12th of March 2017

As I type, I don’t mind telling you that I am just a little bit fragile this morning. Like the majority of Glaswegians who made their works today, I’m currently ticking over on paracetamol and Lucozade. Although the blame lies firmly with me over my current state, Graeme Murty and his Rangers team had a big hand to play in it.

Rangers went to Parkhead yesterday as massive underdogs, perhaps the longest odds I’ve seen in my lifetime from some bookmakers. Celtic, unbeaten domestically, must have fancied their chances also and the pre match pictures showed them to be confident and at ease with such a big match looming. Pundits and ex professionals alike all had a comfortable home victory predicted with only the most fervent of Bears tipping the Ibrox men for Parkhead glory.

Like a lot of my fellow supporters, I was unable to get a ticket for the away end, although 7,300 lucky soles did, and descended upon the East End of Glasgow to take in the action. I took up the edge of my seat in a friend’s house with a couple more good gents, belly tingling and palms sweating. The nerves never leave you, they only get worse the older you get.

We were all heartened to see incoming Manager Pedro Caixinha arrive early alongside ex-Ger Pedro Mendes (his agent) to take in the match and run the rule over the squad he’ll take charge of for the first time today. What he witnessed will no doubt give him a sense that he has good building blocks in the side and something he can work with before putting his own stamp on the squad in the summer.

Rangers lined up pretty much as expected, although Jon Toral picked up a back strain prematch and was withdrawn from the squad. Danny Wilson filled in for the suspended Rob Kiernan alongside defensive stalwart Clint Hill. Rangers kicked off and passed the ball well, causing Celtic a few problems. The players showed the tenacity and grit that they’d been questioned about for by interim manager Graeme Murty. So much so that they picked up early bookings, although referee Bobby Madden looked to be a bit card happy where Rangers were concerned. The golden chance came in the shape of Martyn Waghorn, clean through with only Craig Gordon to beat. Unfortunately for Rangers though, he fluffed his lines and smacked the ball off of the Scotland goalkeeper’s shin. Either side of him and it was a goal, but there is a real lack of composure from Waggy in this type of situation, failing to look up. A bad miss made worse when out of nothing Celtic took the lead through Armstrong. Jason Holt didn’t deal with a scuffed cross, failing to clear the ball, and let the Celtic midfielder hit a low drive from the edge of the box.

Celtic went on the hunt for number two, and Rangers were glad to hear the half time whistle. After the break Celtic pressed and Wes Foderingham had a couple of great saves, keeping Rangers in the game. But the Ibrox men then took control from the 70min mark, passing well, creating chances and asking the Celtic backline a few questions. Waghorn again missed a great chance when he failed to turn in Kenny Miller’s cross, but on reflection the Celtic keeper was ideally placed to block. In the 87th minute though the quieter than usual Emerson Hyndman cracked a shot which Gordon could only palm into the path of the incoming Clint Hill, who smashed the ball into the net. The travelling Rangers fans went into a frenzy of joy, and my friends and I screamed and hugged it out in the house. A great moment for a man who has been probably our best and most consistent signing this season, typified with his last ditch tackle on Leigh Griffiths to thwart a certain goal. The Celtic supporters will howl for a penalty, but video and photographic evidence shows Hill to have won the ball. Andy Walker however disagrees.

All in all, a brilliant point and all-round good display from the Ibrox men, and the new manager will be buoyed by what he saw I’ve no doubt. For now though, I’m away to continue to appear at my job, if not actually function.  Enjoy your week, and lets all get behind the new manager this weekend when Hamilton come back to Ibrox, hopefully for another 6-0 Rangers win.

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