There Are A Lot Of Incentives For Celtic To Win Today. It’s Not Just Pride At Stake.

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The Ibrox club comes to Parkhead today as champions.

That was, for me, the nightmare scenario. I thought this, more even than coming to our ground and winning, was the worst possible outcome. They get to come to our home ground swaggering.

That’s the first incentive to beat them; take that cockiness out of their stride.

Show them why we’ve been champions for the last nine years.

They come trying to claim the title of Invincibles.

They can’t, of course, because we’ve redefined what that title means and they’ve already come up short, but the media will not hesitate to fraudulently bestow it on them if they go through the league campaign unbeaten.

We have to prevent that today and this is the second incentive we have.

All through the spell where we were conquering all on our path, every defeat – and especially at the hands of Ibrox – was treated as a “the tide has turned” moment, with headlines about how we were in regression popping up all over the place.

When we lost, after a long period unbeaten, against the Ibrox club that was “sign” that they were ready to overtake us.

I don’t expect similar headlines here, but we can certainly kick-start that narrative if we do them today.

That’s the third incentive that we have.

This has been a dreadful campaign, in which we’ve not shown ourselves in a very good light.

The fans are owed big time by the management team and the players, and they owe themselves too; it is vital that this team demonstrates some intent at last.

That’s the fourth incentive that we have, to show that we’re better than this.

And on top of that, we have a Scottish Cup campaign to think about; what a way to end the season it would be if we could win the last available domestic trophy.

It would be a clear demonstration of how strong this club still is, in spite of all our travails.

For the sake of building momentum and showing that there’s nobody we fear, this game is important.

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That is our fifth incentive to win today.

So those who think we’re playing for nothing and can afford not to take this one seriously, think again.

This is a massive match and Celtic has to win it.

Failure cannot be countenanced and would not be tolerated.

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