Self-knowledge, ever feel you’re being setup?


Let’s get this one out of the way first: put notions of Newco out of your mind for tomorrow. Those of you who will be at Ibrox, and who are old enough to remember our last visit there, will have a familiar experience.

From what we gather, the stadium hasn’t changed, the home team play in the same colours, there will be some new fans, but many will have been there the last time we visited.

I’ve been going to Ibrox for over 30 years, we’ve faced some pretty awful teams in that time, but it’s never been easy. We were 2-0 down at halftime in the 2-4 game in ’83 (when Rangers were really awful). We were under the cosh for 60 minutes before things clicked in the 0-3 game in 2001. We’ve won plenty there, but we’ve had to battle for everything we’ve had.  It will be no different tomorrow.

The 5-1 game in September happened because Newco were caught in the headlights. Perhaps believing their own preseason publicity, they matched up to Celtic. It was an embarrassing mistake, one they didn’t repeat in the League Cup semi-final, when they defended deeply, hoping for good fortune on the break.

Their big players were unprepared and looked unfit. Signs of the subsequent internecine squabbles were evident on the field.


Know your limits, who you are, what you can and cannot achieve, is a primary lesson in goal setting. As far as you and me are concerned, Newco will surely repeat their Hampden tactics, double-up in the fullback positions, protect central defence, and hope Auld Kenny can pounce on something on the break.

These are more-or-less the tactics we face every SPFL game, but I’m not sure what will happen tomorrow. This is a club who not only proclaim, but protest, with their every breath, that they are Rangers. Can ‘Rangers’ really line-up at Ibrox as scared of Celtic as everyone else in the league?

Maybe, but I’m not sure. There are signs that group-think has taken hold at Murray Park. They want to be the Rangers, with a century’s worth of ‘heritage’. If they want to live that out, they will need to take the game to us.

There’s a good chance that whatever they do, Celtic will win tomorrow. In the grand scheme of things, this matters little to the home team, who have beaten Aberdeen and Hearts this month, and look capable of snatching one of the Europa League qualifier spots. They were never really “going for 55”.

But if you bring the punters in on that promise, there will be pressure from the stands to live up to that sentiment. What to do, go for it and lose 0-4, or crawl into your shell, lose 0-1, and betray your season’s aspiration? I hope they go for it.

Brendan Rodgers has two problems; whether to play Moussa Dembele or Leigh Griffiths, and whether to give James Forrest or Patrick Roberts the nod? We have two highly-achieving strikers, only one of which will start, and two fit and ready wingers competing for the slot on the right side.

My hunch is that Moussa will get the nod. I know what you’re going to say: Leigh’s on fire, but Moussa has scored more goals in his two games against Newco than the striker they are all singing about this season has in his 17 appearances. Dembele terrifies then, with good reason. They have no answer to him, they cannot shove him off the ball, cannot keep pace with him and cannot seem to find him in the box.

I expect James to start with Patrick coming on late to pick at the bones.

Tom Rogic would have started if fit, but there’s an untold story of our recent form: Rogic, Stuart Armstrong and Callum McGregor have been our form players this month. Only two will start any game. McGregor and Armstrong will not be significantly weaker than any combination with Tom.

We also have Scott Sinclair back and approaching full fitness. He’s going to love Ibrox, he’s made for this game. I expect big things from him.

What are our biggest risks? Red cards. Newco’s best chance of getting something from the game is for Celtic to have a man sent off. I’m not going to mark your card on the referee, but we’ve seen too many Celtic players ordered off there over the years not to acknowledge the possibility.

The target for the team is clear: go into the winter break 19 clear with a game in hand. There’s a confidence in and about this Celtic team which makes anything seem possible, so don’t ask for my score prediction, as I might get carried away.

The target for our 7000 supporters is to have 7000 torches illuminating the 67th minute.  If there’s one guy not participating I’ll want to know why.  If you’re going, get this planned well in advance.

Juxtapose our targets with comments from Mark Warburton yesterday, who doesn’t want to be judged on results against Celtic.

I bet you don’t, buddy.  I bet you don’t.

Ever feel you are being setup?

