This was one of the better Glasgow derbies, one feels, and although theRangers played a great deal better than they did in the recent League Cup final, and one has to agree with Michael Beale that they were always in the game, nevertheless, the result was the right one, and Celtic definitely deserve tonight to be 12 points clear, needing only another three victories to guarantee the League.
Celtic’s goals were good ones. Goal two and goal three were well taken opportunistic goals, and goal one was an absolutely superb piece of football. In Kyogu we really have something, his ability to take a goal reminiscent of Henrik Larsson. The two goals that we lost needn’t have been – Matt O’Riley was possibly a bit too rash in his tackle, and Alistair Johnston spoiled an otherwise almost perfect performance by a failure to mark Tavernier at the back post.
The worst man on the field was, by some distance Kevin Clancy. He didn’t make any spectacular bloomer in terms of penalty kicks, and he was certainly correct to disallow Morelos’s goal in the first half, but he was consistently wrong in his calls for free kicks, corner kicks and even throw ins, and more or less always gave theRangers the benefit of the doubt.
We all know that Kevin is not one of the referees who play flutes, shake hands in a funny way and roll up their trouser legs. His background is totally different, and several times I have felt that he bends over backwards to seem to be fair. But at least VAR did not spoil our afternoon.
The atmosphere in the ground was quite something, the rendering of “Grace” by 60,000 being particularly impressive. The backing of the players was clearly much appreciated as well, and I loved what Callum McGregor said in his interview that it was important to make so many people happy when they go back to their work on Monday. There is a symbiosis of player and fan here which has been encouraged by Ange, and although by no means unique, it does make Celtic a “special” team. And even the weather was good!
So, where are we now? Basically, all we have to do is to keep calm and win three games. No-one is going to get too premature, but…we have reason to be optimistic!
Does today’s result affect the dating and timing of the return game at Ibrox? Everyone has been telling me that it will be 6 May, but it may now make sense to play it later when the issue has been (we hope) settled. Much as we would like to win the title at Ibrox, it may not go down too well the natives. There are two other factors. One that we will be only one week on from the semi final, and the other is that 6 May is Coronation Day!
My money would now be on somewhere nearer the end of May – but who knows? it now looks like the others in the top six will be Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs and St Mirren.
But well done, Celtic, and a good game today!