As Rangers smashed Celtic on their own patch the narrative from some quarters has tried to suggest that the Ibrox side were playing a Parkhead reserve team.
But no matter how much some want to delude themselves otherwise, this is simply a major deflection from their on and off pitch failings.
The Celtic Park side were without several key men in Rangers’ 2-0 win as the likes of Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie missed out through Covid-19 related issues.
James Forrest and Christopher Julien would’ve also likely started and missed out through injury, whilst back-up Israeli duo Hatem abd Elhamed and Nir Biton also tested positive for Covid.
But with Celtic’s squad being continuously bummed up in the press – and Rangers experiencing injuries themselves – fans questioned this narrative going into the match.
But whether or not Celtic fans want to try to present this squad as a reserve team is completely by the by – the fact is it wasn’t and isn’t.
Kris Ajer was being touted for a £15m move to AC Milan or Liverpool earlier in the summer.
Diego Laxalt – for some reason praised in the match despite being so obviously targeted by Rangers to much success – cost AC Milan over £12m [Calcio Mercato].
Jeremie Frimpong is a player potentially worth £50m if you listen to Danny McGrain.
Mo Elyounoussi cost Southampton £16m [BBC Sport], Patryk Klimala is verging on expensive flop territory having been a £3.5m [Daily Mail] winter panic buy last season and having done little since arriving in Scotland.
Stephen Welsh aside – who was so obviously out of his depth but performed admirably – this was a Celtic team with enough experience and value to expect them to at least compete with Rangers.
Any suggestion otherwise is just a blatant deflection of their failings in the transfer market and the position they find themselves in now, albeit coming off the back of 11 straight trophies.
The reality is, they were miles off it. Rangers strolled this game, Steven Gerrard’s men hardly getting out of third gear.
What’s more, no one is surprised.
As Rangers worked their way back into title contention over the last decade this Celtic team and their fans have glorified in the scuddings of Phillipe Senderos, Myles Beerman, Lee Hodson et al.
Back then, Rangers could only have dreamed of a squad consisting of the kind of investment made into that XI which played us at the weekend.
This was no reserve team, this was Celtic, and Old Firm game by Old Firm game, Rangers are beginning to realise that they’re not quite the team that plenty try and make out.
Rangers have overtaken their rivals, are better in every department, and now just need to prove we’ve got the guts to go the distance with the excuses already coming thick and fast across the city.