Celtic-Rangers reaction: Combined XI with no Ibrox players, sectarian trade-offs and Green Brigade the denigrators, Euro pointers

Celtic’s 4-0 dismantling of Rangers and attendant aspects of the occasion demand frank discussion.

Could a case be made for any Rangers player featuring in a combined XI of the Glasgow clubs?

So completely overwhelmed were the Ibrox side by Ange Postecoglou’s men that no-one in the visiting team was able to stand apart from the morass into which they were plunged. In contrast, in every area of the pitch Celtic had individuals who excelled. Right now, no supporter of the Scottish champions would covet any player in dark blue; or believe any would dislodge their counterpart in green and white. At one time, Greg Taylor at left-back would have been pinpointed as a Celtic weak link. Yet, as he has been throughout this fledgling season, the Scotland international was exceptional in the derby drubbing. And any notion that he would defer to Borna Barisic – perhaps the only visiting player who made some sort of positive contribution thanks to a series of dangerous crosses – doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

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Bodo-Glimt and Borussia Dortmund pointers for Real Madrid and Ajax Champions League encounters

Celtics Greg Taylor, here seen holding off Alfredo Morelos in his club's 4-0 derby dumping, has been a stand-out in Scotland this season and would walk into a current combined best XI formed from the Glasgow clubs. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
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Celtic winger Jota was in no mood to offer projections over future form on the basis of what unfolded in Glasgow’s east end on Saturday. “Every football game is different,” he stressed. That can offer caution and comfort to the victors and vanquished over their impending Champions League openers. The pasting Postecoglou’s men handed out to their bitter rivals was redolent of the 3-0 thumping they administered at home to them in the early days of February. That encounter came two weeks before Celtic succumbed to Bodo-Glimt in the Conference League and Rangers slayed Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League. Celtic will feel good about themselves as they go into the most arduous of assignments pitting them at home to the very Champions League holders and global superpower Real Madrid. Meanwhile, Rangers will feel rubbish about themselves as they head to Amsterdam to face Ajax on Wednesday in the competition. Beyond that, there should be no presumptions.

Sectarian trade-offs and Green Brigade the denigrators

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It is the settled view of the courts, and all those with half a brain, that Fenian and Orange are proxy words for Catholic and Protestant, respectively, when deployed in abusive football chants and songs by supporters of Scotland’s footballing big two. So it was that the bigots had their moments at Celtic Park on Saturday. Just before kick-off, a section of the 700-strong Rangers support were heard to belt out The Billy Boys, the paean to fascist 1930s gang leader Billy Fullerton, which includes the line “up to our knees in Fenian blood”.

Further “orange” choruses were later heard emanating from the Green Brigade section, principally. That is now a regular refrain at Celtic games, home and away. It means sectarian expressions are standard when Celtic play, as until relatively recently hadn’t been true for two decades. The Green Brigade were an embarrassment to their club throughout Saturday. Their tifo was a depiction of the mural in Derry that commemorates the Battle of the Bogside in 1969. Under it was a quote from human rights activist Bernadette Devlin with the phrase “dare to win”. Further tawdry commodifying for football entertainment/attention-seeking purposes of the human tragedies, sacrifices and struggles endured by those who experienced The Troubles. Indeed, it is notable that the Green Brigade initially took against Neil Lennon for calling them out over trivialising what he lived through – the Lurgan-born-and-raised Celtic player and manager once telling me of his attempts to normalise a bomb going off on his street and a reprisal murder committed in the lover’s lane near his home.

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But this was not the most desperate denigration of which the Green Brigade were guilty. When I decried a group of Celtic supporters for a reprehensible chant based on Abba’s Super Trouper that glories in the deaths of Rangers figures that was belted out at Dingwall a month ago, I was accused on Twitter of invention, of being selective. No-one who attended the derby, or – according to a journalistic colleague watching at home – followed it on the small screen, could fail to have heard this repugnant song being aired early in the second half by fans in the so-called north curve. A group who appear to drag down Celtic with impunity.

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