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.

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  1. ....PFayr ..SACK THE BOARD on



    Hope you enjoy the game today :-))



    Home with the Chris and the bhoys ??



    Musselburgh tomorrow ?



    Need to catch up soon and arrange a day or two at the races



    Quite fancy Perth or Kelso for something different




  2. STRINGER BELL on 31ST DECEMBER 2016 8:05 AM


    Re the silence and Celtic fans being set up……




    I might be wrong, but oldco Rangers would hold a minutes silence at every home fixture around Jan 1st.




    Your right, you are wrong.

  3. Colour Blind Bhoy on

    Good morning CQN, to everyone going to the game today, a safe and very happy journey.


    To Doc, best wishes to you and yours and from what I’ve read on here I know you will do your Dad proud today.





  4. ….PFAyr, thanks, tough few hours, then we will send him off with song and mirth.



    Oh and a humbling of them, now that would be a fitting way to end this.



    Thanks to all for the thoughts and good wishes.



    Give the Bhoys a cheer.

  5. Good morning friends from a dry but fairly blustery and heavy clouded East Kilbride. Another year of reports successfully completed. Might do something new for next year. But I doubt it. I know my limits.



    Doc – thinking of you and your this morning.

  6. Hope one & all had a merry Christmas… wonderful time of the year!



    That’s a very interesting and timely piece Paul67.



    Would whole heartedly agree with most of the sentiments.



    But let’s get one thing out the way first…



    We are playing NewCo Rangers, a fledgling Club, we need to understand that at all times. Sure they have identified themselves with OldCo but never forget; this illusion was created through surreptitious means, stretching from immoral to illegititmate and towards potentially felonious acts.



    No doubt this month has proven they can be a competitive Football team, more specifically, they are a good home side.



    But let’s face it, even though we’ll be up against dubious behaviour and odious decisions and versa vice… The best response Celtic can give is to play to our full potential and trounce the pretenders.



    Now and forever and ever…



    Hail Hail

  7. My thoughts are only with Doc and his family at the moment as they say goodbye and celebrate the life of a true Celtic gent and also a big nice guy who I knew as Big Doc.



    Guy who formed the Csc that showed me what a csc was all about.



    Last night, a song came on that reminded me of the big man. All the young team used to gather in the Newmarket on a Sunday to recovery from the days before excesses. As the day went on the jukebox would be fired up with the hits of the day or past. Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, The Pistols, 808 state and the jam.



    Big Doc always got in the ghetto played though. Last night, sitting with family and friends, the song came on.



    RIP Big Doc.

  8. VFR800 is now a Monster 821 on




    Faith of our fathers, living still,


    In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;


    Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy


    Whene’er we hear that glorious Word!



    Faith of our fathers, holy faith!


    We will be true to thee till death.



    Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,


    Were still in heart and conscience free;


    How sweet would be their children’s fate,


    If they, like them, could die for thee!



    Faith of our fathers, holy faith!


    We will be true to thee till death.



    Faith of our fathers, we will strive


    To win all nations unto thee;


    And through the truth that comes from God,


    We all shall then be truly free.



    Faith of our fathers, holy faith!


    We will be true to thee till death.



    Faith of our fathers, we will love


    Both friend and foe in all our strife;


    And preach thee, too, as love knows how


    By kindly words and virtuous life.



    Faith of our fathers, holy faith!


    We will be true to thee till death.





  9. Marrakesh Express on

    The irresponsible msm are itching for a non football headline and at our expense.


    Ibrox, for today anyway, will play out planet earth’s biggest festival of hatred, racism and all that is rotten about backward bonnie Scotland.


    There’s the non football headline, on a plate.


    It’ll hardly get mention, but someone be damned if you dare to cough or sneeze during the silence.

  10. West Wales Celt on

    Rare venture back here.


    Just wanted to wish all Celts going to the game a safe passage.


    Lets humiliate them on the park and do our club proud off it…

  11. Just like to wish everyone a safe day where ever you are in the world.



    Think today at the Bigot dome will be one of the worst for Honest mistakes and for them to kick us off the park.


    Sinky and wee Jamesey/Patrick will be booted up and down the park big time.



    Celtic will finish the game with 9 men Gordon and Brown to be sent off.



    The game will end 5-4 to Celtic, after going 5 up at half time..match will last 3 hours and will only finish when they run out of lecy money for the lights.



    Be good and be safe.HH





    Don’t be a stranger!



    Good to see you back on here-I wish you and yours a hugely wonderful 2017.



    And a fine day today,too!!!!

  13. PF


    Merry Christmas ( belatedly)


    Was home for 8 days but arrived back here yesterday so no racing I’m afraid. Groceries in, doors locked, curtains drawn and phones off 5 mins before kick off!

  14. All you guys going to Ibrokes today, enjoy the game, show them how to behave and get home safely.


    Hated going there as the bile from the terracing was/is horrible and nothing has changed but possible even more hatred because of our dominance.


    Enjoy today and let Brendans Bhoys send us happy into 2017




  15. Morning all.



    Still dark down here. Big black cloud right above us.



    I have that old familiar feeling when we play the deid team, foreboding. I know in a real sense the score is really irrelevant in the wider scheme of things (and of course it will hurt if we don’t) but I am very worried about the safety of each and every Celt who is in that football park today. May you all get home safe and sound.



    By the way, I have been missing Brian Mathew’s hosting Sounds of the Sixties this past month or so. Even so, I have to say that today’s programme is the best ever. One great song after another. Brilliant.

  16. Good Morning Bhoys, Take care out there Bhoys if your going and catch you on here if your not.



    Keep the updates coming Jobo, Keep it simple bro.



    Take care today Doc, Thoughts and prayers.









    I’ll listen to the rerun at 2am Monday.



    Black clouds in Ayrshire? Just Another Saturday!

  18. Celtic to win a tight game. Brownie the key man to lead by example no matter what comes our way.



    Fancy big Jozo to score today.

  19. Marrakesh Express on

    Broonie is one player who needs to be smart and avoid an early yellow. McLean will be trigger happy to get him off after that. Never my favourite player but excellent this season and definitely our main man today.

  20. No Media spin for me or build up, on here for the day bhoys.



    Its all about the 3 pts.









  21. This is the day, this is the day….



    COYBIG, 7-0, or 7-1 would be a great score for the good ghuys.







    Agree, the only way I see us losing is if we lose a man and even then. ;)



    mclean will punish for nothing I just hope Scott doesn’t give him an excuse.





  23. We could end up playing today with not one “True”Celtic fan in the team.


    The Monkeys not much better.Only Halliday,Mc Kay.


    Not like the 60s,70s,80s.


    I expect our players will know what McLean is capable of,and will act accordingly.



    I’d love to see him so frustrated he just loses it completely. Tosser.

  25. TURKEYBHOY on 31ST DECEMBER 2016 9:53 AM


    Broony will run the whole show today.




    Only if the hun McLean doesn’t red card him, and that i wouldn’t bet again’st today.