The post-match Hampden moment that tells us today's derby defeat won't derail Celtic's season

By John McGinley

April 17, 2022

You can understand the worry for some Celtic supporters tonight. We’ve just watched our team produce a very flat display in one of our biggest games of the season. It doesn’t particularly bode well for a crucial upcoming period.

Certainly, no-one is immune from criticism. The players have to prove they are better than this afternoon’s performance, not just next week but also in the upcoming final derby of the campaign.

The manager also has to shoulder the expectations of the final month and ensure he can push his team on in the relentless manner we’ve seen already this season.

Celtic 1-2 Rangers (AET) | LIVE Reaction

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Celtic 1-2 Rangers (AET) | LIVE Reaction
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Today was a massive boost for Rangers and no doubt you will hear from some pundits over the next few days that it brings them back into the title race and that Celtic could crumble.

But I don’t think we should fear that and I don’t think we should expect days of negative navel-gazing on today’s performance. I think the Celtic support are smarter than that this term. They know we don’t need the post-mortem, nor is it helpful.

The moment that sums that up best came today at Hampden after the match when, as pointed out by Celtic Shared the team and supporters actually united after the gruelling 120 minutes to show mutual appreciation and share applause.

This isn’t the season where fans were locked out. There’s no disconnection. There will be no spiral into negativity and a vicious inevitability about the direction of the campaign. The players know the support has their back.

Celtic are going to regroup. They’re going to go to Dingwall and be treated like heroes by the travelling fans. That gives them a sound platform to get back to the football we know can consistently pick up results in this league.

Unity has been preached all season at Celtic. This is even more important in defeat than victory. It can be a factor in helping this team get over the title line.

It’s absolutely true that nothing is won yet. Hard work is ahead. But it’s all doable and it’s all in our hands.

Let the team analyse their shortcomings today and improve. That’s important too. We can’t say today was acceptable.

But let’s keep the head, keep the faith and trust the process. Better days are ahead.

In other news, Celtic captain Callum McGregor shows leadership with perfect response to derby defeat.