DAVIE HAY sees no reason to change his mind that Celtic will be crowned champions at the end of the season.

The club legend insisted in CQN last week that his old club would not be running scared in a toxic atmospshere at Ibrox on Sunday.

The former Parkhead player and manager stated he was surprised at the amount of so-called experts who thought the momentum in the title race had switch to Govan.

The club ambassador was not convinced this was the case and was adamant the champions would underline their qualities once more against Philippe Clement’s team.

Hay, speaking to author and long-time friend Alex Gordon in another CQN EXCLUSIVE, said: “I was in the stand at Ibrox along with the official Celtic party and I can only tell you the mood from everyone, from manager Brendan Rodgers through the players to the directors, was nothing but positive.

CHEERS…Brendan Rodgers roars out orders as Adam Idah and Paulo Bernardo celebrate the Republic of Ireland international striker’s goal to put the champions 3-2 ahead at Ibrox.

“Celtic were there to get a job done and I believe Brendan set out his team superbly. In fact, Brendan deserves massive credit for his approach to this encounter. I said before the game that I didn’t believe my old club would play for a draw.

“They were in Govan for a win and, unfortunately, only a stoppage-time equaliser prevented their third success over Rangers this season.

“I hadn’t realised only Martin O’Neill and I had that distinction as Celtic managers. It’s a pity Brendan didn’t join us. Never mind, there’s always next season!”

Hay, now 76, continued: “The goal that Rabbi Motondo scored to make it 3-3 looked spectacular, but If I had been the manager on the touchline I would have been sucking out my filings in frustration.

“Everyone could see what the Ibrox player was about to do. Well, everyone apart from Yang Hyun-jun. Okay, I get that he is an attacking right-sided player, but everyone has to share the defensive side of the game.

PICK IT OUT…Daizen Maeda turns away in triumph after his quickfire opener at Ibrox.

“He may not be skilled in the art of tackling, but at the very least he can jockey an opponent. He should have kept with him to block his path. That’s not too difficult a task if you keep your concentration.

“However, our South Korean switched off and Motondo was allowed to manoeuvre into the ideal position to take the shot. That’s a main playing strength of the Rangers player and it’s criminal that he was allowed to demonstrate it.

“As I recall, Ryan Kent scored a similar goal in the 2-2 draw at the same venue in January last year. Alistair Johnston was new to the club after just completing his move from CF Montreal, so we can cut him some slack.

“Like Motondo, driving in from the left and switching the ball to his stronger right foot is a main tactic for Kent. James Tavernier had netted with yet another penalty-kick to cancel Daizen Maeda’s first-half goal – that lad does enjoy an early goal in Govan, doesn’t he? – and the former Liverpool winger did what was expected to put his side 2-1 ahead.

“Thankfully – and deservedly – Kyogo Furuhashi claimed the leveller with a couple of minutes to go.”

MATT FINISH…masterful midfielder Matt O’Riley celebrates his cheeky penalty-kick for the second goal. 

Hay added: “By the way, I mentioned the art of tackling when I was discussing Yang’s abilities. Believe me, it is a precise skill to be able to time your challenge to perfection.

“One slip and your opponent can leave you tackling fresh air or on your backside. There are others who will simply take-off Superman-style if they see the opportunity and your tackle isn’t absolutely spot on.

“Too many referees are conned by these characters. There’s no need for me to mention them by name, we all know who they are.

“There is absolutely no requirement for them to be in Scottish football. Or any nation’s football, for that matter, but these individuals seem more prevalent in certain other countries where such antics aren’t quite frowned upon as they should be.

“No-one should encourage cheating in any walk of life, never mind sport.

“I switched between full-back and midfield in my Celtic career and I actually preferred playing right-back – especially if a wee bloke by the name of Jimmy Johnstone was playing in front of me!

ONLOOKER…Yang Hyun-jun (extreme left) is a spectator as Rabbi Motondo fires in the stoppage-time equaliser in the six-goal stalemate.

“Big Jock Stein drummed it into his defenders the importance of remaining on their feet when they were confronted with an opponent running at them.

“It was rare to see a Celtic defender dive in back then. No-one wanted to incur the wrath of Big Jock!

“How would my old manager have reacted to Rangers’ equaliser on Sunday? Let’s put it this way, Yang was a fortunate chap Big Jock wasn’t around to witness it.

“But the player will learn from it and hopefully put the experience to a good use in the future.”

* TOMORROW: Don’t miss another EXCLUSIVE from the Celtic legend – only in your champion CQN.


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