Mind the Gap – Another big chasm could emerge between Glasgow rivals

Chris Sutton in his latest column in Daily Record reckons that Celtic have a tremendous opportunity to widen the gap on theRangers this summer, to take it back to the situation that Brendan Rodgers walked into in 2016.

Rodgers took over as Celtic manager from Ronny Deila and theRangers eventually made it into the top league in Scottish football after completing their start-up journey from the old Scottish Third Division to reach the Scottish Premiership.

Moussa Dembele takes away the match ball having scored 3 of the 5 goals during the  Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and theRangers at Celtic Park on September 10, 2016. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

Twice that season Celtic battered theRangers 5-1, in the first meeting at Celtic Park then in the post split fixture at Ibrox, and that was Celtic’s second victory over the latest Ibrox club at the ground that was purchased five years earlier by founding father Charles Green.

This 5-1 thrashing set the ball in motion for the dramatic reduction and eventual ban on away supporters at Glasgow Derby matches. The origins of that ban came via theRangers supporters being sickened at the thrashings Celtic’s elite manager Brendan Rodgers was now dishing out. This post on the Follow Follow website is where the reduction in away numbers at Glasgow Derby matches started:

This letter epitomises the campaign to stop us getting into Ibrox This was taken from Follow Follow after Celtic’s 5-1 victory at Ibrox 2017 it shows their fans feelings is a contributing reason for our reduced ticket allocation. A Churchillian speech, heavily edited to cut out the abundance of offensive sectarian remarks.

theRangers 1-5 Celtic – The Blackest Day   

Never again should we give (Celtic) the whole stand never. We’ve lost this, our board has had the attitude that we should put the last five years behind us and consequently they were never going to listen to the most important people concerned with Rangers Football Club, namely its fans.

After the most humiliating experience in my life as a Rangers fan EVER, the least that the club that I will eternally love can do is to never again allow that horde of barbarian, anti-British scum, that howling rancid army going through their repertoire from the Republican songbook anywhere near Ibrox Stadium.

The saddest thing is that, as we all know, it will never happen. I’d thought that after the last five years we’d have grown a spine, but to our eternal shame we have accepted the shafting and carried on as if nothing had ever happened.

Utterly shameful to witness those scenes inside OUR STADIUM today. I really believe we lost more than a football match today, we surrendered our dignity and soul. Utterly shameful, in my lifetime I doubt that I’ll ever see retribution for this blackest day. Thank you, David Murray, the man who walked away, I won’t waste any time in speculating your reaction to today’s event because you probably weren’t aware it was happening.

So back to the point Chris Sutton has been making, which includes a cheeky little remark about the current building work problems that has rendered Ibrox unplayable for the first few months of the season,” Sutton stated.

“Brendan Rodgers had a gulf between him and Rangers first time around. If Celtic get it right this summer having been pushed for a spell by the Ibrox club last season, he has a big chance to create another chasm.

“Stage two of Rodgers’ second spell is fully underway with the team returned for pre-season training and the manager in a far-better place than 12 months ago. It couldn’t have been easy for him last summer. He knew some people didn’t want him back, but he promised to be back at the stadium in May with the title trophy and duly delivered it along with a Scottish Cup.

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“He backed his words up and, having conjured that Double, there’s no need for him to say anything this summer. European progression was also on his agenda and, although I’m not sure there were as many advances made in the Champions League as some people would have you believe, it remains a real motivation.

“If Rodgers and Celtic make the right moves over the next couple of months, they have a real chance to both blow Rangers away and also make that elusive mark again when facing the continent’s elite. Let’s get it right, you should never look over the fence. What Rangers are doing isn’t Celtic’s concern. They have to mind their own business and they will. But, to those of us on the outside, it seems there’s a golden opportunity to hammer home an advantage over their biggest rivals,” Sutton noted.

“Winning that title last season has whacked another £40 million into the Parkhead coffers and, at the same time, kept it out of the Ibrox piggy bank. That has a serious effect on what the respective clubs can do in this transfer market and gives Celtic a huge chance to stride further ahead. Philippe Clement needs to rebuild his squad and he’s not being helped by the fact that his bosses don’t seem so clever when it comes to rebuilding parts of the stadium.”

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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