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. Celtic 2 – 0 @ 8/1


    Half-Time Correct Score




    Rangers v Celtic, Scottish Premiership


    31 December 2016 12:15


    Potential Returns:




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    Freebets redeemed



    Celtic 3 – 0 @ 25/1


    Half-Time Correct Score




    Rangers v Celtic, Scottish Premiership


    31 December 2016 12:15


    Potential Returns:




    Number of lines




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    Freebets redeemed



    Mon the hoops inti this mob.

  2. Doc



    Thinking of you and your family today.



    Giggsy borrowed the Lisbon Lions tie that Willie Wallace gave to me so that his dad can wear it today at the service as a tribute to his friend. Your dad.





    Good luck there Tony, i’m no having a bet on this one as i cant get the McLean factor out my head.



    Moussa or The Griff thats the biggy ?



    Or both ?

  4. Tony D – is that 2 half time score correct bets there? Best of luck as 3 stands would be half empty for the 2nd half.



    I also had 2 free £5 bets fhad to be used by today. But i’ve went for the more conservative (yet, easy money!) Celtic at minus 1 (15/8) and Celtic at minus2 (19/4).

  5. Team selections is it. Well, assuming no further unknown injuries I think the back 7 pick themselves –




    Lustig, I Thank Sevco, Simunovic and Izzy


    Brown and Armstrong



    I also think that Sinclair’s a definite – a logical choice!



    For the 3 remaining spots I think it will be –


    Wee Jamesy rather than Roberts


    Moussa rather than The Griff


    Christie just edging out McGregor


    Although I’d be perfectly happy with any 3 from those 6



    And Efe on the bench ;-)

  6. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on

    Doc – Sorry to hear the news about your oul fella mo chara.



    Condolences to yourself and the family from Beal Feirste.




  7. Morning all



    My back is still restricting my mobility and the medication means this will be my third straight teetotal Hogmanay. The other two were through choice but this is not.



    I know it’s not the same club as the one we played until 2012 but the new lot seem and the baggage that comes with them means that it seems pretty much what we had before. I hated those games – I went 11 years without going to them and frequently did not watch them on TV either in that time. I don’t have Sky so won’t see this one. One of the reasons I hated those games was not because they brought out the worst in them but because they brought out the worst in us.



    Obviously Celtic are clear favourites. The league table does not lie. In an exhausting December we have played in spurts and domestically it has been enough every time. But we all know that, whether we like to admit it or not, these games are different. Other than in the early 80s when they were seriously rubbish I’d always take a draw back to Celtic Park and today is the same.



    If you are going take care, be smart and if necessary take cough sweets.



    Mon the Hoops!




  8. VFR800 is now a Monster 821 on

    2 things; first and most important prayers please for my great-nephew who is very ill and on a ventilator in the neonatal unit.



    Secondly, my ticket unavoidably fell through at the last minute. Someone turned up on the supporters bus and (rightly) got the ticket. So a final shout out if anyone knows of spares going. I know I’m howling at the moon, but it’s worth try.





  9. 16 roads - Celtic über alles... on

    LG definitely should start the game because he will thrive in that atmosphere.



    If however Moussa is first choice,hopefully he has the mentality to cope with the pressure of that poisonous environment no problem.



    Moussa seems to be a cool enough character.



    In Brendan We Trust.




  10. I should have added to my last post that I am thinking of Doc. Not an easy day mate but hopefully one where you celebrate your dad as well as mourn his loss




  11. VFR800 is now a Monster 821 on

    Burgas Hoops, re your post earlier. The deid club and the zombies have had a regular silence for a good few years now at the closets game to the anniversary, so it’s not just this year.





  12. Just cannot see us losing this today even with a dodgy ref.


    Sevco only seem capable of scoring once or twice while nobody has stopped us so far domestically and i cannot see that defence succeeding!


    1-1 at the worst but id say 2 or 3-1 to us.

  13. I have my second hangover of the Christmas season. That’s twice as many as I’ve had all year. It’s also my last. I used to drink a fair bit but the last 16 years I’ve been pretty restrained. Who could be bothered with this? Yuk yuk yuk!



    And I’m invited to a party tonight! I’ll be the guy nursing a small whiskey all night.




  14. Hogmanay Greetings from a 0 degree New York .



    Exciting morning ahead .Will be trawling the racks and the crates at the mighty fine- Jazz Record Centre on West 26th Street …



    Up early for a pee. Back to bed .



    New Year Greetings to all !!!

  15. Nothing worse Robert, I am 40 next year and I swear they get worse the older I get, I do enjoy a beer or whiskey but only one or two, The hang over feeling is not worth it.








  16. VFR800 IS NOW A MONSTER 821



    You missed my point. I never said anything about THIS YEAR.



    What i am pointing out is what happened in 83/85/87 and 89 ?

  17. VFR800 IS NOW A MONSTER 821 on 31ST DECEMBER 2016 10:58 AM


    Burgas Hoops, re your post earlier. The deid club and the zombies have had a regular silence for a good few years now at the closets game to the anniversary, so it’s not just this year.










    That appears not to be true.



    This is excerpt from BBC Sports 28Th December last year (Nearest Ibrox match date to anniversary)




    Posted at 15:00



    The visitors get us started at Ibrox. Hold on to your hats…



    Posted at 14:58


    The teams are out and Ibrox is rocking!

  18. Reckon it will be
























    But who slips into big Tams jersey today??????



    Hope everyone comes home safe.


    Take care of yourselves bhoys.



    Anybody hitting The Clansman in Kilsyth today?

  19. embramike supporting Res 12 on

    Celtic starting line up v Sevco


    Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Sviatchenko, Izzaguire; Brown, Armstrong ; Forrest, McGregor, Sinclair; Dembele;

  20. Celtic Champs Elect on

    SOUTH OF TUNIS on 31ST DECEMBER 2016 11:02 AM


    Hogmanay Greetings from a 0 degree New York .




    Exciting morning ahead .Will be trawling the racks and the crates at the mighty fine- Jazz Record Centre on West 26th Street …




    Up early for a pee. Back to bed .




    New Year Greetings to all !!!




    And the same to you SOT and the GLOP



    All the best to the good old Kitalba Lang may yer rum reek :-))



    Sandman all the best to you and the gang for 2017

  21. THUNDER ROAD on 31ST DECEMBER 2016 11:13 AM



    we playing with 10 men to give them a chance.



    ps if you now the EGAN’S say hello from me.

  22. I thought that Christie might have edged out McGregor but I see that he hasn’t even made the bench.




  23. Favourite Uncle



    Not from Kilsyth, meeting a mate there to watch it.


    Will ask him if he knows anybody by that name though.

  24. VFR800 is now a Monster 821 on

    Burgas Hoops; reading back I seem to have missed the point.



    Kill Ultra, I got that from a good friend who is a season ticket holder (definitely not a hun) and he says they do it every year. No reason to doubt him. You prediction for today?





  25. GARY67




    Do you think they’re brave enough to go 3 at the back …………………… me neither :-)

  26. BURGAS HOOPS on 31ST DECEMBER 2016 11:23 AM



    Do you think they’ll be braver enough to let Forrest run at Wilson? ;-)