Rangers manager Michael Beale has delivered a fresh perspective to the predictably patronising conversation surrounding the Old Firm ticket allocation ahead of the visit of Celtic.
The Gers have handed Celtic around 700 tickets as per a reduced allocation which first kicked in during the 2018 season and has stayed at both Ibrox and the home of our rivals ever since.
The decision has polarised fans at both Rangers and Celtic, with some of the arguments for and against having genuine grounds.
Whilst Rangers look out for their season ticket holders by no longer handing over 8000 tickets to our rivals, the club has sacrificed a substantial away support at Parkhead. Going by our more recent trips we could’ve used some of our own in the trenches too.
There is also some suggestion that the decision has diluted “one of the greatest rivalries” in the world. OK, but whilst there is some weight in this argument it’s the biggest paradoxical indulgence you’ll hear from Parkhead.
Apparently, Rangers no longer exist, and by proxy neither does the Old Firm, but you’ll hear Celtic fans talk about “the old ticket allocation” and the halcyon days of yore, for a fixture they claim finished in 2012.
Not only that, but Rangers handed Celtic a full stand whilst the Parkhead club showed their usual contempt for travelling fans by spreading the Ibrox support across a corner.
What’s being proposed is that Rangers hand Celtic a stand whilst they house our fans on their terms. It’s laughable.
Michael Beale offers Brazil perspective on Old Firm ticket allocation
My personal opinion, for what it’s worth, is that anything that takes control away from them and gets under their skin this much can’t be all that bad.
Rangers are clear that the Old Firm ticket allocation won’t change and – whatever your opinion on the situation – there can be no doubt our arrogant, patronising rivals are desperate to have their cake and eat it.
No matter your personal stance, it’s clear that Rangers have riled our rivals with this move and ahead of every single match the conversation is restarted.
Addressing the press ahead of the match, Rangers boss Michael Beale offered a fresh perspective and whilst the conversation dominates Scottish football at times, elsewhere the situation isn’t exactly much different.
“Why is this game up there with the best derbies? It’s just the passion, the way the game is played,” said Beale [Rangers].
“It’s history. It’s everything that we love about football. Of course, it has another side to it but let’s focus on the positive part.
“When I went to Brazil, they weren’t arguing about 700 away tickets. Away fans weren’t allowed to go to derby games due to crowd violence.
“If you’re Sao Paulo and you play Corinthians, there are no away fans. It’s the same if you go to play Palmeiras or Santos and vice versa.
“There was a famous game just before I joined where Santos and Sao Paulo’s buses met before the game. Players from each team had to sit next to each other on the drive to the game. That’s never going to happen here in Glasgow!”
Whilst the Old Firm ticket allocation debate will rage, Rangers know they will need to harness the power of Ibrox to take all three points against Celtic.
Anything but a victory will put a massive dent in the club’s faint title hopes, with a rampant Celtic already nine points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Meanwhile, the return of one Rangers star to the Ibrox fold has been priceless.