And so here we go…a big OLD FIRM clash…a TITLE DECIDER…A CLASH OF THE TITANS
Aye, so it is.
Its basically just another league game, one where Celtic have to go over to the south west of the city and play at Ibrox against a ramshackle outfit of loan “aces” and over hyped up “stars”.
Thats it. No more than that.
I am hearing all the media attempts at “Celtic fans fear” nonsense but in truth, even though our form hasnt been dynamite, the only thing we could possibly have to fear is fear itself. A colleague ( A Celtic leaning Dumbarton fan) accused me of wearing Green tinted glasses when I said “i have no doubts we will win on Sunday”, and so I duly gave him some information to back up my thoughts:
Consider the following:
Goals win games
Rangers have to win. Rangers have to score.
We drew 0-0 when we had an off day at Parkhead. Even when not in form they couldnt score against us.
They havent scored against us this season. Yip, thats right, No goals scored against us this season by them or Aberdeen. In big games, our defence comes good, regardless of who is present in whatever position.
We already have 3 wins in a row at Ibrox under Brendan. We have nothing to fear about playing in such a “Blue cauldron of hate”, in fact that fear will more than likely hit the Rangers players but more on that a little later.
Like for like…
Im just saying...
James Forrest vs Andy Halliday
Dembele vs Russell Martin
Broony vs their whole midfield
The Graeme Murty hoodoo
So far Murty hasn’t been beaten by Brendans Celtic ( or beaten us – Ed!). He has managed 2 draws. Both highly forgettable games. The difference in this one is vast..in this one, Rangers must play for the win.
What tactics will Murty go for?..remember this is new ground for the rookie manager who was always tasked with steadying the ship, not storming it into battle..
Does he resort to same as before and contain Celtic, or does he unleash this highly heralded Rangers strike force we keep hearing about and forget about curtailing attacking opposition players such as Dembele, Forrest, Rogic, Sinclair, MacGregor, Edouard and maybe even Paddy Roberts.
It reminds me of how we used to get told how brilliant a striker Kris Boyd was when he was at Rangers, and sure enough then when he came up against Celtic (or in Europe), he was utter shite ( and no I still havent forgiven Artur Boruc for that mistake letting in Boyds passback!). Rangers might have some decent recent form in SPFL or in the cup against fodder but in truth it matters nowt until you step up and face the Champions.
Class is Permanent
Did anyone see Real Madrid vs PSG. The experienced Real Madrid took the games in their stride despite being lambasted at home for poor la Liga form. Real stepped up to the mark and showed how hype or pound\euro signs have never scored a goal. No amount of media lauding of PSG made any difference to the Real Madrid thoroughbreds. The Manager and side had been there, seen it, done it and promptly swatted away the irksome PSG fly as any quality horse would. Real controlled the tie and PSG were always looking like imposters up against true quality as the impressive Real put any worries about domestic form behind them and stood up and put PSG firmly in their place. Celtic will do the same on Sunday, of that I have no doubt.
Like PSG, Rangers have been getting the big headlines and oh how the Press have loved touting them as serious Title contenders. As soon as the pressure was turned up a notch, PSG folded. I expect the same to happen to Rangers. Murty must play for the win. His players must take the game to Celtic. All of the Pressure is on Rangers ( despite any claims the Media try). The fans ( and players) havent helped ease this pressure any with that ridiculous cheering when drawing Celtic in the Cup semi-final. Cue more and more pressure with each and every minute that passes. Its the hope that kills. Celtic have journeyed down this road many many times, after all they have players who can step up and score in the last minute of the Scottish Cup Final to win an unbeaten treble, Do you think rangers have players of such quality, personality and temperament, I dont? For every Celtic Full House, Rangers have Mr Matt the Face Painter..watch them fold.
Lots of folk are claiming Celtic will fall as they dont have Gordon and Lustig. There will certainly be a lot of changes, but more noticeably for the opposition. If you look back at the previous game at Ibrox, where Celtic won 2-0 and the stats are pretty bewildering, then you see there’s gonna be a helluva lot of Rangers guys experiencing this game for the first time…in comparison, despite a few changes, Celtic players have been there, albeit some stayed on the bench last time around but least they know whats in store compared to the new boys in blue.
For comparison sake, look at the last side when Rangers played Celtic at Ibrox, and compare to recent Rangers side vs Hearts.
Quite a number of changes there, including formation, so what will Mr Murty do and how will his new boys handle the pressure?
In comparison, look at Celtic side in last game at Ibrox
And the subs..
Again, we will see quite a few changes, especially Ajer in defence ( could Brendan risk Comperr in a 3 with Tierney pushed up to left mid\wingback?) but the majority of Celts have been to Ibrox on such occasions before so NtCham and De Vries shouldnt be in for any shocks.
Anyone worrying about the keeper should also note previous shots\save in last game…he might not be that busy, even against SuperWindass and MagicMorelos..Celtic figures are to the right…
The only team that can beat Celtic on Sunday, is Celtic.
I have no doubt that Brendan will want this game done and dusted quick and clinical. The side will be ready and professional and will sweep any pretenders away.
The referee Wullie Collum might try his best to dish out the cards but as long as Ajer keeps it cool and Broony guides us through the hacking then all should be fine.
After a few weeks misfiring, i just feel theres a goal coming from Tom Rogic at some point so thats where my money will be going and I hope wee Jamesy can get his goal too.
I reckon 2-0 once again and then we can all go for our Half time bovril.