Saturday, 14 May 2011

Just Another Helecopter Sunday

Celtic’s event filled win on Wednesday night meant that once again, and for the seventh time in the last 20 years, the league championship will go to the last day of the season.  Whatever happens on Sunday the curtain will come down on the Rangers career of the Rangers Manager Walter Smith.  It could also bring a first domestic trophy for the Celtic manager Neil Lennon.

Lennon’s first season as Celtic manager has been a mixed one.  The Celtic team is now playing some good football, having been much changed from the Tony Mowbray led side from last season.  Yet for all of the good football that Celtic have produced, there have still been mistakes and lapses of judgement.  This Celtic team looks flakey at times, it lacks fortitude.  They should be ahead of Rangers and they should already have a trophy in the locker already.  Lacking fortitude is an old failing of Celtic teams.  Fortitude and Andy Gormam denied Tommy Burns one maybe two Scottish Championships. 

The other thing that has not helped Celtic this season is the attitude of Lennon himself, who has shown himself to be the most divisive figure in Scottish Football since Souness arrived a quarter of a century ago.  Whether it is losing it at Tynecastle in November, or railing against referees, Lennon has not really covered himself in glory.  Lennon cannot do that, and has to learn not to.  If anything because it does affect how the team plays, its no coincidence that Celtic were very shaky when they visited Greenhill Road – at the height of the referees controversy.  That’s not to say that he has deserved the bullets or the bombs or what happened at Tynecastle on Wednesday.  However I think that the events of Wednesday night have cemented Lennon’s position, no matter what happens on Sunday, as Celtic manager at the start of next season.

Rangers though are in the pound seat to win the Championship.  A point ahead, a win will see their first hat trick of championships since Smith’s first time in charge.  Smith’s sides have always been based on the foundations of being hard to beat allied with mental toughness; even the Laudrup & Gascoigne sides had incredible mental toughness.  That the championship is still up for grabs now is probably down to Smith’s know how and the fortitude he has instilled in his teams.  Not being able to bring in new faces has also helped, as the squad is now used to playing with each other.

I think Rangers will win on Sunday, putting the Championship out of the reach of Celtic.  I would hope though that both Kilmarnock & Motherwell have a say in the championship before the destination is revealed.

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