Celtic Doesn’t Look Remotely Ready For Ibrox. That Can Play To Our Advantage.

Image for Celtic Doesn’t Look Remotely Ready For Ibrox. That Can Play To Our Advantage.

I’m 47 this year, and I could not tell you what that means in terms of how many times I’ve watched us go to Ibrox.

I used to go to a lot of our games there; for years I didn’t watch us win a single one of them. The first one we did win was one I almost didn’t go to because after we’d lashed them 6-2 in the league in the O’Neill debut season, they beat us 5-1 there and I just thought my bad streak was just going to go on and on and on.

Of course, I did attend the 3-0 game at the end of that season, where Lubo scored one of my favourite Celtic goals and Larsson got his 50th of the campaign. The version of Simply The Best that day is still a thought to get the hairs on the back of my neck standing up; they started to sing it, we took over from them and they all sat down in silence.

We took them apart that day. It was one of my best memories as a Celtic fan. I’ve seen us win there a bunch of times now, although I missed the historic doing we gave them under Rodgers. I wish I’d been able to attend the 3-2 game because that was glorious.

In that time, that long expanse of time going back nearly 30 years since my first visit, I’ve seen us go there in various guises; favourites, outsiders, underdogs … things play out differently each time.

I usually say I’ll know in the first ten minutes and that’s a good rule of thumb. The first ten minutes usually gives you a fair idea as to which way it’s going. There are exceptions; I’ve seen us score early there and not finish the job. They scored early in the famous 3-2 game and we got the result. But overall, I think it sticks.

I’ll tell you when it’s impossible to tell how a game is going to pan out; six days before it kicks off. Any number of things can happen within that time-frame. Any number of changes can occur at both clubs. Rodgers could spend this week working out a masterful tactical plan which takes them completely by surprise and blows the doors off Ibrox.

There’s another thing, which I’ll write about later, which I think might give us an advantage and that’s The Mooch himself. If he goes into this game with the wrong approach, we’ve got it licked.

That’s a subject for this evening though I think.

Are we the underdogs going into this game? I don’t think so, no.

The bookies certainly don’t; you would get pretty near identical odds on which side will win. These are two bad sides at the moment and more than anything else I think it’ll be a horrific game of football to watch as someone who loves the game itself. If our own side wasn’t involved, I would give it a miss.

Of course, come Sunday night I won’t care how bad the football was if our own team has emerged with the three points. It will strike an appropriately hard psychological blow and they will feel it in particular because this isn’t Postecoglou’s team. They fully expect to have our number. They fully expect to beat us. That’s when we’re dangerous.

On 2 January 2011, a day I was not looking forward to, a day when my professional and family life were so much flaming wreckage, we played Rangers at Ibrox in what none of us knew was to be one of the final fixtures at that ground against that club. I had no expectations of us getting anything out of it. They had a chance to kill our title chances stone dead; we were ahead by one point but they had two games in hand. Instead, we produced something outrageous.

Giorgios Samaras would never have a better 90 minutes in a Celtic shirt. Back then I was one of the lone Samaras fans in the support; even I could not believe how outstanding he was that afternoon. He scored both of our goals, and left their team shell-shocked.

We went into that game with Lennon under pressure and the team badly needing the result. The media wrote us off almost completely. We were in the midst of an injury crisis. Scott Brown himself was absent from the game. Playing Samaras alone up front was unorthodox and radical, and yet it was the masterstroke which secured the points.

We’re going nowhere we haven’t been before. We’re going there under pressure, but we’ve been there before too. There’ll be no Celtic fans there; big deal? The team knows what it has to do; go into the lion’s den and get a result for us.

So low expectations, an injury crisis and doubts about the manager and half the players.

A few sticking plaster signings thrown into the mix for good measure. Those are not good conditions, but in some ways they might be perfect conditions. For the next week the pressure is on them, not us.

For the next week we can focus on the training and the tactics and get ourselves in the right headspace for the match. And once the game starts, anything can happen.

Share this article


  • SSMPM says:

    Firm up the defence by tightening and winning the midfield, don’t go marauding up that heap of a pitch leaving ourselves exposed to breakaways and take any chances that come our way. Easy. HH

  • Johnno says:

    No doubt James this will be a game when we judge our players more harshly than any other game we play.
    Can make or break players for ourselves in the judgement calls will be placed upon them, just seems to go with the territory involved.
    The form of some that we rely upon in such a game has been fairly shocking to date.
    No doubt Rodgers himself will currently be under the most pressure at present, as failure will only get the sharpening of the knifes out for himself, with many in the sharpening process already.
    To get a result, especially a win would be a hammer blow to the scum, which will only increase if PSV deliver on Wednesday, but ready made excuses will be prepared beforehand.
    No doubt the pressure will crank up more from Thursday onwards where both teams will have a better idea where they stand within there own support, even if totally different reasons are at stake presently

  • John Copeland says:

    Well ,young sir , I am 62 and I can’t remember when I have been so worried about Ibrox at the weekend . I suppose the outcome of the tie in Holland on Wednesday night will have a huge bearing on the Glasgow derby , but I am genuinely concerned about the lack of cohesion and confidence in the overall squad . There is also the small matter regarding no Celtic FC fans at the game as we have evidence that is another negative to deal with …, I think it’s time for Plan ‘B’ – go for the jugular ,especially the Japan boys …. Tora Tora Tora ! Attack Attack Attack .

