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‘IBROX MEN DAMAGED,’ EX-SKIPPER

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FORMER Celtic skipper Tom Boyd believes Sevco Rangers will be psychologically damaged before their two meetings against Brendan Rodgers’ side next month.

The ex-Scotland defender insists the memory of the 3-2 weekend defeat against a 10-man Hoops outfit at Ibrox will be difficult to wipe from their minds before the Scottish Cup semi-final on April 15 and the final Premiership meeting at Parkhead a week later.

Brendan Rodgers has yet to sample defeat against the Govan side and has won seven and drawn two of his nine meetings against them.

Boyd, club captain when Martin O’Neill guided the team to the treble in season 2000/01, was on the receiving end in tussles with their Glasgow neighbours in the eighties.

He said: “It demoralises you and that most recent one will certainly lower their spirits because they had been getting results and scoring goals for fun, but the thing for me at Ibrox was that neither defence played to their capability.

“There were a lot of opportunities created and Rangers (sic), in particular, were exposed and the quality of Celtic’s finishes highlighted that.

“There have been a few good victories at Ibrox for Celtic recently – the 5-1 was special, obviously – but grinding it out like that with 10 men is one that will be remembered for a long time.

“It was as damaging a defeat as any at Ibrox for them and there are a few reasons for that. There was the cockiness from them beforehand and the cheering which came from their dressing room after they’d been drawn against the champions in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup.

“They’d been given some adulation after being in some wonderful games and scoring a lot of goals against some lesser opposition, so they’d gone into the game with some confidence.

“Add to that they were playing in their own territory, they’d been in front twice and Celtic had then gone down to 10 men and still beaten them, which shows the commitment and the desire of Brendan’s players.

“It will be a big blow for the Ibrox men and it was an excellent performance by Celtic. The team did their talking on the park with the quality they showed, especially the admirable way they coped with being reduced to 10 men.”

Boyd added: “Harking back to the 1990s, they were on top and had all these international and world-class players.

“Celtic have that now and it’s the extra quality they have – as well as a top manager – which makes the difference.

“Rangers (sic) also have a very inexperienced man in charge, compared to Brendan.”

* Tom Boyd was speaking at a press conference to announce the stage show “Smell the Glove”, a celebration of Wim Jansen’s Celtic’s team who stopped Rangers winning 10-in-a-row in season 1997/98. Dates have been confirmed for the Alhambra theatre in Dunfermline and Greenock Town Hall.

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