Celtic vs Rangers Match Preview

Celtic v Rangers

12th of March 2017

Three down, three to go….Old Firm games that is. With Sunday’s game though there’s a renewed sense of optimism amongst the Rangers fans, all be it a slight one perhaps. Like most Bears, regardless of recent form, or the fact that Celtic have won the past three derbies and are domestically unbeaten this season, I’ll have the battle fever on come kick off time Sunday, fully believing we can inflict the home sides first domestic defeat this term. If we had a choice though, I’m sure the majority would sacrifice a league win for a Scottish Cup Semi victory. That would wreck any chance of a treble going to Parkhead. Still, it’s a close call.

Rangers go into Sunday’s match after another week of turmoil at boardroom level, yet to 100% confirm the appointment of a Director of Football, or indeed a new first team coach/manager. The latter, all going well, should be finalised by kick off time Sunday, with the impending arrival of Portuguese manager Pedro Caixinha from Al Gharafa. The Rangers support are at odd as to whether the new man is the right choice or not, but like the situation suggests, it’s simply a wait and see scenario. One thing’s for sure, we’ll give him our 100% backing, although there are those who will afford him a shorter honeymoon period than others.

Both Ross Wilson and Stuart Webber have turned down offers for the Director of Football role, and ex player and manager Ally McCoist has this week expressed his own opinions about Rangers going down this root at all. As a result, social media has went into meltdown with some fans offering a less than friendly reply to McCoist’s words. Some went over the top with their vile and abusive comments toward a Rangers legend in my opinion.

So, with all that being the week that was, on to the game. Rangers are without Rob Kiernan who lost his red card appeal this week. Most would suggest this is a blessing in disguise though, as Kiernan has again shown a consistent habit of all round poor defending. Giving the ball away, beaten in the air, poor positioning…..the list unfortunately is a lengthy one. He had a decent outing against Hamilton recently, but the Accies provided little in the way of a stern test truth be told. The ever improving Jon Toral should find himself in what will be an extremely busy midfield, alongside fellow loanee Emerson Hyndman. The young Spaniard may be in for a culture shock, but if he keeps it simple and can find one or two opportunities to get into the Celtic box, hopefully he’ll show up well on the day.

James Tavernier has impressed the past two matches also, and I’ve been the full back’s biggest critic this term, but rightly so I think? It’s all well and good getting up the park, but he may find those opportunities limited this weekend so he MUST focus his attention on his defensive duties. Wes Foderingham will have a huge role to play in keeping the ball out of the net, but Rangers have to stop the ball getting that far in the first place. Personal preference will guide you as to who partners Hill in the centre of defence, but I think Danny Wilson gets the nod as Senderos had a nightmare at Parkhead last time out, although Wilson has also been suspect recently.

Up top I hope we stick with Waghorn and Miller as Joey Garner is suspended. Shame though having bagged a hat-trick last time out against the Accies. The evergreen Kenny Miller will probably spearhead the attack, and will hope to add to his impressive scoring tally against his former employers. Barry McKay will be seen as the talisman as always. He’s having a great campaign after a shaky few games just before Xmas where he was rightly left out. Rather than hide though, he’s came back into the team and been at the heart of most things good.

So who will win? Rangers obviously! OK, it’s never as straightforward as that, and halting the Celtic steamroller is as tough an ask as it has ever been in the past 129 years these two have been slugging it out for. But hey, it’s Old Firm day, the biggest derby match on our earth. A derby Milan, Madrid, Liverpool, London and Manchester cannot match. The Rangers players are also playing for their future, if they want one at Ibrox that is. Those who don’t, I’ll drive to Glasgow Airport’s departure lounge myself. We need players to be up for the fight and to be as passionate as every one of us, the supporters. The supporters who deserve a victory against their oldest foes.

Let’s do this, let’s turn up and leave with victory and a much needed shot in the arm, and an incoming manager that has something to build upon.

Be safe on Sunday, and enjoy the match….”WATP!”