    • bertie basset says:

      i wont be watching the game , the rot set in with our weak midfield , how can we ask mcgregor to face loon strum when he will get 7 kinds kicked out of him and no protection from the bent in black ? we need a scott brown to put that loon strum in his place !

    • bertie basset says:

      we won’t even get past the half way line

  • Bob (original) says:

    The tone of the match build up could also be affected by the PSV result.

    If sevco win, then Beale, Cantwell and others will be mouthing off about now

    great they are, etc. – and putting even more pressure on themselves to get a derby win.

    If PSV punt sevco out of the CL, as expected, then Beale will be under intense

    pressure – and he’ll probably just mouth off even more nonsense to take the

    attention away from his players?

    BR will not bite at any criticisms Beale might chuck his way – and a decent,

    experienced CFC signing would be a welcome psychological boost.

    Neither team is playing well, and an unforced error could decide the game?

    With both home and match officiating advantage 🙁 I have a horrible feeling sevco

    just might edge it,

    …by the obligatory TavPen?

  • Adam Thomas says:

    Hearing Che Adams is in the pipeline .

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Hard tae tell and can be unpredictable, true.Tho ye have tae be realistic and even tho we’ve recently managed a result (apart from the deed rubber) against them, ye have tae consider how and with us a better side, they’ve gave us a game and a hard time in some of these matches and imo, it’s always because they’ve muscled us in midfield. Can tweak it any way ye like, tho fact is, in a game like this, they’re the ones wi ball winners in there if it gets tough, which it will and right now we’re too lightweight.

  • Bhoy4life says:

    We will not win there at the weekend, we may not even draw.
    Nothing I have seen so far looks anything like a team capable of going there and getting a result.
    We have absolutely no grunt, we have lacked it for years now, and the team look barely up for any kind of scrap, they will be and they will have the crowd….and the ref.

  • Amcq14 says:

    The team might be going there in a better frame of mind without being booed of the pitch on Saturday by some supporters. What is going on? You would think it was the end of the world the way some are carrying on and throwing their dummies out the pram. Yes, we need some more signings, yes we have a lot of injuries, yes we have a new manager and yes the team need to get used to his style of play and no it doesn’t happen overnight. Some supporters need to get a grip and get fully behind the team and manager.

  • Scud Missile says:

    James I need to disagree with you there I believe the PRESSURE is definitely on u,if we can’t score a single goal over 2 games against a couple of nickel&dime teams who had both been in a relegation dog fight last season,then we ain’t scoring against sevco.

  • Jackson says:

    Surely Rodgers will play Kyogo and Cal Mac in their natural positions……
    His new system with Kyogo coming back to midfield to get the ball is not working
    This game will be pivotal in the career of a couple of our players and maybe Rodgers as well………..would have Iwata in place of Turnbull who’s has done nothing of late

  • jrm63 says:

    Throw Yang in and Palma if he is here in time. Give Kyogoa and Maeda 45 mins each through the middle. Samaras would have been a great player if he had stayed in the middle instead of chasing after the game primarily down the left

  • bertie basset says:

    mcgregor has been left down by the club , why should his risk his career for celtic if they are not prepared to defend him against hatchet men and bent referees ? watch loon strum sunday he”ll be first on the name sheet , the cowardy knut !!

  • Gerrard Duffin says:

    What will lawell window bring

  • Mark B says:

    I had a similar set of games as you – the 3-0 in 2001 remains a highlight for me it was terrific. I think our first win at Ibrox in 7 years it was. We go there this time under dogs in my view. We have failed to score against St Johnstone and Kilmarnock. I would take a draw at Ibrox right now. If we lose its 5 points dropped in two games. I cant remember last time we failed to score in two consecutive SPFL games. We need time and we need to strengthen. We lost 3 – yes 3 first team players this summer and simply have not replaced any of them yet.


    ‘Clutching at straws’ already.
    3 games into the season and already fluxed up.
    If the buns at the DebtDome get their snouts in front then it’s a stick on that
    their Brothers in Black will keep them in front till the League Flag is handed over.
    This season more than ever the MIBs, aided and abetted by the ‘VARman in the sky’(sic),
    will exert their influence to subvert the Laws and the ‘Spirit’ of the Professional Game.
    The game is corrupt to the core and our Custodians of the Club are
    more and more complicit by their silence.

  • Johnny Green says:

    After PSV pump them out of the CL their morale will be at an all time low and we can take advantage of that, they are not all that good anyway to begin with. I will be happy with a draw but a victory for us is just as likely, keep the faith.

  • Martin says:

    If we stop playing Kyogo in midfield and put a central midfielder on the pitch who can tackle and protect the defence, our whole philosophy works better and we will wonder why it took so long. If we go out there with the team we’ve had so far… We will lose and pick up more injuries.

Comments are closed.