FORMER Ibrox striker David Healy has urged his old club to give Celtic a guard of honour before Sunday’s midday confrontation in Govan on Sunday.
The plea came from the ex-Northern Ireland international following the news Steven Gerrard’s team would not follow tradition on this occasion, as CQNreported yesterday.
The Hoops clinched their eighth successive crown in their 3-0 triumph over Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Saturday and it is normal custom for the newly-crowned team to be applauded onto the field for their achievement in their next game.
Kilmarnock, then managed by ex-Ibrox midfielder Lee McCulloch, did the honours in April 2017 before Celtic’s 3-1 win at Parkhead.
Hearts players lined up last year, but only one player, goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin, actually put his hands together as Scott Brown led out his players for another 3-1 victory, this time at Tynecastle.
Healy, who who spent one season at the club when he joined from Sunderland in 2011, believes it would be good for Scottish football if Gers think again after his Linfield champions were applauded on to the park by rivals Cliftonville two weeks ago.
The team boss, speaking to the Sun, said: “I read Kris Boyd’s comments saying Rangers would be a classier club if they did give the guard of honour.
“In this day and age I firmly believe that it would be in the right spirit to do it.”
Cliftonville’s gesture was widely viewed as an important step in helping to bridge the historical divide between them and Belfast rivals Linfield.
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Healy, 39, added: “Cliftonville’s guard of honour at Windsor Park was appreciated not only by me, but by all the people at Linfield.
“It would have been an easy one for them to say: ‘Not for us. We’re big rivals and are from different parts of the city.’
“I was more than grateful and appreciative of what Cliftonville did for us.
“Rangers are a fantastic club and it was a dream for me to play there.
“It’s not for me to say what’s right or wrong or to be critical of a club I have so much respect for.
“Only the people in charge there can make the decision.
“However, my personal opinion is Celtic have more than earned the right for ANY team to give them a guard of honour.
“They have won the title with two games left and are deserved champions.
“Looking at it from the outside, I think it would go down very well, especially following all of the negative issues in Scottish football this season.
ON TOP…Callum McGregor outjumps Scott Arfield in the Hoops’ 2-1 win.
“It would be a huge thing for Rangers to give Celtic a guard of honour on Sunday. Not just because of the Rangers-Celtic element of things, but for Scottish football as a whole.
“I think it would help bring back a positive image of the game.
“Then, if Rangers were to win the league next year or whenever, it could be reciprocated by Celtic.
”You’re never going to please everybody. There would be those who will say Rangers shouldn’t do it.
“Traditionally, Rangers have always done the right thing.
“Over the last week I’ve seen Ibrox legends come out in support of the two Celtic legends who sadly passed away – and rightly so.
“I think that was well received not only by Celtic, but by Scottish football in general.
“If it was me making the decision, Celtic have more than earned the right to be considered the best team in the country and deserve a guard of honour.”