While these pages were full of “I hope we never play them” comments in the years immediately after 2012, Neil Lennon wanted his Celtic team to face Newco. Neil foresaw what a well-organised Celtic machine would do before results like 5-1, 5-0, 4-0, 1-5 poured down on top of the Ibrox side. He has waited over six years, but on Sunday, Celtic’s interim boss gets his chance.
A significant part of the reason Neil was so loved at Hibernian was because of his record in Edinburgh derbies, as well as against Celtic and Newco. Hibs over-achieved in these games because Neil is a master of this kind of sporting conflict. When there is a real edge to the occasion, there is no one better than Neil Lennon.
He will be counting down the hours until noon on Sunday. The players will be more focussed and prepared than they have ever been, not one of them will be in any doubt of the outcome as they leave the tunnel. They will be determined, full of the confidence of being at home, but most importantly, will know the boundaries they need to respect to deliver a great performance.
For all that he has gone through, Neil deserves this chance. I can’t wait to see him take it.