Following vandalism in the away section of Celtic Park earlier in the season a reciprocal agreement has been made with the offending club.  In the very unlikely event Celtic supporters vandalise property tomorrow, the club will pick up the repair tab.

Without getting into detail, there is concern that some facilities will be ‘headline ready’ before Celtic fans enter the stadium.  If you are at Ibrox when the gates open, go straight to the toilets, be the first there, photograph any damage (and how empty the stadium is at the time) and publish immediately on social media, to time-stamp what you observe.

There will be a minute’s silence before kick-off.  For reasons which are difficult to fathom, Newco have not publicly announced this silence, it will be sprung on many fans.  This will lead to some arriving at the ground unaware of the commemoration, making its observation less effective.  Alert as many as you can that this is taking place.

Tomorrow will be a celebration of Celtic.  7000 light will shine at the 67th minute, the players will shine brighter-still on the park, but be ready, the same old faces are plotting the same old distractions.  Be aware of their tactics.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author


  1. Sat at JFK awaiting the 21.30 flight to Edinburgh.



    As usual I am not confident about a win at Ayebrokes.



    A diehard Zombie I know told me in November ,that all he and his mates wanted out of the season now ,was for them to beat us at Ayebrokes in the new year fixture .


    These Zombies run a RSC and are at every fixture the Newco play.



    I expect the level of hatred to be at a different level from the normal volcanic heat that we experience at Ayebrokes.



    A boing pot of venom ready to be spewed at us.



    I expect their players to respond to this.


    I fear some of our players will not be prepared for this.



    IMHO we have been out done by the Zombies when Tifo’s were displayed recently.


    Especially at Hampden.



    I expect this to happen again on Saturday.


    They will also be prepared for our light show in the 67th minute.



    This got me to thinking what the response could be.


    One option is them doing something of their own in the 72nd minute ,about their cup winners cup win.



    Whether they do or don’t,I would love the Celtic support to chant to them ,the chant that we sang to the Man City fans at the Etihad.



    “Champions of Europe,you’ll never sing that.


    You’ll never sing that,


    You’ll never sing that,


    Champions of Europe,you’ll never sing that.”



    My flight arrives at 09.15 am in Edinburgh.


    Then there will need to be a speedy passage through Passport control ,and baggage reclaim.


    Then a mad dash along the M8 to make the Kick off.



    My prediction is that we will do well to get a draw .


    My hopes are for a win and the Hun hordes to eat their own babies.



    My first visit to Ayebrokes was in 1977 I have attended almost every match that we have played there including when the Ayebrokes has acted as a neutral venue.



    I simply detest the place.


    It is a form of torture to go there.



    But I will endure.


    Hoping for a win that will be a stark reminder to the Hun Hordes that we are the top dogs.


    That Glasgow is Green & Whyte and you you forget it.


    The peepul are a distant second and no longer the best.




  2. Gerry, it is, my Dad was a religious, and we have followed exactly what he wanted, I’m happy with that.


    Only thing we couldn’t do was sing Walk On in the Chapel, but we will at the graveside. It isn’t a hymn so understand what Cannon Mike was saying.



    WiTS, thank you.


    So much of the last few weeks has been about allowing him to rest in peace, and now I think he is.

  3. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on




    A grand read from that part of you that feels Celtic. Good that you remember.



    I spoke in disparaging terms of Celts at Ibrox tomorrow. I get you.



    Travel safely, be a voice to one of us you see heading there on their own. We are Celtic.

  4. Always do big bet on the Derby



    Sinclair first to score and celtic 3-0



    45/1 .. be nice to lift that .

  5. Doc 10.44pm



    My mum and dad had their faith, as a youngster I think I annoyed my dad as I questioned it every day (still do) but it got them both through a lot harder times than I have ever faced so I suppose it does far more good than bad :-)



    The irony is …. I now speak to MissGFTB like my parents did with me……



    I am a total hypocrite but am ok with it :-)



    Take care, and I have really enjoyed your posts and the many others about your father

  6. Catman, posted earlier I thought Dembele would start, and Griff would come on to score the second hattrick of the day:-)

  7. Sir Andy Murray…not a fan of honours stuff but as i posted here after he lost his first Major in 2011, to a fair bit of debate, he is the greatest Scottish sportsman of all time

  8. Plenty warnings chaps about traps tomorrow i.e. us disrespecting the minutes silence. Don’t give the likes of Houston, Chugg, Traynor et all any scope to influence the dumbos in the MSM.



