Celtic must ask major questions of gloating rivals next season

By David Walton

June 2, 2021

We all knew this was going to happen. We knew by Celtic allowing their season to implode, it would lead to our rivals gloating for what feels like an eternity.

We’ve all experienced it. Whether it be your next-door neighbour, your mate, or perhaps a work colleague. Someone you know has been rubbing the 2020/21 season in your face over the past few months. Even that’s probably generous – it’s more likely been the last 10.

So here we are now. We find ourselves in a desperate situation ahead of the summer. We’ve yet to appoint a new manager, a new director of football, whilst the players are due to return to pre-season in the third week of June.

Everything appears to be against us and it’s all doom and gloom as per. But it’s important we don’t allow our rivals to cut about making themselves out to be an unbeatable monster that just keeps getting bigger and stronger. Rangers, for me, were made to look much better than they are this season due to a lack of supporters in stadiums.

Steven Gerrard’s side is a team that has constantly had questions asked of them about their ability to deal with pressure. Heck, James Tavernier even wrote in a Rangers match programme last season about their struggles when teams put pressure on them [Daily Record]. The 2020/21 campaign was a season without any form of pressure for our rivals.

"Carl Starfelt to Celtic is a big possibility" | Swedish journalist Anel Avdić

Celtic rivals haven’t proven they can cope with the demands of fan pressure

Sure, they were out to stop the 10, but they didn’t feel the demands of a support bearing down on them. And credit to them because they managed to adapt and thrived without any supporters getting on their back. But let’s please not pretend this is a Rangers side without fault.

It’s an Ibrox team that’s yet to prove they can deal with fans’ frustrations. An Ibrox side that hasn’t proven it can cope with criticism from the stands and channel it into good performances. And nothing heightens our rival’s supporters more than when we’re on a good run of form and forcing them to get a result.

That’s one of the questions Celtic must put to Rangers next season. As much as we appear to be in a desperate situation at the moment, a focus must be to get s competitive squad in place that’s capable of getting off to a fast start.

Celtic in action against Rangers / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Defending the title will come with its own pressures; now is Celtic’s time to strike back

That’s not even taking into consideration that, for the first time ever, this Rangers team will go into the season as champions. It’ll be them who has to cope with the pressure of defending a crown as opposed to winning it. That doubles the pressure and expectation on them from both the media and their supporters.

Again, Celtic need to make the most of this. No, we won’t be able to work away in the background unnoticed. There’ll be a huge spotlight on the new Parkhead boss and the coverage will be extensive. But if he can deal with that and get the club on a domestic winning run, Rangers will have to deal with two new challenges they’ve never succeeded in before.

So even though we’re rebuilding, and that could still take some time, Rangers aren’t an invincible demon. They’re a fragile outfit with major questions that have still to be asked of them next season that they managed to avoid this term. Let’s make sure we pile the pressure on them and see what they come up with.

In other news, John Kennedy’s Celtic stay looks a lot more likely after the Eddie Howe collapse.