When you are a manager with nothing in the tank, who’s only recent claim to fame is beating a miserable Ibrox team, how do you approach a match with the defending treble winners, who will be an entirely different prospect?
It’s a cup game, one where you can’t afford to sit back and play for the draw.
Your game plan will be to do what exactly?
Derek McInnes is not the smartest kid in the class.
Whatever strategy you come up with, you’re not supposed to broadcast it before the game starts.
But McInnes has blabbed his already, or the start of it anyway; he’s trying to put pressure on the officials by bringing up a pitiful piece of ancient history; the penalty he claims his team should have got last season, in the same competition, in the game at Hampden which we won by 2-0.
He’s talking about the Giakoumakis incident before the second Celtic goal. This was litigated at the time and some in the media covered it from every angle. In re-raising the issue again, a year down the line, McInnes reveals himself to be a bitter man but also a calculated one. He’s trying to make sure that the officials give us no benefit of the doubt.
At the same time, he’s established the pattern we have to watch out for; their players are going to go down under every half challenge, and he probably thinks that because we’re likely to go with our two new centre backs they might be unaware of how it works in this little corner of the world, where refs are always looking for an excuse and VAR is there to help with a second opinion.
I have never in my life heard McInnes give us a word of credit at the end of a game, no matter how dominant we’ve been or how completely his teams have been beaten. But this is a poor tactic even by his standards. The really daft thing is that he’s made it so public days before the match, which gives us a glimpse of his strategy on the day.
We will have to be on our toes with this one.
The centre backs, whomever they may be, are going to have to watch everything they do. That would be true even under normal conditions, but in a cup tie, on that plastic pitch, especially so.
McInnes is at it here, and sounds like a bubbling wean.
I hope Rodgers puts him in his place over it, but more; I hope the players do when we get his lot out there on Sunday.