We’ve not met Raith Rovers on league duty since Paulo Di Canio salvaged a point with a last minute goal a long time ago but tonight’s game will be the third time we’ve met them on cup duty in four years. For Rovers, tonight will be all about their glory day in 1994, when they beat Celtic on penalties in the League Cup final.
That defeat is a footnote in Celtic history now, but it meant our trophy-less era would stretch to six years before the Scottish Cup win the following May. It was a huge blow. Some Celtic players were immediately discarded by Tommy Burns, more followed in the months to come. If you tune into certain media outlets you can still detect those who hold grievances as Celtic rebuilt without them.
In previous years I’d suggest that a League Cup game was more important than an adjacent league game, but with Aberdeen five points clear, nothing is of more immediate importance than Saturday’s game against Hearts. For the manager and players, progress to the quarter final will be of absolute importance.
Look out for personnel and perhaps tactical changes tonight. How we play has come under scrutiny in recent weeks. Ronny has experimented during the last two games and I’m sure he’ll do again tonight. Should Nadir Ciftci play, look for the areas of the field he occupies, compared to the role Leigh Griffiths performs.