Neil Lennon was right to emphasise the importance of discipline ahead of tomorrow’s game against Rangers; there must be a high probability that 22 players will not be on the field at the end. Beram Kayal in particular should expect tumbling Rangers players anywhere in the vicinity of his tackling.
Rangers’ squad is sufficiently thin that there was no chance they would allow the opportunity to appeal Elbows McCulloch’s red card to pass. McCulloch is seen as part of the problem by a lot of Rangers fans, concerned at their recent malaise, but he is as experienced on these occasions as anyone who will play tomorrow. Celtic will need to dominate him and Steven Davis if they to win the midfield battle.
It was at least three years ago Celtic Quick News prefixed McCulloch with the name ‘Elbows’. An elbow is the face is remarkably effective at asserting dominance, something McCulloch knows too well. It may be that the player’s overt physicality will be inhibited by his recent red card, just as team mate Shauny Aluko declined to tumble in the box when presented with the opportunity on Saturday after recently being out-ed as a diver.
Both teams will deploy unfamiliar central defensive partnerships, which will worry both Lennon and McCoist. Rangers’ Jelavic has looked like he wants to be elsewhere in recent weeks but it he gets an opportunity to put himself in the shop window he is likely to take it. Winning the early battles may sap his enthusiasm.
I don’t know about anyone else but I’ve written a couple of versions of my match report already but in all of them Gary Hooper and Georgios Samaras are match winners. If Celtic can win the midfield battle these two – hopefully Samaras from the wing – will win the points for Celtic.
You can order a hard copy of CQN Magazine, issue 5, with credit/debit card or Paypal and buy direct from the UK for only £3.50 + £1.50 postage and packing. Shipping costs £2 to ROI, £3 to Europe and £4 to elsewhere. Click on the link below to order.