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Celtic and Rangers ensure an exciting end to the season

Vaseline 3 months ago

ONE of them has the Treble in mind.

The other still to dream of a double.

Glasgow’s big two face each other twice next monthCredit: Willie Vass
But Bill thinks the Old Firm agents should tell some of their stars to pack their bags quicklyCredit: PA

And who ends up with what all amounts to two heavyweight clashes in the room of fourteen days next one month.

A titanic end to the domestic season? It certainly is.

But especially because half of the players involved would have to man the lifeboats once the final whistle blows on May 25.

For if this weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-finals have proven nothing else, it is certain that the quality of the Old Firm squads who will divide all the silverware between them will not come close to the drama that comes as a tornado.

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Celtic were almost hammered by a relegation-chased Aberdeen team on Saturday before almost getting away with it on penalties.

Rangers? They felt much more comfortable against Hearts, with all the hitting power of the Venus di Milo, but heavy weather They still weren’t fooling anyone by putting the tie to bed.

So let’s be sure to mention their upcoming double-header at the Parkhead and Hampden heavyweight showdowns.

Make no mistake, though. I use the word in the context of the current heavyweight boxingwhere buxom journeymen pose as real contenders in fights that amount to three weeks of trash talk, followed by a few rounds of bitch-slapping that would have Ali and Frazier rolling in their graves.

This is what Scotland’s two biggest hitters feel and look like at the moment.

Faint imitations of the players and the teams upon which their forever intertwined histories were built.

They’re still better than anything else our game has to offer, there’s no doubt about that.

Moment Rod Stewart makes young Celtic fan’s day as he poses for a photo ahead of the Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen

Then again, so they should be damn good with the budgets they need work with and the support that follows them wherever they go.

Yet it must feel foreign be one of those supporters this morningto simultaneously whine about trophies and bragging rights and all that kind of stuff, and at the same time be as fed up with the drudgery and the smut and the joke they pay for as so many of them clearly are watching every week.

I wasn’t at Hampden on Sunday, but on Saturday the overwhelming emotion around three-quarters of the stadium when Joe Hart saved Killian Phillips’ final penalty was one of pure relief.

Thirty thousand Hoops punters knew they could get away with it, which might have been fine if they had come down the Hoops’ side. At home straight out of a campaign where they swept everyone before them the way they did it the first time under Brodge or the way it went during Ange’s two years.

But they aren’t. Their team has gotten away with it for more weeks than they have driven around with it.

They stuttered and stumbled against rivals they wiped the floor with this time last year.

They got themselves where they are by just doing enough.
A phrase that you might as well apply Rangers, That. Just do enough.

Certainly, after the week they have just experienced – four crucial points out of six have fallen to Ross County and Dundee – just about enough was enough on a day when, like any semi-final, all that mattered was winning.

It wasn’t impressive though, from either of them. It makes you wonder what’s going through the minds of Rodgers and his opponent Philippe Clement when it all comes to the sticky point.

You wonder what their speech to the Dressing room will be once the medals have been awarded on the day of the cup final and the end of the season is in sight.

Will it be: “Brilliant guys. Yours pophave a great one summer and we’ll see that soon you’ll feel like doing it all again.

Or: “It was emotional, guys. Until some of you next month… the rest of you, all the best for the future.”

If either manager is serious about raising their standards in August, for me it should definitely be the latter.

There certainly needs to be a huge clean-up at both clubs.

One of Rodgers or Clement will have the last laugh this seasonCredit: Alamy

Celtic need two goalkeepers, at least one centre-back, another left-back, a midfielder who can take the load from Callum McGregor, most likely a playmaker to replace Matt O’Riley, two effective wingers instead of the six sand dancers they rotate between and one – if not two – strikers.

Rangers may also need a goalkeeper as the vultures circle the reborn Jack Butland, two centre-backs, a left-back and several more mobile midfielders, a wide man who doesn’t look inside all the time and probably two strikers.

That’s a lot of scouting and spending to do, not to mention the sheer volume of sales.

If they haven’t identified the right guys and are well on their way to getting them offers Overall they are selling their fans short.

Because while I may occasionally chastise those fans for an attitude that goes beyond their self-righteousness, there is no doubt that they have the right to demand more for their money than they have maintained this season.

Will one or both of them be insufferable in their “getting up” if or when they do? seal the league and/or the cup?

It’s a question that hardly needs to be answered, of course they will.

Triumphism is how they roll. Seeing the other suffer is almost as good as, if not better than seeing their own celebration.

But certainly, once the dust settles and the broken glass is swept away Glasgow city ​​center, no amount of schadenfreude can do that failure does not outweigh the realization that in terms of footballit was all quite unsatisfactory.

There’s a big, new shiny Champions League to play for, with more games and more wealth than ever.

Unless both of these gangs prepare for it like never before, they might as well stay home and donate our house to charity.


The Man Utd co-owner is said to have missed the best of the action at WembleyCredit: Getty

SIR JIM RATCLIFFE led the London Marathon yesterday in four and a half hours.

That’s impressive at any age. At 71 years old it’s unbelievable.

So when an owner puts so much effort into his pre-match preparations for a cup final, the least he can expect is for the players whose fortunes help him to emulate him.

Unfortunately for that Manchester However, despite United’s already poor reputation, those players did the equivalent of jogging 20 miles and then going for a pie and a pint.

Three-nil against a lower division side with twenty minutes to go and they end up being taken to extra time? Ratcliffe must have been sitting on the fancy chairs – the old legs getting cramped by the minute – wondering why on earth he’d dropped a gazillion and a bit into this mince.

Mainly because by the time he got to Wembley it was half time and he had missed most of their good stuff.

We are talking about Hibsing it, an expression that means removing despair from the pleasures of joy.

But after the way they managed to turn a piece of p*** into an abyss, that’s nothing compared to Ten Haging, is it?

Three-goal lead thrown away in normal time.
The jammiest offside with toenail length prevents a loss in the final seconds of extra time.

Blush spared in a penalty shootout.
If their hapless manager is still in trouble function By the time you read this, it could certainly only be because Sir Jim is on an IV for dehydration.


Scotland manager Steve Clarke was at Hampden for both semi-finalsCredit: PA

STEVE CLARKE must have wished the domestic season was over so he could lock up what was left of him euros team away in a cell lined with cotton wool.

This weekend Clarke lost Stuart Armstrong with a knee injurydays after learning that Nathan Patterson needs hamstring surgery.

With the likes of Aaron Hickey still struggling with a six-month hamstring injury, Billy Gilmour absent with a knee problem and Callum McGregor working his way back, the treatment room couldn’t be packed at a worse time.

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I hate to say it, but as a tough season reaches its most demanding phase, we are one or two away from a real crisis.

Let’s cross our fingers, toes and whatever else we can do yoga then Wee John, Big Scott and the rest make it through what lies ahead successfully, happily and safely.