lol at Leckie, Mr. Personality Bypass himself.Rangers fans hailed Alfredo Morelos like a hero even though he blew their chances of beating Celtic says Bill Leckie.
The striker wasted several opportunities to give his side the lead and the fact that Gers fans celebrated the draw like a league win sums up where they are as a club
By Bill Leckie
ANY other day of the season, a big-money striker misses two sitters that glaring and the fans are calling for his head.
Yet somehow, amid the myopic madness of an Old Firm slugfest, Alfredo Morelos swaggered off the Parkhead turf with Rangers supporters hailing him a hero.
They chanted his name as he argued with the ref over a foul.
Stood and applauded him when he was subbed like he’d just rattled a hat-trick.
You know, rather than being the guy who had blown their chance of winning one of these games, just for once.
Seriously. No frontman will ever step on to two better crosses, in as much space, with the keeper so helpless and a massive derby hanging in the balance, only to fluff his lines both times.
The first chance he maybe gets the benefit of the doubt on, seeing as Craig Gordon instinctively shot out a leg, and deflected the downward header for a corner.
But even then, he could have picked his spot.
But as for the second?
Sorry, but the Colombian’s weedy waft of the napper at James Tavernier’s defence-splitting delivery pretty much summed up the rank-rotten quality of this whole messy affair.
Let’s not mince words here.
The fact Rangers and their 7,000-strong travelling support still ended up celebrating a win that got away as if they had just clinched the league pretty much sums up where both these clubs are right now.
Celtic? They were roundly booed at the end of 90 turgid minutes.
By the time Brendan Rodgers led them on a leg-weary lap of honour, three sides of the stadium were already two-thirds empty.
The sense of anti- climax as a magnificent year ended in mediocrity was all-consuming.
Over to the right of the main stand, though? Party time.
A bouncing, bawling mass of defiance, the full get-it-up-ye bit, faces contorted as they stood on their seats, arms outstretched, or pushed up against the yellow line of cops and stewards to yell across no man’s land.
Quite how anyone could get that worked up about a football match this poor is beyond me.
But I suppose when you have been as far out of the picture as Rangers have for this long, and when you’ve become as accustomed to rolling teams over as Celtic have, success and failure become relative concepts.
As ever, you watch and listen as it all unfolds — the venom, the hatred, the over-reaction to absolutely everything — and it’s weird to not give a monkey’s who wins.
It never has been and never will be a day for neutrals, for even-handedness, for logic.
The reaction of those Rangers fans to Morelos says it all.
It’s like they were saying ‘OK, so he might be a diddy, but he’s OUR diddy — and that’s what counts’!
Maybe when they went back to the pub or to their living rooms and watch the replays they will have cursed him.
But in the moment, it’s all so tribal out there, so ferociously Us and Them, that even the normally-unforgiveable is defended to the hilt.For me, that’s why this fixture never really improves as an actual football match.
But then again, when did that ever matter to any of them?It’s a fair bet plenty who were there would only really get an idea of what happened once they watched it back.At the time, it’s just a frenzy, a blur, and in this case, that lack of focus showed itself as much on the park as it did in the crowd.
They say it gets so loud out in the middle players can’t hear themselves think.
Which maybe explains why so much of what they did was so bloody brainless, a morass of misplaced passes and hoofed clearances.
Celtic in particular seemed to be locked in some sort of sensory deprivation chamber where they couldn’t co-ordinate minds to feet, all their usual style and pace replaced by a tension, a lack of ideas.
A mental and physical numbness; their skins saved by Gordon’s stop from that first Morelos header and, before then, a flying tip-over to deny Tavernier’s volley.
Celtic are more than overdue a lull after the exertions of that 69-game unbeaten domestic run, the thrill of clinching the Treble in the first season under Brendan Rodgers, and the graft of getting to and then trying to stay in the Champions League.
They have already played 38 games this season, 61 in the calendar year, and have looked for weeks like the winter break couldn’t come quick enough.
Yet they have still signed off with four clean sheets in the wake of THAT 4-0 humping from Hearts.
This was their eighth Old Firm game without defeat and it was only the second time since Rodgers arrived that they have failed to score in domestic competition.
Put that into perspective against the fact Rangers gave it everything they had yet still couldn’t get over the line and you know for sure whose shoes you’d rather be in.
I can feel the pain oozing out of this article!, which is nice!
Had yer hole yet, Billy Boy?