Sunday failed to deliver the decisive blow either team had hoped for. It was a good game spoiled only by the referee making a dreadful penalty decision in Celtic's favour for the second game in a row. Some might say that was inevitable after months of propaganda and spin from Baron Reid of Cardowan et al but I couldn't possibly comment. Rangers again rose above the injustice and Alan McGregor showed he is the only current Ranger who can lay claim to being amongst the game's elite. For a number of years now a big money bid has been anticipated and with Alexander more than capable of stepping up it would probably have been the only squad departure welcomed by our support. The indifference shown by the EPL to McGregor is purely down to his off the field issues. The gambling and the girls make him tabloid fodder but it was flicking the Vs with Scotland and the subsequent ban which mark him out as a risk. It's part of his character though and without the gallus streak he wouldn't be half the player he is. Sometime soon a top club will wake up to the fact our current financial situation means McGregor might just be the best £5 million they ever spend.
Scotland are fortunate to have two top keepers. Whereas Gordon plays by the book and focuses on technical excellence McGregor plays on instinct and and is a worthy heir to The Goaile. Sunday's save may yet prove to be the decisive moment of this SPL season.
In recent weeks Rangers have played with two forwards with Naismith, and the ever improving Wylde, supporting from midfield. It's an approach we must persist with for the final four games of the season. Celtic have a considerable advantage knowing that with a vastly superior goal difference even a draw in their remaining games won't deny them the title. Losing the league on goal difference is tough for any team to take but given the 9-0 beating Aberdeen took from Celtic this year it would be particularly unpalatable. There is also the highly contentious issue of Celtic facing Motherwell in the final fixture of the season with the Fir Park side knowing Celtic winning the league would guarantee them European football by virtue of making the Scottish Cup Final. It could only happen in the SPL.
All of this is beyond our control though, we must get on with the business in hand and simply must win the remaining four league games. This would take us to 93 points, a total that would have been sufficient to win the league in each of the last six seasons. Say what you want about the current squad's limitations but they deserve huge credit for keeping pace with Celtic. The league slipped out of our control on Sunday but given the attacking football we played I feel comfortable we can win our remaining four games. The pressure is therefore all on a Celtic team who curiously seemed to be celebrating on Sunday as if they'd won something. Let's hope that really is what they believe.
A departing manager, take over bids, the UEFA ban, the referees strike, slow suffocation at the hands of Lloyds Bank... all of this must be forgotten for the final month of the season and twelve points must be delivered. Like the song says, "step up and play".
||Post your comment