We've heard it all before as Rangers title talk surfaces once more
Another day and another article rolled out by the loyal lapdogs in the Scottish mainstream media telling us how Rangers are going to challenge Celtic for the title this season, that this is their year.
Last week, we had Steven Davis rolled out to peddle the myth that Rangers are ‘on the verge of something special’ and this week we’ve got Aston Villa assistant John Terry claim that the balance of power has shifted in Scottish Football due to Gerrard taking over at Rangers.
But as Celtic skipper Scott Brown commented, we’ve ‘heard it all before’. And unlike Rangers and their players, their Celtic counterparts actually do their talking on the park.
in Rangers first season in the Scottish Premiership [Season 2016-17], under then-manager Mark Warburton, they rolled out the stadium display claiming they were ‘Going for 55’ before the season was kicked off and finished the season on 67 points - Celtic ran out invincible winners as they bagged 106 points and with it a domestic treble. Rangers finished third.
In season 2017-18, Pedro Caixinha was rolled out as the man who would usurp Celtic at the top of the table with his caravan and dog in tow. Another season with no trophies arrived for Rangers with the Petrofac Cup win a distant memory. Rangers finished the season third again on 70 points. With Celtic hitting the 82 point mark.
Last season, Steven Gerrard was heralded as the third time lucky saviour of Rangers. The Ibrox side brought in what resembled a full squad of new players while they loaned out or freed the majority of Caixinha’s duds. Spending well beyond their means. Yet despite beating Celtic twice they still finished behind Celtic. Nine points behind in fact.
But all of that has given a delusional rise to the populist belief among Rangers fans, pundits and Gerrard’s mates that Rangers 2012 are going to go for the title THIS coming season.
Yet these Rangers cheerleaders fail to mention that Celtic’s stats are vastly superior to Rangers in every single department - including last season which could be argued was a very poor one at performance level for the Scottish champions. But despite that, they still finished the season on 87 points - a five point rise from season 2017-18. Rangers’ rise from season 2017-18 to last season - was by five points also.
And again Rangers for the third season in a row in the Premiership failed to pick up a single trophy. In fact, they failed to reach one cup final.
So again I ask, how has there been a shift in the balance of power when Celtic - despite losing twice to Rangers [and winning twice themselves] - improved on their league points tally from the season before? Surely it would be more appropriate and factually correct to state that the balance of power for second place shifted from Aberdeen to Rangers?
Even when you consider the signings that have taken place this summer, Rangers’ captures cannot even be compared to that of Celtic’s solitary signing so far coupled with those players returning on loan and injury. In fact, I would go as far to say that Aberdeen have done the better business in the transfer window than Rangers have - who seem to be looking to sign another starting eleven again. With nearly 38 players in their first team squad and the Ibrox board trying their damnedest to tout the likes of James Tavernier and Alfredo Morelos to clubs via their well-placed poodles in the SMSM. And with no takers in sight - predictably due to the ludicrous demands surrounding the duo’s transfer fees - they are now facing the realisation that their wage to turnover ratio of 74% is going to increase significantly despite seeing a number of players leave the club last season.
Celtic have played three pre-season friendlies so far this summer and while they are merely used to get the players fit and ready for the season kicking off next week away to FK Sarajevo in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League first round qualifier, they have looked impressive in attack. Celtic’s defence still needs strengthening, but the rebuild job at Celtic is more focused rather than the scatter gun approach that seems to be happening at Ibrox again.
And nothing I have seen from Celtic this summer or even during last season under Neil Lennon warrants any need for panic now that Rangers are supposedly going to put in a title challenge - for the FOURTH year in a row!
Maybe if they stopped running to the press to talk a good game, stopped the pitch invasions and title-winning celebrations in December, then maybe just maybe they could get closer to Celtic. It certainly fuels season ticket sales and certainly has the horde lapping it all up - until their bottle crashes once more.
The difference between Celtic winning and losing the title is not down to Rangers, but Celtic themselves. Nine in a row is there for the taking and it is Celtic’s to lose. Celtic as a club still have the nucleus of their treble treble winning side - and from those players who left at the end of last season only Boyata, Benkovic and Lustig would be deemed as a loss. And with Christopher Jullien and Luca Connell already signed up - Neil Lennon is looking for several more players to not only plug the void left by the departing trio but to improve upon them.
Celtic have that winning mentality instilled throughout their team. Rangers have a side that doesn’t know what a winning mentality is and struggle to put a winning run of games together when it counts.
It is highly unlikely that Celtic win another domestic treble this coming season, but stranger things in Scottish football have happened. We’ve seen a club die and then the new club claim they are the same club as the dead club, while the SMSM ignore the plethora of articles they wrote for months to tow the Rangers 2012 party line to safeguard their commercial interests and access.
So while the SMSM and Rangers roll out the usual rhetoric before a ball has even been kicked in anger, it is time to remind them actions count more than words and for eight years in a row, Celtic have walked the walk leaving their talking to the pitch where it matters the most.