    Someone asked me in England recently to opine on Scottish sports journalism.



    An interesting concept , I replied. A bit like hopidays on Mars. Some day it may very well happen.



    We are Celtic . We do not pathologically hate everyone else . We are driven by love of our club amd not the detestation of others like the cheats who conned Her Majesty’s revenue out of millions.



    Hope we stuff them tomorrow and we can then relax and enjoy new year to include the Thai Tims on Graham Norton



    Lets just not be caught out by bigoted twerps . We are so much better than that . COYBIG !!!!

  9. Andy Murray awarded a Knighthood whilst still competing at the highest level, what a load of Lillian Gish. Absolutely embarrassing attempt to ride on his public popularity.

  10. Saltires



    I’m still confused as to why it was referenced in the first place.



    I hope married life is treating you well P.

  11. Bada



    Agreed, I sometimes think Moussa looks as if he’s playing football for the first time. Then he usually does something special.

  12. Regarding the New Years honours list. The problem is and always be that many or most of those who deserve one are the very people who’d knock it back.

  13. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    Don`t know about a song , however there was a particularly off colour joke doing the rounds at the time which referred to a popular soft drink of the day.


    Political correctness hadn`t been invented.


    Maybe it has some merit after all.

  14. Bada 11.12pm



    LG is a better goal scorer than Moussa….best of both worlds having two great strikers



    (one great goal scorer though :-)

  15. TINYTIM on 30TH DECEMBER 2016 10:43 PM



    Firstly, you’re a bit early, you could’ve taken the subway downtown and had a refreshment or two in a Irish establishment.



    Secondly, you worry far too much about that lot. That Florida sun has went to your head! There are no guarantees tomorrow but if we’re ticking over at 70% we’ll boss them.



    And even if we don’t, the war has already been won.



    Safe flight.

  16. Bad Company, the Saint, plus Hammerstein, Ramjet



    Yes, nothing but an absolute Brendan will do tomorrow…




  17. saltires en sevilla on





    I’m still in mild shock buddy..;-)



    . enjoy tomorrow and best to you and yours!

  18. Tiny Tim



    The monkeys display at Hampden consisted of a symbol that looked like a life support machine line. On social media they’ve been roundly mocked for it.

  19. The Tim Reaper



    We were advised that we didn’t have enough time to go into Manhattan with rush hour and holiday traffic being what it is.


    Currently ensconced in the Delta Skyclub lounge ,drinking an Arnold Palmer and getting pissed off with the stammering internet connection.



    But you’re right .


    I worry far too much in general.



    Anyway ,that’s my my nature.



    Happy new year when it comes.




  20. thomthethim for Oscar OK on






    Many Felixes to you!



    Personally, I don’t want to know the inner workings of the club, purely for the reason that if i was told what they were or weren’t doing, so would our enemies.



    Some shareholders couldn’t even hold their water, never mind the business information of the club.



    I’ll wait until the big girl delivers her aria before coming to any conclusions, though I still adhere to the BC or DC options.



    Happy New Year to you and yours.

  21. Arise Sir Ray Davies, not a fan of the Honours system but will make an exception for Raymundo. Can anybody do a link to “I’m not like everybodyelse” live version thanks 5-0 or 3-0 tomorrow let’s have a humiliation. Hail Hail Hebcelt

  22. One more big effort tomorrow with three weeks rest coming up. The high press will strike the fear into them and have them kicking it in the direction they are facing. Guys like Moussa won’t be phased by the hate factory. I expect him and Sinclair to be switched on. James Forrest is the key for me tomorrow, his pace will shred them into little bits. If he’s on his game we will win easily. An early goal for us will have that place in a state of complete meltdown. It’s all there for us.

  23. TT



    beg to differ



    2 blow up dolls clearly stole the show as evidenced by reporting post event…




  24. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on




    Yeah , OK 60 th anniversary of 7-1 .



    Payback…………Felix is a cat.


    Feliz is happy.