FOUR years after Armageddon, it’s the end of the world as we know it. And the Celtic support feel far from fine.

In 2012 the implosion of Rangers triggered the biggest story ever to rock Scottish football as the Ibrox club plummeted down the divisions. There were threats of clubs going bust, severe league reconstruction and the potential for our national game to crumble into dust.

Rangers embarked on a crusade to get back. Where to nobody quite new, but back to it anyway. After all, who could predict how much ground would be lost to a Celtic team left to their own devices with Champions League money pouring in while Ally McCoist and his team did their great tour of Scotland. Remember, this was a Parkhead side that only tthree months into the 2012/13 season beat Barcelona in Glasgow.


Tony Watt's winner against Barcelona is a distant memory.

Since then petty debate has raged about whether or not this ‘Rangers’ are a new club with legions of Celtic supporters making you believe that their rivals from Govan are, in their words, dead.

At Hampden on Sunday, the only thing dead were the dreams of the 25,000 Celtic fans who surely would have wished for so much more from their club over this so-called unbridled era of domination.

Tom Rogic’s ballooned penalty was the kick that may have cost his team a place in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final and, more importantly in the eyes of some, a win over Rangers. But in truth it was a boot in the you-know-whats that has been coming for months, if not years.

Make no mistake about it, this was not a test for Rangers to see how they measured up to Celtic. It was a test for Celtic to see how they measured up to Rangers, and they failed spectacularly. When your best player is an 18-year-old kid – not the first time we have said that this season – then you know something is up with your multi-million-pound silverware-chasing machine.

HeraldScotland: Kieran Tierney clearly has the trust of his manager

Kieran Tierney has been brightest light from a dull Celtic season.

As Kenny Miller’s shot ruffled Craig Gordon’s net in the early stages, it was the young figure of Kieran Tierney that could be seen trying to cajole players around him. Some of them on the basis of Sunday are not fit to lace his boots.

Ronny Deila was the man standing in the Hampden technical area yesterday and he said after the game he expects no pity. Just as well. His signing policy has been flawed to say the least, as has his misplaced faith in players who continue to let him down. Stefan Johansen was poor once again against Rangers, Dedryck Boyata looked like he couldn’t keep weans oot a close and Gary Mackay-Steven contributed as much as Kris Commons, the man who should have been standing in his place.

Almost certainly the Norwegian manager’s days at Celtic Park are numbered, but if we are being honest this was not decided by Rogic’s shanked spot kick. It will be the end result of continued failure in Europe and a team domestically that, if they do hold on to the Premiership this season, have won just three trophies out of a possible six under his stewardship.

HeraldScotland: PARADISE FOUND: 58 players past and present adorn the artwork now covering the facade of Celtic Park

Trouble in Paradise?

IS this entirely Deila’s fault? Of course not. He has been placed at the helm of a club who seemed content to switch to auto-pilot until Rangers managed to drag themselves back into the top flight. He’s just the poor sod currently behind the wheel leading them down a blind alley.

Since Rangers’ demise Celtic have sold Fraser Forster, Joe Ledley, Victor Wanyama, Virgil van Dijk and Gary Hooper for big money. Apart from Craig Gordon and Leigh Griffiths, the cheap replacements simply haven’t cut it. A truly awful European campaign this year will testify to that.

Celtic are now in a position where, even if they win the Premiership this season, could go into next season’s challenge as second favourites. They will start their title race from a standing start, most likely with a new manager with new ideas and new players to bed in. And quickly. Meanwhile Rangers will continue to grow under Mark Warburton as they have done in the last 10 months.

Sunday was a power shift between the two clubs. Four years ago, this fixture should have been a show of supremacy by the team wearing green and white. Dead or not, this Rangers team will offer Celtic one hell of a title challenge next season.

They only have themselves to blame.