CELTIC fans appear to be strutting into summer with the memory of another Treble set to fill the football-free void.
And what do Rangers fans get? Oxygen, that’s what.
Michael Beale says Saturday’s 3-0 win over Old Firm gave his side “a lot of oxygen for the future.”
sorry mick But that’s just a lot of hot air.
They haven’t been made to make people feel good about clinching a win over runners-up Celtic in a game about as important as ninth place in the Eurovision Song Contest. You were made to win trophies.
So where was that oxygen when there was silverware up for grabs?
With the team selection, tactics and attitude that turned Saturday into a gallop, Gers could very well have won the League Cup and had a good chance of lifting the Scottish Cup.
And even if winning the Premier League was always a long way off, they could easily have made their biggest rivals work that much harder to get to the finish line.
However, none of that happened. And the main reason is that Beale was too busy giving oxygen to the players who were suffocating those around them.
This is not a flashback. After each of the three big losses they suffered against Ange Postecoglou’s men in the crucial 63 days, I’ve talked about it like a broken record.
These games and the prizes that came with them were all to-go.
But they have all slipped away because too many men fell short in key areas when it mattered.
Rather than praising Beale after that sweeping win, I can’t believe fans and pundits aren’t wondering why it took him so long to make the changes that would have put a whole different spin on a miserable campaign.
Let’s actually call names.
Borna Barisic is an honest guy who was a great servant but his focus and composure in the biggest games let him down maybe two years ago.
Ben Davies has been a solid defender on teams in the South, where it was okay to win one week and lose the next, but not in a cauldron where second equals last.
Ryan Kent used to exude all the positive energy Gers needed to perform great, but for most of this season his body language and lack of input have been a drain on those around him.
Alfredo Morelos is a true enigma. I’ve agreed with the Rangers fans because they say the negative energy he brings to the party is only acceptable if he scores.
But when it comes down to it, he hasn’t done it often enough. Three goals in 23 Old Firm games is certainly the proof one needs.
That doesn’t make them villains or bad players, but rather a clear indication that they couldn’t be trusted when push came to shove.
All of them have either failed to learn from past mistakes or to change their attitude – or both.
But all four not only played in all three derbies that absolutely had to be won, they all showed the same weaknesses and weaknesses over and over again.
One fell asleep as balls flew across his box, one panicked as the ball came to him under pressure, one didn’t follow to help his partners and one looked like he would have rather been somewhere else in the world .
The fact that the guys who replaced her on Saturday looked totally motivated to get the job done is certainly no coincidence.
Not that this failure to make these difficult decisions is purely a Michael Beale problem.
The time for a proper refresher for this squad was last summer but dazzled by the glory of reaching the Europa League final, they were too loyal at best and completely confused at worst.
Look at the goalkeeper situation. If it’s been decided internally that Allan McGregor’s time is up, then go out there and sign a better replacement.
Don’t trade him for the guy who hasn’t been good enough to take his place for the past two years.
This fudge set the tone for everything that transpired this season. Jon McLaughlin, like Davies, wasn’t up to the pressure of having to be exceptional every week so they’re up against a 40-year-old again.
But that is, and always has been, Rangers’ problem.
The more someone outside tells them something needs to be done, the more likely they are to do it.
Nobody likes us, we don’t care. She thinks all this for-us-or-against-us nonsense is driving her when in fact it’s just holding her back.
So while Ange Postecoglou continues to tinker and improve as he wins trophies, successive Ibrox managers – aided and abetted by an incompetent corridor of leadership – are caught between sticking with what they had and pulling random signings out of a hat .
And hey, since I don’t have a dog in this fight, what should I know?
But all of that seems to mean that victory in a dead game is really nothing for Rangers fans to brag about this morning.
After all, they may have all that wonderful oxygen — but it’s the ones across town who’re laughing like they stuck helium in the main.
It’s only fair to sort out our playoffs
NO ONE in Firhill and Somerset Park wants to hear that.
But the penultimate place in the Premiership is now all but survivable.
This is ensured by a system directed against disrupting the status quo.
The championship teams need to prevail to make a leap into the top flight, make sure it does.
That’s not fair. It’s soul crushing for anyone with ambitions to play on our game’s biggest stage.
It’s also a godsend for Dundee United, Kilmarnock, Ross County and St Johnstone.
And I’d love to see that change.
Either the SPFL make it two up and two down in all four divisions – or they have to bite the bullet and take the Premiership to at least 14.
It’s as simple as that for the good of football itself.
It’s a must for the future of clubs like Thistle, Ayr, Inverness and Morton.
Because what we have right now is the weakest of all compromises.
It’s a grudging acknowledgment by the “elite” that they must allow the dumb teams to engage with the firm determination that it will be as difficult as possible.
In the South, the playoffs are one of the big events of the season.
Getting into the top six late gives you the same chance of moving up a division as a team that’s been up there all season.
Here? A team like Thistle that worked hard to get fourth place has to play the third place team, then the second place team and then the second to last place team in the Prem.
So here’s a radical idea. The bottom two go down. The first two rise.
Stop me if I’m getting too technical.
Children with sore heads
ONLY a team would want Airdrie to climb faster than Airdrie itself.
And this is Falkirk.
I mean talk about bogey teams? Bairns fans have to search under their beds at night for monsters in the Diamonds jerseys.
In 16 meetings over the last four seasons, Airdrie have won 11 and drawn three. The goal difference is 31-15.
So, yes, they want them out of the premier league immediately. Just not very friendly…
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