Masterful

First we’d heard that they were coming. Then that they’d closed the gap.

Except that on Sunday it looked anything but that. I don’t think I’ve seen a more dominant Celtic performance.

The scoreline didn’t reflect Celtic’s authority in this match. It flattered the visitors to be quite frank.

Willie Collum marshalled the game with alarmingly poor judgement. So much so that he even convinced Steven Gerrard that the visitors were “done” by one such decision.

Refereeing these matches are rarely done with accuracy. Collum was horrendously incompetent.

Scott Brown went into the book in the 10th minute. He slid into a challenge without touching the player or the ball.

There was no danger in the attempt, which looked more of a block than a tackle, yet Collum booked him without hesitation. Moments earlier, Kyle Lafferty should’ve gone in the book, but he walked away unchecked.

It was clear how this game was going to be handled. Badly.

One of Collum’s most bizarre decisions was tool book Odsonne Edouard. The French striker stumbled under the challenge of an opponent and subsequently clattered into another.

Collum produced a yellow card to which the family and friends I watched the game with were totally perplexed. If anything, it should have been a foul on Edouard outside the box.

The referee was Steven Gerrard’s only hope because his side offered very little. The first half saw his team sit in like many visiting clubs do at Celtic Park.

Gerrard claimed that his team didn’t make a go of it until the second half. Well I think most people would agree that it was his plan to sit in and defend.

That is certainly how it was looking. The excuses from the new manager were beginning to stack up.

His tactical deployment meant wave after wave of attack by Celtic. It didn’t yield any goals in that half as Celtic were denied by the woodwork and the heroics of Allan McGregor.

What was not so heroic by the former goalkeeper of Oldco and now Newco, was his kick out at Kris Ajer. It was off camera at the time, but a replay showed it in on Sky.

The player wasn’t spoken to or booked for the incident. It will be interesting to see if a disciplinary panel take a look at it though I won’t hold my breath.

McGregor was booked later on, but that was a separate incident. Realistically, there should have been more cards dished out and a genuine penalty claim for Celtic.

Once the Ibrox side finally committed to an attacking move, Celtic swept forward and punished them for it. The ball broke outside the Celtic box and Rogic won a 50/50 ball.

He then marched half the length of the park. Having found Edouard approaching the opposition penalty box, the Frenchman then tapped it wide to Forrest running to his right.

The winger squared it for Ntcham who finished superbly. This was a great move and finish.

Gerrard bemoaned the referee’s decision not to award free kick from the moment his side’s move broke down. This was by no means a foul.

It was a 50/50 ball where his own player was weak or trying to win a free kick in a dangerous area. As a result that failed and Celtic capitalised.

Celtic have been called a wounded animal recently. We’ve also seen comments such as the “bubble has burst.”

We’ve had some negative headlines for sure. Some of them have even been true.

My last blog had “window of discontent” in the title. I stick by that not because of our transfers, but because of the spate dramas that engulfed the club during that period.

Thankfully, we seemed to have moved on as shown in the response and quality of performance on Sunday. As I’m sure many of you will agree, there will be one eye on that next transfer window.

More concerning was the crush that happened before the match yesterday. Certain passages had been cut off to Celtic fans yesterday for areas of the ground which would normally be accessible.

This caused a build up of fans trapped with more  being allowed to pile in. This shouldn’t happen in the modern-day.

Celtic and Police Scotland are investigating the matter. It’s clear there have been failings by one or both parties.

Hopefully those who were injured recover fully. These incidents can be traumatising.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

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