact we’re about to win the title doesn’t really matter.

Rangers needed to win at Parkhead and didn’t. Celtic needed to win at Ibrox in April and did so. Back then, nobody was saying that we had a lesser squad than our rivals. Our defence was being strongly pushed whilst we were the ones who apparently had Rangers’ number. Yet all of that has changed because of a draw and a Scottish Cup extra-time defeat.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

That’s how fickle football in Scotland is. The title doesn’t really matter to pundits. All that does is this rivalry. Win these games and it’s apparently more important than actually winning the league. That’s how it’s made to feel at times.

The selectiveness from Sunday is also a touch frustrating. Rangers didn’t boss us. They had the better of the closing exchanges. Before their equaliser, Joe Hart barely had a save to make. We were in control and should’ve been 2 or 3 up by the hour mark. So please spare us this idea that we were dominated.

The negativity surrounding the result on Sunday is embarrassing. It makes no sense. We’re closing in on a league championship here. It would be nice for a bit of praise to be dished out to those who are about to manage it.

In other news, Confirmed: Referees announced for Celtic games against Hearts and Dundee United