LISBON Lion Bertie Auld insists Scott Brown will REVEL in the intimidating Ibrox atmosphere this afternoon.
The Celtic legend reckons the 33-year-old Hoops skipper will lead by example in front of over 49,000 rival fans.
Auld, 80, said: “A lot is being made of only 750 away supporters in the ground to give Brendan Rodgers’ men their backing.
“I’ve always claimed the Celtic followers are the best in football and are the team’s 12th man. However, situations have dictated there will be restricted numbers in Govan, but I don’t think that will worry Scott Brown.
“If anything, this game is meant for a player of his leadership qualities. I don’t think there is any way he will not answer the rallying call.
“He’ll be up there leading from the front, strutting his stuff and acting as an inspiration to a younger player such as Ryan Christie, who has been a real eye-opener in recent months.
“Listen, the manager will have them going onto that pitch knowing exactly what is in front of them. They can expect the home support to attempt to knock them out of their stride.
“But any footballer worth his salt will be able to cope with what is coming down from the stands.
“In my day, Jock Stein drummed it into us to take a touch, play a simple pass and get a feel for the ball. There’s not a lot a guy sitting in Row E is going to be able to do to prevent you picking up the rhythm and moving that ball around.
GOVAN GLORY BHOY…Scott Brown celebrates another victory at Ibrox. Pic: Geo.
“Things will settle down and that’s where top-quality players such as Scott Brown, Callum McGregor and James Forrest can come to the fore.
“And it was good to see Odsonne Edouard producing when he came on against Aberdeen at Pittodrie in midweek.
“Immediately, he looked interested, coming back to pick up passes, turning and running at defenders.
“No opponent can relish the thought of a big guy with skill and power – it’s a fairly lethal combination.
“So, I think Celtic will perform to their best abilities and the skipper will thrive in the atmosphere and drive them on. He’s had a rest in recent weeks after his injury against Hibs in October and he, too, looked the part against the Dons.
“It’s dangerous to predict the outcome of one of these games where a bounce of the ball, loss of concentration or a bad call can often be the difference between success and failure.
“Having said that, I think Celtic are beginning to spark again at the right time before the winter break and the thought of going six points ahead of Rangers with a game in hand will surely spur them on.”
* DON’T miss in the unbeatable match report from this afternoon’s encounter at Ibrox – in your champion CQN.