Giovanni van Bronckhorst's post-Aberdeen remarks reflect frail mentality that Celtic must punish

By David Walton

January 19, 2022

What a brilliant couple of days it’s been with Rangers cowering under some early 2022 pressure from Celtic.

Indeed, the gap at the top of the Premiership has been slashed from 6 to 4. Celtic can smell the fear coming from Ibrox after their 1-1 draw at Aberdeen last night. But to be fair, they’ve not exactly shown themselves to be mentally resilient this season, have they?

Connor Goldson pretty much said back in October that their players lost all hunger because they’d won 1 league title [Scottish Sun]. And whilst van Bronckhorst didn’t take that tone last night, he did clearly reflect a mentality not particularly becoming of champions.

Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Indeed, the Dutchman incredibly claimed that his side were happy to leave Pittodrie with a point. Why? Because of the red card. Oh, and apparently they can’t expect to go to every ground in the country and create chances. Remember we’re supposed to be talking about the champions here.

As quoted by the Herald, here’s what he had to say in full: “Today I think we could have been better on the ball – especially when we were 1-0 up. If we had the control we normally have, which is very difficult in a place like this, I think we could have created some more chances to make the second. Of course, we knew they were going to push.

“Aberdeen played physical but were also good on the ball. They get the penalty against us and with 10 men we knew it was going to be hard. In the end, especially with the 10 men, I think we’re happy with the 1-1 because a point is a point.

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“Sometimes you have games like this. It’s not like everywhere we will go and dominate and make great chances and be the dominant side – we knew it was going to be hard here. Of course, we want to be better, especially on the ball, but today we weren’t so we go back to Glasgow with a point and work to the cup game on Friday.”

“A point is a point” – Van Bronckhorst as Celtic hunt them down

Where is that brilliant winning mentality van Bronckhorst is supposed to have? Where’s the hunger he’s supposed to have injected into that Rangers side? They’re pleased to come out of Aberdeen with a point because they played the final 7 minutes with 10 men? If that was Ange Postecoglou saying he was pleased with the outcome, it wouldn’t go down too well.

It’s interesting to see that this the opinion of the new Rangers manager. That a draw is acceptable in the league whilst he doesn’t believe they can go everywhere in Scotland and create. It certainly isn’t the kind of ruthless mentality he needs as Celtic prepare to give Rangers pressure hell in 2022.

I firmly believe Celtic’s result, performance, and momentum from Monday night against Hibs could be felt at Pittodrie. There was an air of nervousness about our rivals. They didn’t like the pressure or the battle that Aberdeen gave them. They didn’t enjoy the game being taken to them and van Bronckhorst’s men tried to sit deep and protect what they had.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

If his Rangers team has so much quality in its ranks, then anything other than maximum points would’ve been acceptable yesterday. After all, surely it should be their main priority to answer the pressure we’re putting on them and cool the confidence that’s growing at Parkhead.

Instead, this is a club that absolutely caves in front of supporters when hard questions are asked. They should’ve slipped up at Easter Road. They were fortunate Hearts missed so many chances at Tynecastle. They’ve already lost away to Dundee United. When they’re on the road in particular, they’re always there for the taking.

And as van Bronckhorst starts to show his own cracks and flaws, it’s clear Celtic need to keep battering their weak mindsets with further pressure.

In other news, Watch: Class footage of Celtic-linked Matt O’Riley emerges; brilliant passing range on show