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. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Doc 7.19



    Hope all goes as well as possible tomorrow……I had a wee lurk last night and read your post about the punters going to your dads funeral then the game… own father passed 2nd Jan 1995… We played the original cheats a few nights later and my mum said for me to go and watch the Celtic game as the house was filling up for the rosary, anyway about 8 days later because of the holidays my dad was laid to rest, the chapel was busy by the time we got to the graveyard for the Coatbrig / Airdrie punters St Augustines to St Joseph’s in Airdrie is a fair trek, on the way back to the social club where my father drank my mother commented on such n such wasn’t at the graveyard, I was oblivious to who was there and who wasn’t…….anyway seemingly a bus load of 50+ mourners had went to the local graveyard on Coatbridge, all my dads pals……for months then years it brought a smile to my mums face that a bus load of “eijits” her words went to the wrong graveyard






    Doc take care and the strength of your family will replace the sad tears with tears of happiness

  2. Doc


    That is a lovely post at 7:19 and you are right about HT and Minx. An absolute credit.


    Definitely off now !



  3. Evening Timdom,


    I’m looking for a bit of advice. Managed to get tickets for tomorrow- any tips about where to park? I’m bringing my bhoy and his Gran will kill me if I don’t bring him home safe and sound!!




  4. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on




    Thanks , Gerry.



    It takes all sorts to make up a community which has one thing in common.





    IMHO , It is completely illogical that the actions of one supporter or a small group of supporters should be seen as a reflection on the whole Celtic supporting body.


    Communal guilt ? Communal punishment ?



    Equally , why should we , as a group , care about the scribblings of the lepers of the Scottish press .


    We know them for what they are .


    Why should we give a damn about currying favour with them ?


    We both know that if they can`t find something to condemn us with , then they`ll invent something.


    Hope you all enjoy the game today.


    Best wishes for the New Year.

  5. DOC



























  6. i'vehadtochangemyname on

    haven’t warmed me cockles with sloe gin for a quite a while – pleasant feeling





  7. BMCUWB @ 1.18 ; Thank you sir.May 2017 bring you and everyone that are close to your heart A HAPPY AND HEALTHY PERIOD.

  8. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Doc 7.32



    Am watching the game in my wee nephews house tomorrow, he was 13 when his “pal” his grandfather passed, as a father of two he still speaks fondly of his grandad….



    Take care and I already realise the good memories are already outweighing the sadness



    As for the game the morra I would play the Griff :-)

  9. great bordeaux chips fae cambuslang and football.


    Is Eamonn Andrews about to come through my front door

  10. BSR, I’d be happy to see that team tomorrow, pace and power, but won’t complain if Dembele starts with Griffs to come on and finish them off later in the game, scoring the second hattrick of the day, after Moussa’s second against them:-)

  11. Gerry, tomorrow will be sore at times, but laughs and stories will follow.


    It will be less sore if we give the monkeys a right skelping.

  12. These are days of division. Days when people seem to seek out any difference and accentuate it: Scottish or English? Yes or No? Leave or Remain? Us or Them..?



    The Ibrox disaster is a reminder that, in the words of JFK, “we all inhabit the same planet, and we are all mortal”.



    That disaster could have happened at Celtic Park, or any other ground in the UK. The dead were all ordinary, working class fans. The feeling from Celtic fans was a recognition that transcended rivalry: the dead were just like us, and could easily have been us.



    Given all that, it should be easy – indeed, necessary – for us to be able to observe a simple minute’s silence. To those who deliberately – deliberately – disrespect it… I have no words…






    However… sadly we are right to be cynical, both of the nature of the announcement, and the timing of the memorial itself (the second this year I believe). The Rangers board is under pressure – under pressure to spend, to live up to Dave King’s promise to lavish £30 million on new players. They face the prospect of a third derby drubbing of the season and us winning the league by a record points margin. In these circumstances, they need an alternative narrative, otherwise questions might well be asked.



    My prediction: The vast majority will observe the silence. But either a few morons won’t, or the inevitable late-comers will cause a noise, therefore creating a quick-fire reaction from the Sevco fans who are absolutely itching for the silence to be broken by us (check out Follow Follow if you think I’m exaggerating).



    Cue the silence being cut short, and the rags being full of it for days. Questions for King, Warbiola, and the rest, will be shelved.

  13. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    Bingo, exactly how they want it to play out, trick being even if the silence is observed immaculately, coughing will be enough it has before. Though more sinister is any noise from any area of the sewer will be enough to break their silence and blame the Celtic support fully backed by the meeja, so it’s a no win in the propaganda stakes tomorrow. But we know that, the only way to beat it was not to turn up.

  14. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    ITALIABHOY on 30TH DECEMBER 2016 7:47 PM



    I remember seeing photographs of big Jock assisting the ambulance men on the field after the game.

  15. Italiabhoy – good post. One of our recent minutes silence was timed at almost 90 seconds but was observed impeccably. Deduce from that what you will.


    Mon the Sheep!

  16. Canalamar… You’re right. If one were to be really cynical you could say all a few Sevco fans have to do is to start reacting – it will be impossible to prove they didn’t hear anything, and as you say, coughing in the past has been used an excuse to become offended.



    Macjay – seen that picture today. Wonder if it ever gives them pause for thought…

  17. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    Again bingo and that’s exactly how it will go down. The headlines are already written.

  18. ITALIABHOY on 30TH DECEMBER 2016 7:47 PM.



    If that was a facing book post you would have a barrowload of ” Likes” and shares.


    If it was a twittering post , it would be “favoured” or retweeted mega times.



    Possibly an idea to consider for CQN , some similar vehicle.




  19. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on




    The bigotry that will be seen and heard tomorrow…is great for business.


    The old firm suits will be clicking their heels like the Gestapo.


    As much violence and hatred as possible….thats the scenario they have engineered.


    Its despicable.





  20. I hate the fact that we have to play these derby game as it brings out the worst in us. I think we will win the game (bar sending off!) but lose the PR war (try living in thr N orth of Ireland). Wierdly, would almost take a defeat if the minute silence was perfectly observed

  21. LIKE NO OTHER on 30TH DECEMBER 2016 7:33 PM


    Evening Timdom,



    I’m looking for a bit of advice. Managed to get tickets for tomorrow- any tips about where to park? I’m bringing my bhoy and his Gran will kill me if I don’t bring him home safe and sound!!







    On, or close to Shieldhall Rd mate.

  22. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    ITALIABHOY on 30TH DECEMBER 2016 8:01 PM



    Macjay – seen that picture today. Wonder if it ever gives them pause for thought…






    Doubt it,mate.


    They give us ” Big Jock knew “

  23. I’ve never, ever heard the disaster song sung in a stadium at any Celtic game. I won’t be hearing it tomorrow either.

  24. The Green Man says SACK THE Board on




    Hail Hail Comrade.


    Whats your prediction for tomorrow?




  25. Watching Hearts v Aberdeen you can see why Sevco are 2nd in the league. Two awful teams, especially Hearts, hardly a chance created.