Julian Taylor: Comparing the fortunes of Rangers and Celtic today is like night and day in almost every element
For altogether different factors, neither might Neil Lennon, in all likelihood, as Celtic stopped working to introduce as soon as again with frustrating defeat in your home to A/C Milan.
Obviously it never ever helps when, in search of motivation, your biggest rivals are in the zone.
And while it would be an exaggeration to recommend there are a myriad of issues requiring immediate surgery for supervisor Lennon, it is clear a detach is covering his Celtic group.
As Rangers advance in their Europa League groove, the Light Blues’ stunning triumph in Belgium only intensifies the pressure for Celtic to land an informing blow themselves.
The Scottish champs will have to wait, following Thursday’s 3-1 house defeat versus Milan. Furthermore, a growing percentage of Celtic advocates are losing faith in Lennon – a practice most have problem with for apparent reasons – and this is all part of the surface. However, an anxious side, lacking imagination and without essential gamers such as Odsonne Edouard and James Forrest, catching Zlatan Ibrahimovic and business who are top of Serie A. what do you expect?
Then again, let’s take a look at a couple of workers choices which highlight the continuous, noteworthy contrasts between Celts and vibrant Rangers.
Lennon went all out for 2 gamers in essential positions: goalkeeper and centre-half. Up until now, Vasilis Barkas and Shane Duffy have actually not convinced at all. Barkas cost ₤ 5m – however the Greek is not commanding his charge location or making keynote conserves in vital matches. So much for hiring a private jet to haste him back to Glasgow from global duty.
On The Other Hand, Allan McGregor returns from injury and supplies robust reliability for Gers employer Gerrard, who likewise has deputy keeper Jon McLaughlin, a wise summertime signing.
Furthermore, from Rangers’ standpoint, there is the juicy irony of Celtic setting out ₤ 2m for a season-long loan and a huge wage in fluctuating Duffy, while his former Brighton team-mates Connor Goldson and Leon Balogun increase their track records at Ibrox. Both men dominate and have awareness, their unfussy diligence in rain-lashed Liege a great example – all at a portion of Derryman Duffy’s expense. Rangers’ recruitment is simply more educated and accurate at present, thus an unbeaten status throughout 11 Premiership games with just 3 objectives yielded.
In fairness, possibly Barkas and Duffy will emerge from this tough spell and prove their worth for Celtic – however not at the expense of losing important games while Rangers keep consistency. Celts – and, frankly, Lennon – just can not pay for to shilly-shally anymore. Today’s trip to Aberdeen, for that reason, undertakes an ominous texture. Win? Lennon can suggest his side are back on track, to a degree. Lose? Increased disgruntlement reaches even patient aspects of the support. Another prospective undesirable headache for the Northern Irishman, already rumoured to be on tetchy terms with some squad members, especially after his public criticism of them after being ejected from the Champions League by Ferencvaros.
Since that destructive defeat, Celtic have actually gotten victories without much colour sometimes, and fan concerns ahead of losing to Rangers proved to be well founded. Lennon, on the other hand, has still to provide a quality striker for Edouard. The jury remains out on the finalizings of Patryk Klimala and Albian Ajeti. Alternatively, Rangers have actually discovered techniques this season of not having to rely as much on Alfredo Morelos – indeed, revitalised captain James Tavernier is their leading scorer – and it shows.
For all that, sometimes distinctions whittle down to the fundamentals such as old-fashioned team-spirit.
Skittish Celtic sloped off the Parkhead pitch after losing to Milan, asking questions of themselves versus quality opposition, whereas Rangers showed they have a group ready to defend each other and their manager; witness how the gamers, virtually as one, got involved in a touchline stramash with Liege training personnel at the end of their outstanding 2-0 triumph.
Throughout all his stints at Celtic, as gamer and manager, Lennon has actually been no stranger to criticism. However, this existing state of mind music feels, in some way, specifically intense. A huge statement at Pittodrie is precisely what he requires for some breathing time.