PUB WISDOM

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Archive for Celtic

Rangers Unimpressed by Spendthrift Man City

Man City's money's no good at Ibrox.

Man City's money's no good at Ibrox.

Yeah, yeah, I know… it’s meaningless, just a friendly. You know what? I’ll take the Rangers 3-2 Manchester City result, meaningless or not. Read about the match here.

Pub Wisdom reckons that while Premiership sides that come North for friendlies will find a modicum of comfort in that alleged meaninglessness, the game was taken seriously on the pitch as no self-respecting English side wants to lose to a lowly Scots side, even if it is the reigning champs.

Goals by Nacho Novo and Kenny Miller set up late theatrics provided by wizened old Dave Weir. Must say, the juices are flowing for the campaign to start in earnest.

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Talk of Rangers Demise A Wee Bit Premature

It wasn’t long ago that Caley Thistle had lost eight straight matches and was destined to relagation. More recently, the Highlanders have lost only one in their last seven. Their latest coup, a one-nil victory over Rangers at Ibrox on Wednesday is a potentially mortal blow to Rangers’ title hopes that also sees Inverness off the bottom of the table, pushing Falkirk into the relegation spot. Whatever new gaffer and former Ranger Terry Butcher is doing — it’s working, mate.

Crying now, laughing later.

Crying now, laughing later.

And none are happier than the Hoops, once again alone at the top of the table after Rangers’ stumble put  them three points clear. After getting their asses handed to them more often than not

over the past several weeks, the Bhoys were no doubt stressed to see Rangers pull even on points and ahead on goal differential recently.

Pub Wisdom urges patience in these exciting times, lest anyone gets too hasty in writing off the Light Blues. A quick check of the remaining fixtures before the split reveals stern tests for Celtic against Dundee United, Hamilton, Hearts and Aberdeen along with only one walk-over against Falkirk. Rangers’ road over that stretch is decidedly friendlier with the hardest test against Hearts, with Hibs, ‘Well, and bottom-feeders Falkirk rounding out the fixtures. Much football to be played, ya?

Pub Wisdom wagers there are a few plot twists yet to unfurl this season. Only time will tell if the sloppy play against Butcher’s born-again Highlanders will prove to be the point at which this season’s valiant campaign crashed on the rocks.

Ready Rangers Storm Parkhead

Bring on the Bhoys.

Bring on the Bhoys.

Old Firm No. 3 kicks off on Sunday at Parkhead, site of Rangers’ victorious four-goal effort at the beginning of the season. Celtic returned the favor at Ibrox over the holidays, one-nil.

Every Old Firm match is huge. But as we eye the tail end of the title race, with Rangers trailing a flagging Celtic side by two points, this is a huge as it gets.

I’m partisan, no doubt, but I do feel Rangers have more momentum at the moment, more cohesion. Once leading by seven poiuts, Celtic’s left the door open for Rangers by stumbling its way through December and January. Celtic feels the pressure, no doubt, and Kris Boyd and Co. need to capitalize.

I feel a 1-1 draw in the cards for some reason, but I’m predicting a narrow Rangers away victory,  just to keep it sporting. If I’m right, Rangers will take over the top of the table by a single point.

Novo’s out, which is bad news since he seems to rise up in Old Firm ties. On the other hand, Kenny Miller’s fit. Can he recreate his double from his last effort at Parkhead? Who will step up? Let’s hope it’s not Scott MacDonald, Aiden McGeady or any of the other dangerous hoops hitmen.

Come on you Rangers.

Pub Wisdom Predicts: Celtic 1 – 2 Rangers

Hospitable Hoops Leave the Door Open for Rangers

Sweatin' It.

Strachan: Sweatin' It.

There was a  time at the end of November, with the Rangers’ early victory at Parkhead a distant memory, when it appeared that Celtic FC may never lose or draw another league game. Celtic went on a scorching streak, winning 12 straight SPL ties.

Many people — many pundits — began to sketch out the framework of the Rangers’ obit right about then, and sharpened their pencils once more after Celtic’s one-goal win at Ibrox over the holidays extended its lead at the top of the table to seven points.

But a new trend was being established, even as Celtic was galloping out to that seven-point lead. Over the course of December and January, Celtic went just 3-2-3 in league play and has allowed Rangers to creep back within two points of first place. It seems that Celtic is just as vulnerable of late as it was unbeatable earlier. No matter what face they put on — and three straight league titles gives them considerable confidence — you can bet the bhoys are sweating bhullets.  They couldn’t even muster a goal against Caley-Thistle’s listing side. It’s not like Terry Butcher’s mere presence changes the fact that this side is in relegation position at the bottom of the table.

