Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has to use Callum McGregor’s comments to his advantage, and stick them on the dressing-room wall ahead of Sunday.
The Ibrox men travel to Parkhead for the first Old Firm derby of the season on Sunday. It’ll be the first time Gerrard and Brendan Rodgers have locked horns in the dug-out.
The pre-match build-up and hysteria is always in full flow in the days leading up to the game. However, Gerrard must use McGregor’s cocky comments to his advantage and ensure the players know all about them before Sunday.
Speaking to the Daily Record this morning, McGregor wasn’t for listening about Rangers’ revival. Instead, the Celtic midfielder just claimed they will shut Rangers up once more.
There is a lot of talk coming from Rangers but we’re just focusing on what we’re doing, the same way we always have. We don’t listen to what too many people outside Lennoxtown are saying. We’re doing our own thing, trying to play well and get results. If one is down the chat among mates is the other side is coming for you and that’s just the way Celtic and Rangers has always been and will continue to be.
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The comments may not be overly-critical of Rangers. However, Scotland international McGregor comes across as extremely dismissive with these words.
A refusal to admit this is a Rangers side making massive strides under Gerrard would be foolish for the Parkhead outfit. Nobody will ever know what’s being said behind closed-doors, but if this is the attitude then Rangers may have a bigger chance than first though.
Where Gerrard can do himself a favour however is by making sure this is read out to every individual player. The reason being that McGregor doesn’t want to know about Rangers’ improvement. His cocky stance is one that screams “if we turn up, we win”. It’s a slap in the face to what Rangers are building and a dangerous mind-set to have.
There’s never anything wrong with confidence. Rangers players have it in abundance. However, there has to be an element of humility.
In that sense, McGregor has failed to show it.
It’s no surprise either that the midfielder will be one of Celtic’s key cogs on Sunday. His improvement over the last several years has been impressive. However, comments like these will make him a marked man.
Rangers deserve more respect for how they’ve started the season. Gerrard and his men are unbeaten so far this term having played 11 competitive matches. Celtic have been beaten twice.
The simple fact is that Gerrard’s side deserve more respect, yet McGregor comes across as cocky and dismissive. The Rangers manager should therefore make sure his players know that this is the feeling inside Lennoxtown.
Doing so could spark a fiercer reaction from his men on derby day. If that’s the case, Celtic could be in more trouble than McGregor thinks.