The great philosopher Michael Beale claimed recently that his group of players is every bit as good as Ange Postecoglou’s title winning Celtic squad.
This statement is woefully inaccurate.
And if we needed any sort of proof as to just how wide of the mark Beale was, then the second half substitutions in yesterday’s Glasgow Derby tell its own story.
In the latter stages of the second half, and at 2-1 up in the game, Rangers looked to their bench for the men who could see them over the line in a fight they so desperately had to win.
The three warriors that Beale opted for on this occasion were Ryan Jack, Scott Wright and James Sands.
The dictionary defines the word ‘uninspiring’ as “not producing excitement or interest”.
I cannot think of a more accurate term for how the home support must have felt at the introduction of these particular three amigos.
ANGE PLAYS HIS HAND
Celtic by contrast made their first moves of the second half just after the hour mark.
On came Liel Abada – a young player with three goals against Rangers on his CV already – along with Aaron Mooy, fresh from his standout performances with Australia at the World Cup.
Around fifteen minutes after that, Ange Postecoglou then played his last two cards of the day.
For Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate tehir day’s work was done , and in their place stepped the mercurial Jota, and last season’s Scottish Premiership Top Goalscorer, Giorgos Giakoumakis.
Beale and Rangers could only dream of having such options available to them.
A GOAL MADE ON THE CELTIC BENCH
With the clock reading 87 mins and 6 seconds, Jota collects a Carl Starfelt pass on the left hand touchline, around 25 yards from the Rangers goal.
With a shimmy of his right boot he makes his way infield past the hapless James Tavernier and slots a pass to fellow sub Aaron Mooy who had made his way into the Rangers penalty area.
Mooy himself gets the turn on Ryan Jack and looks to find Jota who has kept his run going.
Despite Jack’s best attempts the ball find it’s way into the 6 yard box where Giorgos Giakoumakis displays all his battling qualities and suddenly the ball is in front of the league’s top goalscorer just 8 yards from goal.
The rest is now Glasgow Derby history as Kyogo claimed his fifteenth league goal of the campaign, and his first against Rangers.
The fact that three of Celtic’s substitutes on the day combined to create the moment cannot be underestimated.
(Just for fun, we should also point out that Liel Abada was waiting to pounce had Kyogo not been there at the time).
Players will come and go at Celtic this January, of that we can be sure.
And whilst it may be the end of the road here for players such as Juranovic, Giakoumakis and others we can trust that Ange and his support staff are continuing in their relentless pursuit of making our already formidable squad even stronger.
A squad that’s currently the best in the country by some distance.