Meanwhile, RFC’s team chemistry is well in balance even if its books are not as Rangers reached the end of the transfer window without giving up any of the key players from the core nucleus.

So the race for the SPL title is as close as you’d like as we begin to round the final corner and line up the home stretch, thanks to the gracious gift Celtic has given Rangers — new life. The Old Firm match on February 15 — the next SPL tie for both clubs — will be huge. But it will not ultimately determine the champion. Pub Wisdom sees plenty of dicey fixtures yet unplayed for both clubs, as the SPL’s second-tier is fiercer, hungrier, and more confident than it has been in recent memory with the gap between the Old Firm and the likes of Aberdeen, DUFC, Hearts, Hibs, and others is not as great as it once was.  Much drama is yet to unfold before a king is crowned.

Bye-Bye Boydy?

byebyeboydyFuggin’ell. I don’t know if I will ever get used to seeing my favorite Rangers head south. I really should, though. Since it seems to happen every time one of them starts shining. Pub Wisdom recalls Hutton and Cuellar  as recent heartbreakers.

It’s at the other side of the pitch this time, with that “enigmatic” striker Kris Boyd apparently in the market for a new flat in Birmingham after he got pissed off enough this season to work hard enough to convince Sir Walter he deserved a regular gig up front — which has resulted in a gaggle of goals.

Enigma? Not really. He’s a pure scorer — nothing mysterious about it. He just flat-out finds the back of the net.  And now, unless we Rangers supporters are incredibly lucky, he’ll be finding the back of the net for the Blues instead of the Light Blues.

Darcheville? Gone. Cousin? Gone. Now it’s bye-bye, Boydy. Our only hope is that Kenny catches fire and gets some help from the rest. Despite what the table says, Celtic is vulnerable this season. Rangers need Boydy’s departure like they need a hole in the head.

Fuggin’ell.

Scotland Bounces Back Thanks to Broadfoot’s “Limited Ability”

For a man on deadline, Roddy Forsyth spins quite the yarn — as usual — about Iceland 1-2 Scotland. The win released loads of pressure on the Scottish side and its boss George Burley, for whom the honeymoon is decidedly over. He’s had interesting personnel issues to deal with, but the team appears to be exhibiting some of the characteristics he’s striving for. Namely, more open, attacking football.

Rangers’ Kirk Broadfoot is laughing the loudest following the victory. After Burley classified the recent call-up as a player with “limited ability,” Broadfoot played solidly on defense (something Rangers observers will not be surprised to learn) but also neatly headed in a crisp cross from day-job archrival Barry Robson from Celtic — oh, the drama — to put the Scots up initially and send the Tartan Army into hysteria. This on the tails of the season’s first Old Firm match, in which Broadfoot featured prominently in Rangers’ drubbing of Celtic at Parkhead.

Scotland was up 2-0 for a fair stretch of this match and controlled most of it — and rightly so. It’s been blessed with a merciful group draw — all the more welcome after their tough grouping with Italy and France among others for Euro 08. Scotland better make the most of it while the makin’s good. It would be excruciating to sit through another, er,  Scot-free World Cup.

 The Scottish side must enter matches against the likes of Iceland the way France or Italy comes into Hampden Park, or any other pitch anywhere, really — with confidence, patience, and ruthless execution, pressing the competition from the start. They may lose, but they’re there to win. They believe they can win. They expect to win.

Now, enough said. Bring on the Norwegians. Damn… Next match isn’t until next month.

Carlos Cuts Out

Damn.

Double Damn. Carlos Cuellar, who positively locked down the Rangers defense last season, has done what was likely inevitable — get noticed by the Premiership. Following Alan Hutton’s lead, another key member of RFC’s defense has moved on up to the Premier League with the announcement that Cuellar came to terms to play for Aston Villa this season.

After last season’s successful run, one has to ask why Cuellar was so anxious to get outta Glasgow. It could be the early exit from the Champions League or his assessment of the Light Blues prospects this year. Pessimists might put more stock in these notions than I do. Me? I think it simply comes down to the fact that he couldn’t resist the temptation to play on the world’s biggest stage.

Damn. Carlos, you will be missed. You quickly became a favorite and enstilled supreme confidence back there. Part of me wishes you well. The other part hopes you get lost in the shuffle and forgetten amidst the mediocrity in the middle of the Premier League pack, and that you’ll secretly — or not so secretly — regret your decision.