It’s been a few days now since Celtic decided they didn’t want a treble after all and it was only fair to help plucky newcomers “rangers” retain an interest in their domestic season, but that feeling that someone made an arse of things won’t go away.
Maybe it wasn’t the traditional Old Firm helping hands policy after all, maybe we just didn’t get it right on the day.
Maybe the managers decision to play his way doesn;t always work after all.
It certainly didn’t on Sunday, and worryingly it had been fairly obvious from the last few meetings between the teams that three in midfield, looking to exploit the space with pace and technique, can’t actually do that when the opposition put five guys in there to close them down.
Apart from the first half in the 3-0 win, Celtic have laboured against the cloggers from south of the river.
That’s five forty five minute periods when they’ve had to endure quite a bit of pressure, and play the game largely with their backs to the wall.
Even the first half at Ibrox was more a sort of blood and snotters affair, and whilst Celtic did score twice, they weren’t the usual tearing the opposition apart type of goals we’re used to.
And let’s face it, in the second half we were clinging on a bit, and when Nir Biton gets singled out for praise for his role in steadying the ship then you know you’ve had to work for your win.
That’s the bit I cannot fathom out.
Postecoglou must have noticed that by and large when his midfield is crowded out, it becomes ineffective.
When it becomes ineffective, the system breaks down.
If van Bronckhurst has spotted that, then more seasoned managers in Europe will be well aware of it from the first video tape they watch.
That brings back memories of Brendan Rodgers and his unwillingness to change and adapt when Celtic were being ritually slaughtered by the continents top teams, it even reminds us of Tommy Burns thinking that attractive football is far more fun than actually winning things.
The honeymoon period is well and truly over now for the Australian, not because he lost a semi final , but because it was avoidable simply by tweaking the way he approached a game that most of us could see needed a little bit of steel in the side to combat what was always going to be a more typical Scottish match than perhaps a free flowing festival of football.
He may well be aware of this, he may well even be tailoring his shopping in the next transfer window to adapt to this, and he’s done more than enough to warrant patience while he does, but I still have this nagging feeling that whilst belief in your own ability is admirable, the more times Celtic lose in the way they did on Sunday, the more the players will begin to doubt him.
There’s little point in telling them that we don’t stop if we struggle to get started.
Incidentally, it’s worth mentioning that Bobby Madden did what he does best, using his influence to alter the patterns and pace of play with some novel and refreshing interpretations of the rules.
There’s no need to go over them again, you all saw them.
It’s what Scottish referees do when they feel they have a chance to influence the outcome of a game, especially a one off cup game, and Madden did his bit for the brotherhood which means he can sleep peacefully in his sash of an evening.
Scottish football will see VAR ( video amended refereeing ) introduced by the end of the year, which measn the man in the middle will now have three more assistants in a wee room with a wee telly in case he’s missed anything that might be important, but you can be absolutely certain that what they deem to be important will have little bearing on sporting integrity or lead to a levelling of the playing field in Scotland,
It’ll have the opposite effect, as those watching the screen can now spot things that they want to spot, and of course, they can do so without fear of recrimination.
Until Scottish referees are forced to declare allegiances to any club and be prevented from taking charge of their games, then nothing will change.
Even explaining some of their more, er, unusual decisions would be a start, but that’s not going to happen any time soon.
For some reason, VAR ( Video Assisting Rangers ) is seen as the ultimate solution in guaranteeing fairness in officiating, and those in favour will point to it as infallible the first time “rangers ” get a penalty or their opponents get a goal chalked off…
They’ll claim that it was the only way to prevent controversy and ensure fairness for all, when in fact , as with any computerised system, it depends entirely on who is running it.
And that’ll be the same peepil who are in charge just now…..