Defeat is a bitter pill to swallow. In a game of football, nobody wants to end up on the losing side. Right from a young age, aspiring footballers are trained to win; that winning mentality is instilled in them. So when one team wins, the other must accept the harsh reality of defeat.
Accepting this can be hard, especially when you lose to your arch rivals. Why? Because it’s a matter of pride, a matter of bragging rights, and last but not the least: not hearing the end of it from rival fans. All these together result in a “living hell” for the losing team.
Celtic Park, March 31, 2019. The final whistle has just been blown and Celtic are 2-1 victors over Rangers, in the latest installment of the Old Firm derby.
The game lived up to its expectations: goals, cards and controversy. It was nothing short of dramatic. The post-match scenes seemed to go out of control, with both sets of players involved in a brawl and Rangers’ Halliday seeing red.
Another incident that may have flown under the radar, given the chaos that spread between the players after the full-time whistle, is one involving the managers of both clubs.
At the full-time whistle, there is brief moment between Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and Celtic boss Neil Lennon, caught on television coverage. The clip shows Gerrard, who appears to refuse making eye contact with Lennon as the two shake hands in post-match formalities.
In a gesture that has infuriated Celtic fans, Gerrard’s refusal to make any eye-contact can only be viewed as disrespectful by Celtic fans. Some fans dubbed him as “a sore loser”. Since this incident, the Rangers boss has accepted a one-match touchline ban for comments made to the referee in the aftermath of the loss.
Everyone knows that accepting defeat is difficult, especially in a fixture like the Glasgow derby. Nobody likes losing, the same way nobody likes a sore loser. Gerrard seemed to have acted inappropriately and against the true spirit of the game. Was Gerrard right in the way he acted following his side’s defeat?