After the Hearts game at Tynecastle in late December I wrote an article on moments in football and their impact on games and seasons. That particular article was inspired by Osman Sow’s last minute equaliser for the hosts and the subsequent anti Ronny Deila outpourings on social media. Sow’s goal, a thumping 25-yard effort, cost Celtic two valuable points that day which led to the majority of the negative social media posts.
However, a point that was overlooked by most was that despite that goal Celtic now had a one point advantage at the top of the table that they did not have going into the game, as well as a game in hand. Celtic had played well that day but had slipped unnecessarily into a defensive mode that did not suit the personnel on the park. As the defence dropped deeper, Hearts pressed higher, forced a mistake from James Forest and ultimately scored an equaliser.
Instead of talking about a hard fought and well earned Celtic win, all post match discussion was centred around Celtic dropping more points and calls to sack the manager.
Flash forward to Rugby Park yesterday. For 90 minutes Kilmarnock were well organised defensively and frustrated a pedestrian Celtic who lacked any real attacking ideas, flair, or invention. If ever there was a game from which a backlash would be deserved afterwards, it was this. Kilmarnock, second from bottom of the league, were set to take points off Celtic for the third time this season. Worse still, a draw here followed by an Aberdeen victory against an illness depleted Motherwell at Fir Park in the 3pm kick off, and Celtic would find themselves in second place.
Watching the game, the sarcastic voice in my head kept on repeating Jock Brown commenting “They’re certainly playing like Champions now” (2.10) and visualising the best goal ever scored (1.20).
Against Kilmarnock however, Celtic were playing anything but like champions; until Tom Rogic stepped up to score possibly the goal of the season.
They say that the mark of true champions is to win when playing badly, if that’s so, then that may moment of Rogic genius may well turn out to be a Championship winning moment as it is moments like these that can pull a team together and drive them on to success; from despair to ecstasy via one kick of a ball.
As if that wasn’t enough, Aberdeen blew the lead versus Motherwell and lost 2-1, meaning that not only did Rogic’s goal win the game, it also directly lead to Celtic extending their advantage over the Dons to four points, and with a game in hand to boot.
From the despair of dropping two points and potentially losing the league leadership to extending the lead to four points in the blink of an eye, what a crucial moment in the season that goal may prove to be.
As a wise man once said, “Football…Bloody Hell.”
(Because, why not?)