Sunday’s Old Firm game at Ibrox offers much more than just points and a chance to apply some pressure at the top of the table, it offers Rangers the chance to do something we have sadly failed in for a number of years. A chance to get into the heads of the Celtic players and staff.
A win for the light blues may not stop Celtic from clinching the title this season, although applying some pressure could see the Parkhead side crumble under the strain, for me what is at stake is an opportunity to lay down a marker for next season and the upcoming Scottish Cup semi-final match-up.
It’s time to show that this is a Rangers side that will not stand and quite simply allow our rivals to have everything their way. For too long in Old Firm clashes we have been soft, folding at the first sign of trouble, looking sadly in many occasions like we lacked the belief from the first whistle to take anything from the matches.
In previous encounters, we have been bullied at times. Well no more. I think every single Rangers supporter will agree this is a side with a bit of steel, along with genuine quality. The football and type of goals we have seen on show in recent weeks has been breathtaking, it is night and day from just a few short months ago.
When the sides last played each other in December, a draw was most probably a fair reflection on the overall balance of play. However, since then Rangers have strengthened their squad dramatically, not just in term of raising the overall ability of players in key positions, but in the mentality of this group.
Victory on Sunday could prove vital for a number of reasons, firstly it might just be key in the title race, you just never know how teams will react under pressure. Secondly, it will serve as a warning, to any future meetings that may occur this season, both sides are still to meet in the Scottish Cup semi-finals, with that competition possibly representing our best chance of silverware this term. Lastly, it would quite simply mess with their heads. If we can add a few more players of similar standard and mindset in the summer a title challenge next season should be the bare minimum.
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I personally feel the most confident in a good while entering the Old Firm. This is not the soft-centred sides of Warburton and Caixhina, no, this is a team with a steely determination and a glint in the eye, finding form at just the right time.
Let’s bring it on, after all, we welcome the chase.
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