The moment is almost upon us. As I write this we are a little over 48 hours away from the kick-off of our third meeting with the team that calls itself Rangers. So far its 2 out of 2 for them in derby games this season. However, I believe we have reason to be hopeful that this could be the end of their winning run.
On Thursday night they were eliminated from the later stages of the Europa League. It was a bruising encounter for Rangers, though I suppose bruising is preferable to the three-inch gash Kemar Roofe’s errant boot inflicted upon the Slavia Prague goalkeeper’s forehead. Also, credit to Alex Rae, for judging the incident not worthy of a card. If nothing else, at least he’s as consistently stupid as he is bigoted.
Anyway, on Sunday I am sure Celtic will encounter an angry Rangers, eager to bury the pain of last night’s defeat by taking it out on us. If this turns out to be the case, I am actually even more confident that Celtic will prevail.
We want them to get angry, we want them to lash out, because that is when they are at their most vulnerable. For that reason alone, Scott Brown must start on Sunday. When it comes to winding up opposing players, especially those of the sevconian variety, our captain is a veritable Sultan of Sh*thousery.
I better remember to copyright that slogan, because if we win on Sunday, no doubt the Celtic store will have the shirts printed and on sale by Monday morning!
Anyway, if we keep our heads, I think we will win. That doesn’t just mean not getting into direct conflict with any of them. It also means staying calm and maintaining a high tempo in our play, even if things aren’t immediately working for us. As unlucky as we were at Ibrox at New Year, I do feel that some of the players mentally gave up after an hour or so. We can’t do that on Sunday. We need to keep the pressure on for a full 90 minutes.
I’ve consistently said all season that if Celtic play to their peak, and Rangers play to theirs, Celtic win. At a fundamental level, I still believe our players, playing at their best, are better than anything Rangers have. Unfortunately, you can probably count on one hand the number of times this season that our players have played at anything like their full potential.
That cannot be allowed to happen again on Sunday. It is time for us to deliver a message. They may won their first ever title this season, but Glasgow does not belong to The Rangers, and it never will!