Today marks something significant in Scottish football. It is something that will be referred to by onlookers for many, many years.
The game itself might not live up to the hype it has received nor would that be a first in a derby match. However, this first ever league meeting between Celtic and the club that rose from the ashes of the Hoops’ former and long term rivals, will be dissected before and after the final whistle like no other match in Scottish football history.
What can we expect from this match? I’d like to think, the trouble will be minimal but you never can tell.
This is one cancerous feature plagued the historical fixture far longer than I have been an active supporter of the Bhoys. Should Brendan Rodgers go about his business correctly, he should come out of this game with satisfied debut.
The new Ibrox club have nothing to lose though. Not even the league., not at this stage in their existence. Most figure heads in the media and Scottish football authorities have stated that a strong ”Rangers” is necessary.
Even although the Glaswegian club were liquidated and ceased operations in 2012, the sale of assets to a new party was enough to have people contradicting themselves soon after the death of the 1872 cl7b. Initially it was all “RIP Rangers”, “end of an era” etc, etc. Now, there is widespread belief, aided by the media of course, that the Ibrox club merely went through a process that allowed them to continue their existence.
I’ve read elsewhere and written my own basic perception of this saga. There aren’t many ways you can put it but thanks to 99%.9 of our media in Scotland, I regularly find myself setting the record straight with a friend or colleague south of the border.
What we have heard from a wide range of Scottish football club supporters, not just Celtic’s, has demonstrated that this argument will never go away. Perhaps……this is will be the new issue between Celtic and their new “challengers”?
However doubtful, it would certainly be better than the historical alternative. Violence, abuse, death threats…and that’s just upon Celtic personnel.
Sectarianism was at the forefront of the Celtic and Rangers fixture for a long, long time. With the demise of Rangers in 2012, the talking points have shifted to new debate.
I talked briefly the other day about the continuity myth, explained in better detail elsewhere it has to be said. There are plenty of other Celtic blogs and websites that can cover this argument in a much better, more concise way.
Yet on Saturday, Celtic are said to be playing their old rivals. For that I can say only this:
Immediate entry into the fourth tier of Scottish football may have been viewed by the football community as a punishment rather than a consequence. Creating a new football club using assets of a decesed football club is still a new football club.
To obtain that membership so quickly, says a lot about how hell bent the Scottish football authorities were on having an Ibrox representation in the Scottish game. In fact, as the recent BBC documentary, Scotland’s Game, covered just how much the SFA and SPFL valued a two horse race in Scotland.
It is dependent on Celtic v Rangers fixture as much as it is Scottish tourism. This may even be part of it and their obsession with maintaining, sorry, resurrecting such an ‘attraction’.
It has been a two horse race very long time and losing that one ponny made it an easy ride. You can argue that Aberdeen made a challenge for most of those seasons, but it could also be argued that Celtic cut their cloth to suit the environment.
The frenzy surrounding today’s encounter is a clear indicator of just how much emphasis was placed upon fixtures between Celtic and the Rangers of old. Should this match live up to the hype today, lord only knows what kind of circus will follow it.
Celtic have raised their game by appointing a new manager. A manager that came with good experience in a more affluent league.
The money may not have been splashed as some Celtic fans desired. With a squad the size of Celtic’s though, getting the right man to get the best out of that squad was a priority.
We can all speculate who should stay and who should go, I’ve done it myself. Under new leadership though, a new approach should be allowed to see if any of that sqaud can still do a job.
That is still in progress. Already the team have made progress.
I recall Martin O’Neill having to deal with Oliver Tebily, Rafael Scheidt, Eyal Berkovic and Mark Viduka among others. These particular players would leave at some stage in O’Neill’s debut season, but he played them if called upon even if it was merely to put them in the shop window.
Those who survived experienced a new era under a modern and legendary Celtic manager. If Brendan Rodgers can rubber stamp his own style by showing the same kind of ruthlessness, we could be onto something.
At this stage we have no idea how well this relationship will flourish. The spotlight is on Celtic stronger than ever.
To mark your arrival at Celtic with a solid victory over the club operating out of Ibrox would be significant milestone. No two managers are the same, but Celtic supporters will be looking for a sign of intent.