A packed press room. Rangers PR guru, Jim Traynor, sticks his head through the door and says no players and no manager would be up for any interviews. Silence and some incredulous looks from the journalists present. But Traynor was just protecting his staff on this occasion. Putting them in front of a microphone would have been like leading a succulent lamb to the slaughter.
Soon enough, the winning manager was in the room.
‘These games are full of emotion, aren’t they?’
Well, Brendan, they used to be. I remember that stomach churning feeling that would start a few days before a Glasgow Derby match. No matter what form Celtic had been in going into these battles there was a chance we could lose a sloppy goal or a dodgy decision would go their way or a key player’s registration would be held up for some reason.
But now…nothing. The fear factor has gone. I still love beating them but it’s not quite the same without that nervous knot in my stomach that makes the burst of emotion when we score even more of a euphoric high.
‘For us and our fans it was a special day to wrap up the title.’
The club’s first title win against a club named Rangers in 39 years is something to be cherished. From the kick-off the players were up for it and the crowd responded accordingly.
‘The title this year is definitely better than last year, although we were unbeaten then. There was expectation, of course, but to have last season and come into this season with very little break to then perform like we have done, for quite a number of games, under pressure, we’ve did that very well.’
Last year was phenomenal, a once in a lifetime season…or so we thought. It’s ridiculous to think we are only one afternoon at Hampden away from another Treble.
Technically I’m a Celtic Da.
I remember the 90s. I remember watching Tommy Burns’ sides cruelly beaten despite playing the better football only to be thwarted by Andy feckin Goram. I remember thousands of Caley Thistle fans celebrating as they put Celtic out the Cup and John Barnes out of work. I remember being the Token Tim in my best friend’s house watching the Old Firm games because we didn’t have Sky. These experiences make days like today even more special.
‘What is the record score?…No. No. We should have had 7. But we’ll take 5.’
It seems Rodgers wanted to use this match as a statement (and we all love a statement. Especially Traynor). He wanted his team to be aggressive and attacking today. He wanted his team to win the league in style, playing good football. It’s not often you hear him speaking so candidly about an opponent. It just shows you how far they have fallen when we’re disappointed not to take 7 goals off them.
‘We’ll improve next year, we have to improve. This group of players are doing absolutely brilliant. I only want to work with players that are coachable, willing to learn and are hungry. The players can now enjoy this for a few days but we have a league campaign to finish and we have a Cup final which we are really looking forward to.’
Is that a dig? ‘Coachable, willing to learn and are hungry.’ Patrick Roberts hasn’t been seen for a while as it looks like he will be heading back to Manchester, never to return. Could it be Leigh Griffiths? Has Rodgers patience ran out with the East Coast hitman who is still waiting for playing time and the chance to reach 100 goals for Celtic? Or could it be a statement of intent? Will the players we bring in over the summer be more talented young projects?
One such talented young project is Odsonne Edouard.
‘He’s a brilliant player. Some of you guys in the media and the press have been questioning his ability but this is a player that was brought in for a reason. At 19 years of age he has everything, and I mean everything. Pace. Power. You see his strength. His ability with the ball at his feet. He’s got a natural brain for football; he comes into the space, he can play off of the side. What I think he’s grown into is that he’s become really physical this season. His 2 goals and his link up play was absolutely sensational for a you guy in that type of environment.’
His faith in French Eddy™ has been well founded. Big goals in big games against Rangers have now endeared him to the Celtic fans. Louis McCaffrey from this site’s own podcast is so convinced by Edouard’s talent that he has backed Peter Lawwell to stump up the reported €7M clause in his contract to make his stay in Glasgow permanent.
Edouard was terrific today. So good he made you forget that Moussa Dembélé was injured and Griffiths was on the bench. The good news is that he feels the same. Speaking through his interpreter he said:
‘I love this club. If the decision was up to me I’d like to stay but I can only do so much.’
Très bien, Français Eddy.
Forget about all the Arsenal speculation. Brendan Rodgers still has plenty of work left to do in Glasgow. Hopefully we’ll have at least one talented young French striker at the club after the summer.