No matter the type of match, a Rangers and Celtic clash will have plenty of talking points. One like this, with loads of goals, mistakes and implications on league positions, has obviously loads to discuss. Below, I take a look at some of the more prominent talking points and reactions.
THE RED CARD
In the heat of the game, it’s difficult to judge rationally when it comes to a decision like the Simunovic red card. I was obviously convinced it was correct at the time, but rather quickly asked some friends who would see replays for their thoughts. The overriding feeling was that it could be seen as harsh, but still justifiable. I don’t believe the intent was to elbow Morelos, more just to hold him off. That doesn’t excuse the crime, though, so the red was fair.
What is clear, however, is just how little our referees are helped by the media. It was the assistant referee who made this decision, helping out Collum who had no chance of being close to the incident. That’s something to be praised, especially when it’s the right call. But in true Scottish Mainstream Media fashion, the headlines point to the politics and alleged motives of the man who made the call and turn it into a negative. It’s a ridiculous way to report the incident.
Despite a real upturn in performances since January, this game was always going to be one Murty was judged on. He’s taken a lot of flak for not making a substitution earlier, or for playing with such an attacking side. I believe both things were justified, and those are points which require a fuller debate. The biggest thing from this is that many who were happy with how things were going have turned negative. I’m of the opinion that individual mistakes decided the result in this match. I can understand why some are more focused on the manager. What does seem harsh is to level any and all criticism at his feet for how this result went. Celtic are a stronger, more stable team at this point in time, and we gave them a really good game. When you read people saying “all I want is for us to have a real go”, then see the same people throw the toys out of the pram because we lose, it’s frustrating.
Big matches are where players are judged the most. Whether that’s fair or not is a decent debate, but it’s the way of things and it won’t change. Morelos played well in many respects, but he’ll only be remembered for the sitter at the end. He knows that, hence why he was so gutted leaving the park at full time. For many fans, it’s something that will be hard to forgive.
But as is the nature of hindsight judgement, the question being asked is whether he should have started in the first place. I think the answer to that is a clear yes. His movement, strength and link up play caused Celtic problems for most of the match. Cummings has a bit of that in his game, but isn’t as good at it. Those thinking Cummings would have done better with chances are missing the fact that the chances wouldn’t have been created in the same way.
MORE RANGERS STORIES
Debate will rage on about Murty, certain players and all the rest. That’s the beauty of being a football fan. One thing we need to be sure of, though, is to notice the recent improvements and build upon them. There was a frustration in this defeat, but it can’t be the basis of any big decisions.
We have the cup semi-final to look forward to. With players coming back from injury, Rangers will be a little stronger going in to that. Celtic will feel the same way. Rangers can take some confidence from their performance, work hard on what needs to improve, and look to make amends come the 15th of April.
Anything you’d like to discuss from the match? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!