I suppose we should start by heading the warning from Sevconian under-performer, Ian Black, who suggested that the Third Division is harder than the SPL. By this logic, Second Division Arbroath will terrify the life out of the Celtic defence ahead of their Scottish Cup tie tomorrow, they did, after all, put three goals past Inverurie Locos in the Third Round tie, and again in the replay.
Having previously experienced the delights of Brechin, Forfar and the Dundee clubs, after tomorrow, the only Tayside club I will not have seen will be Montrose. These opportunities don’t come around often enough!
In all seriousness, Second and Third Division football is not difficult, it is essentially Keep Fit on the cheap. Celtic must deal with the sincere endeavour of their opponents while giving an opportunity for several fringe players to grace Celtic Park.
With our midfield already stretched by injury and suspension ahead of the Spartak game, Neil Lennon will want to guard this area of the team in particular. Spartak play their last game before heading to Glasgow tonight, at home to Zenit, who sit five points about them after 17 games. This is a huge game for Spartak and interim manager Valery Karpin, who will either succeed as interim, and be made permanent boss, or to fail and to also lose his general manager position.
Unusually for the Champions League, they have five days to recover before facing Celtic, a game Karpin is keen to win. Celtic will technically only have four days rest but the bulk of players likely to play in midweek will surely be rested tomorrow.
Spartak will be without striker Welliton, who travelled to Germany for an operation this week. Emmanuel Emenike, who scored twice against Celtic last month, is likely to lead the line. Emenike is a penalty box striker who is more than capable of exploiting gaps in the Celtic box. Karpin may instead opt to play target-man Artyom Dzuba as a sole striker. Dzuba is not a prodigious goal-scorer but he is able to hold play up and bring others into the game.
I loved media suggestions today that Sports Direct have a fight on their hands from other firms if they want their brand used to rename Ibrox. You have to admire the intellectual endeavour that goes into news coverage in this country. Sports Direct area THE key business partner for The Rangers. The only issue open to question is how much skin they are in the game for and what they get in return. Remember this when you’re buying sports kit for Christmas!
Lower league clubs will all surely be quaking in their boots at the news The Rangers will not only bring in well over £20m in a share issue, but could also earn countless riches from stadium naming rights. The leaked IPO PowerPoint presentation suggested the Offer for Subscription would commence on Monday. I am sure it is on-plan.