Mohamed Elyounoussi's Celtic-Rangers boast has come back to haunt us

By David Walton

December 30, 2019

Celtic winger Mohamed Elyounoussi’s boast regarding how the Hoops would “destroy” Rangers has most certainly come back to bite us.

The Norwegian played against Rangers in the first half of the Betfred Cup final at the start of the month. However, after the Hoops took the trophy, Elyounoussi then stated that Celtic would prove to be far superior to Rangers in yesterday’s encounter (Daily Record).

As we all know, that failed to materialise. Celtic fell to Rangers in a 2-1 defeat at Parkhead in Sunday’s clash. The result was poor enough, but the manner of the defeat was even more hurtful.

Mohamed Elyounoussi played but failed to impress against Rangers on December 8th (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Rangers, as much we hate to say it, bossed us. Destroy would be a harsh word to use, but they certainly weren’t second best in many areas if you want to put it that way.

Despite the fighting talk initially seeming like a positive defence of a Celtic side who took stick for their performance at Hampden, Elyounoussi’s comments now look a tad misguided.

Fighting talk wasn’t transferred onto the pitch

It’s extremely frustrating that, despite these comments from Elyounoussi, our biggest downfall was our lack of fight. For a team that was apparently ready to destroy Rangers, we hardly expressed that same desire in our commitment to the challenge.

Celtic didn’t show enough against Rangers yesterday (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Even worse is the fact that we badly missed an Elyounouss-type to take the game to Rangers. Mikey Johnston was far too easily brushed off the ball by James Tavernier. Had Mo played, he likely would’ve given the Ibrox captain more trouble. Instead, he sits out with an injury.

Celtic have been at their best in this fixture when they’ve allowed Rangers to do the talking off the pitch. It didn’t feel right seeing a Hoops player come out with that kind of message. On reflection, it now leaves us looking a tad silly after yesterday.

Our next game against Rangers is in March. Between now and then, Neil Lennon may want to think about keeping this kind of fighting talk for inside the dressing room. When it gets out, it only ever seems to leave the team who said it on the end of embarrassment.

Elyounoussi will hopefully be back in action soon (Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

It hopefully provides Mo with a good lesson ahead of that Ibrox clash. Keep it quiet and keep our energy bottled up. Let them do the goading and hit them with the sucker-punch – that’s exactly what they did to us yesterday.

Hopefully, Mo is back after the January break. He certainly has some making up to do for lost time.