Rangers* sits atop a huge pile of myths they have created over the years - "Celtic introduced sectarianism to Scottish football," "Celtic include their wartime titles while Rangers don't," "The SPL refused to extend the season to help Rangers win the UEFA Cup in 2008," "Barry Ferguson was a great footballer," etc.
They are about to add a new one - "Celtic used a global pandemic to win nine in a row."
With the SPFL clubs this week voting to approve the board's resolution to call the lower leagues as they stand, and give the board the power to do the same for the Premiership should it not be possible to complete the season, a storm is heading Scottish football's way from the usual suspects in the tabloids, social media and the radio phone-ins.
The narrative will soon be twisted out of all recognisable shape as Rangers* people attempt to paint themselves as the victims and for years to come we will be told that in the spring of 2020, Rangers wanted to complete the season, while Celtic exploited a global pandemic and bribed, bullied and blackmailed the rest of the league into declaring them Champions. As the dogs in the streets know, the purpose of this is to delegitimise Celtic's second nine-in-a-row.
In much the same way as they still complain about the SPL not granting them a season extension in 2008, when the season was... er... extended till after the UEFA Cup Final, they will insist that Rangers wanted to complete the season, while Celtic wanted it declared. But a cursory examination of the facts shows that this grossly misrepresents the situation.
Neil Lennon and Scott Brown have both gone on record to say that *if* the season cannot be completed, Celtic should be declared champions. Now this is a perfectly reasonable position, even if you don't agree with it. We are almost 80% of the way through the season and Celtic currently sit 13 points clear of Rangers*, albeit having played one game more. Celtic's goal difference is 25 better than Rangers*'. Recent form is also instructive. Celtic have dropped only two points since the winter break, while Rangers* have collapsed. In the weeks before the shut-down, they failed to take even a single point from the two bottom clubs, Hearts and Hamilton. They have won just two of their last five games.
They may argue that mathematically they can still overtake Celtic, but it is extremely unlikely. If they won their game in hand (not exactly guaranteed because they couldn't beat two teams well below St Johnstone in the table) and beat Celtic twice (even more unlikely), they would still be four points behind Celtic with even fewer games to go. The likelihood of Celtic dropping enough points in so few matches to enable Rangers* to take the title is fanciful in the extreme.
All this is beside the point though. The only thing that is beyond dispute is that no football will be played in the medium term and season 2019/20 has come to an end. It is finished. The only question that remains is, what happens next?
What Celtic want is clear. Each statement the club has made on the subject has stressed Celtic's desire to complete the season, but in the event that the season cannot be completed, the club has stated it is a matter for the SPFL what happens next. Of course lobbying will be going on behind the scenes; it would be astonishing if it was not. But if Celtic were saying one thing publicly and the opposite in private, you can be sure someone would be only too keen to spill the beans. Celtic clearly want the title to be declared as it stands *if* the season cannot be completed. Anyone is free to say, "well they would say that," but the same is true if Rangers* people want the season voided. They *would* say that too, wouldn't they? It's okay for clubs to want what's best for them, but at least be honest about it. The only thing that Rangers* care about, because they are too stupid to care about anything else, is stopping Celtic winning a second nine, and then ten-in-a-row. They're like a jealous homeowner devoting all their time and resources to stopping their neighbour being given planning permission for a fancy new extension, while their own house is on the verge of collapsing with dry rot.
What Rangers want is also clear, although not from what they say, but what they *do*. Right from the beginning of the crisis, Rangers* have been insistent that the championship cannot be declared until all the matches have been completed. They have further been insistent that they will not play any matches behind closed doors. Last week, they ripped up their pitch. What are we supposed to think Rangers* want then, other than being absolutely set on forcing a voiding of the season? Everything they have said and done suggests they do not intend to play another match this season, even if it is possible.
Celtic want to complete the season, Rangers* do not. If Rangers wanted to complete the season they would not have ripped up their pitch. In a sense, it doesn't matter that they have ripped their pitch up, because no more games are going to be played anyway. And that again is the salient point - the season is over. Finished. Done.
What Rangers insisted they wanted above all was for the prize money to be paid out in advance in the form of loans, "for the good of all the struggling clubs," (not them obviously, they're A-OK thanks very much and are just thinking about the good of the game in Scotland). Well, the passing of the SPFL board's resolution this week has paid out to all those struggling lower-league clubs that Rangers* were so, so concerned about. It also declares the lower leagues and gives the board the power to do the same for the Premiership, if the season cannot be completed.
So Rangers* have thrown their rattle out of the pram over something that has not yet happened in the Premiership. The SPFL will not declare the Premiership champions until they are satisfied that the season cannot be completed at a later date.
When this happens, voiding the title is not an option. It's not even on the table. The only option then will be to declare the placings as they stand. There is no other option. Rangers* can scream into the abyss all they like in the weeks and months ahead, but it will make no difference and their empty threats as not for the SPFL board's consumption anyway. They are doing it strictly for the benefit of their fans. They cannot be seen to be acquiescing in Celtic being declared champions if they want to sell 50,000 season tickets for next season, whenever that might be.
For Rangers*, it's now all about the noise. They know nine in a row is coming and all they can do now is try to delegitimise it and the only way they can do that is to begin the re-write of history as soon as possible. You'll see it everywhere and very soon - Rangers* wanted the season completed, Celtic used a global pandemic to have it declared without winning it on the park.
But never let them forget the real story - the season cannot possibly be completed and football could still be many months away from returning. Celtic wanted it completed if possible, Rangers ripped up their pitch and it is they who are shamelessly exploiting a global pandemic in a futile attempt to have it voided.