A WARM welcome to FEEDBACK FRIDAY, our column that invites the fans’ views, frank or frivolous, candid or controversial, blunt or brutal, as you let off steam with your observations, comments and opinions.
The weekend starts here, so let’s see what has been interesting, intriguing or even irking Scotzine readers.
Strap yourself in, please, we’re in for a bumpy ride.
There are no prizes for guessing which two teams dominate proceedings today. Celtic and Rangers are in sharp focus, so let’s start with Andy Wilson who has BBC Sportscene pundit Stephen Thompson in his crosshairs.
“I was interested to listen to Thompson’s verdict after the midweek results,” says Andy. “It didn’t seem that long ago he was tipping his old club Rangers to break Celtic’s monopoly of the Premiership and there would be celebrations all the way in Govan in May.
“Like the good pundit he is, Thompson has now performed a remarkable somersault in his thinking and, unless my TV set needs adjusting, I didn’t even see him blush in the slightest when he veered onto a vastly different path last night.
“I noted he said: ‘Obviously, there is a lot of football to be played, but I do not see Rangers coming back, making up that points deficit’. And he added: ‘They’ve continued to perform badly and, for me, they’ve thrown it away’.
“Thrown what away, Thommo? The title? They didn’t have the title to throw away. The only team who can throw away the title are Celtic, the only ones with the title. Or had you forgotten that little fact in the fall-out of December’s euphoria?”
Ed answers: You’re quite right, Andy. Maybe Thompson meant Rangers had thrown away the chance to compete for the crown? And, then again, maybe he didn’t.
Okay, next up we have our old chum Paddy the Maddy who reckons three evergreen Celts will make sure the championship will reside in the east end of Glasgow for at least another year.
He says: “Celtic should get special medals struck for Scott Brown, Callum McGregor and James Forrest. Once again, they have been the backbone of the side as they hurtle towards a silverware clean sweep for the fourth successive season. How unbelievable is that? Amazing!
“They have seen the likes of Kieran Tierney, Virgil Van Dijk, Victor Wanyama, Moussa Dembele, Dedryk Boyata and Mikael Lustig all depart since the start of the tremendous title-winning sequence.
‘THE TERRIFIC TIC TRIO’…Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Scott Brown congratulate Leigh Griffiths after his goal against Motherwell.
“But those three, known to me and my mates as ‘The Terrific Tic Trio’, have remained to continue to get the job done.
“Not only that, but they have been three of the team’s most consistent and reliable performers and I shudder to think what would happen if all three were out of action at the same time.
“With these guys around, it’s certain to be nine-in-a-woe for Gers. And just look at their medal haul. They’ve been decorated more often that The Queen’s front room.”
Ed answers: Not sure, Paddy, how you know the refurbishment schedule at Buckingham Palace, but I’ll take your word for it. Anyway, a fitting tribute to three excellent professionals. By the way, you missed out Saidy Janko, Nadir Ciftci, Derk Boerrigter, Carlton Cole and Stefan Scepovic from your list of players who have moved on.
Another old friend, Philip Drysdale, read Scotzine’s story yesterday about the mixed fortunes of the Glasgow sides since the turn of the year and he says succinctly: “CELTIC 18 RANGERS 10. That was EMPHATIC and that totally sums it up.”
Ed answers: It’s quite an astonishing statistic when you see it put like that, Philip. Celtic have won all six of their league games while Rangers have won only three and drawn one.
Not quite so chirpy are fans across Glasgow. First up, is Natalie Simpson who asks: “Am I the only one who believes Joe Aribo is nothing more than one of football’s precious showponies?
“He looks great when the team is dominating and winning, but when he’s asked to dig in and it’s a back-to-the-walls job he simply pulls on his cloak of invisibility. I’d send him back to England. Pronto!”
Ed answers: A bit harsh, Natalie. Let’s see how Aribo answers the manager’s rallying call between now and the end of the campaign.
Now we have Richie Anderson venting his spleen as he takes aim at Ryan Kent. “Where did he go at Rugby Park on Wednesday?” he enquires. “I’m sure I saw him flitting in and out of the game. Where was his 90-minute presence?
“Steven Gerrard paid £7million to sign him from Liverpool in the summer and we were reassured he was going to be the game-changer. Really? I didn’t see much evidence against Killie. A waste of money we don’t have to squander on someone who appears to pick and choose the matches in which he is going to perform.”
Ed answers: Rangers played in red the other night, Richie. Maybe Kent thought he was back with Liverpool reserves?
Connor Goldson doesn’t escape the ire of the Ibrox followers, either. Sandra Newbigging points out: “Steven Gerrard said it was schoolboy defending for Killie’s winning goal and who could argue with the manager?
“Goldson’s attempt to cut out the danger was totally lacking in conviction and he looked as though he had taken up football that day. He had got used to Nicola Katic winning every high ball and he left him to deal with the keeper’s long kick-out.
“When the Killie player got up before Katic to glance the ball into the tracks of Eamonn Brophy, Goldson had already switched off. That was all his opponent needed to take and touch or two before firing the winner behind the exposed Allan McGregor.”
Ed answers: A hard lesson learned, Sandra. A reasonable observation, too.
John McCarthy is quick to come to the defence of the Rangers manager. “Steven Gerrard is getting hammered for telling the truth,” he insists. “People are complaining that he is throwing his players under the bus with some of his remarks. He is only repeating what the fans are saying.
“It’s obvious our manager has played most of his years at a higher standard and he wants his players to reach that level, too. What’s wrong with ambition?
“We all know Rangers are better than their performances since they came back from the break. We saw that quality in the last two games against Celtic. So, what on earth has gone wrong since returning to action?
“They were well on top against Killie before letting them back into the game. And even Sherlock Holmes would be stumped to find out what went wrong against Hearts at Tynecastle.
“Give Stevie G a break. He only wants what is best for Rangers and if he voices his opinions they should be respected.”
Ed answers: Next step for the boss could be to pull on the boots, John.
Jimmy Rankin isn’t a happy chappy, either. “I’ve read umpteen match reports about Kilmarnock v Rangers. Every single one of them is all about Rangers losing and not about Kilmarnock winning. How about some credit where credit is due? It was a magnificent fightback from Killie. We’re on the match with Alex’s Army!”
Ed answers: Yes, you are quite right, Jimmy. Killie deserve a lot of praise for the way they responded. I would watch out with that little ditty, by the way. The last time I heard supporters singing it it went along the lines of ‘We’re on the march with Ally’s Army’. That was back in 1978 during the World Cup Finals in Argentina. I seem to recall it didn’t end well.
Someone calling himself Fed-Up Freddie gets straight to the point. “Hearts must bring back Craig Levein,” he insists. “Daniel Stendel is useless. No wonder that football super power Barnsley sacked him in October.”
Ed answers: Results show he may become known as Desperate Dan, but I have a feeling he may have something to offer. Watch this space!
On that cheerful note, folks, I have to admit time has beaten us for another week. Thank you once again for your shrewd observations. Please ktc and ktc – keep them coming and keep them clean – and we’ll use the best of them in FEEDBACK FRIDAY. As ever, enjoyable spending time in your company. Thanks for your support and have a wonderful weekend wherever the action may take you. See you the same place next week!
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