Celtic moved into the Scottish Cup final on Sunday with a narrow 1-0 win over the current incarnation at Ibrox.
Manager Ange Postecglou took time out to thank his lucky stars that he had guided his charges to another shot at another trophy ..which some have interpreted as a pop at Mickey Beale, who earlier in the season had claimed that Postecoglou had got lucky when he was handed the Celtic job.
Ange pointed out that he has been learning his trade for twenty five years, and had earned the right to manage a club , with all the responsibility that comes with it, which is as sharp a slap one could give to anyone without actually holding them down.
Sadly, the media will seek a response feom Beale, which will continue to keep the rivalry …well, supposed rivalry simmering until next season, where no doubt we’ll see the Real Rangers they keep harping on about, which will consist of Beale, some loannees and a couple more players who can’t get a game for whoever they are with now.
They’ll struggle to get any quality in on the pitch, because they can’t afford it. Should season book sales not pick up, and there’s no reason why they should, it won’t so much be a case of keeping the lights on over the summer as turning them off to save money
Beale himself will cling on as long as he can, as there is no place for him to go after Ibrox. He only took the job to give him work after his QPR debacle.
As it stands now, he’ll be happy to see a squad clear out, because the ones he has there at the moment have lost what little faith they had in him.
Meanwhile, in the land where the sun shines brightly, things will just get better and better.
The manager has improved the side he took over beyond recognition, and he never stops, which means he will still look to improve things.
He will continue to push the players, and they will continue to respond, as the higher level of the European challenge looms on the horizon.
To challenge there requires more focus, more intensity and more depth.
We’re getting there.
Sunday showed a level of game management above anything we have seen before.
Even if an equaliser had been found, Celtic looked comfortable enough to go on and cancel it out.
There was never really any danger of defeat, the players simply weren’t going to allow it.
They believed in themselves and in thise around them.
That was the difference between the two teams…again…and that gap will only get wider.
A few of us from Stoke went down to Birmingham to watch the game with the Black Country Che Guevera CSC..at a social club they use as their base.
So it made for an excellent afternoon, and a genuine first for me as I got to celebrate a winning goal twice.
A scoreflash on a phone told us Jota had scored…due to a lag ….three minutes before the goal.
We sort of kept it to ourselves, bit happily didn’t have to for long.
Don Robertson, who filled in for the injured Willie Collum as referee, failed quite a lot to make the correct decisions during the game.
But we are led to believe these mistakes cancel each other out.
Well, no. Successive mistakes do not cancel each other out.
They add up. They become a catalogue of errors, but no one will point out that what we really have is an error strewn and inefficient group of referees.
An idea to at least verify this would be to put them to a test.
Each referee should sit a test, in private but at the same time as the others, where clips of incidents are shown…clips from around the world.
They should then give their judgement and reasons for that judgement.
Similar experiments in the legal profession for Judges and in the business world have shown there to be some surprising….and expensive….results.
Football has a clearly defined set of rules….but there may be some, er, different interpretations.
An experiment like this would help to improve the quality of our referees…but it is a non starter until we accept and amplify the truth.
These mistakes we see on a weekly basis do not cancel each other out.
They add up.
And for any profession, anywhere in the world, that is simply unacceptable.