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‘YOU CAN IMAGINE WHAT NEIL WAS LIKE,’ HOOPS HERO REVEALS ALL

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FORMER Celtic defender Mark Wilson knows the joys of scoring a winning goal against Ibrox visitors.

The one-time Scotland international right-back achieved the feat when he was the unlikely matchwinner against Ally McCoist’s side in a tense Scottish Cup replay at Parkhead in March 2011.

The first game at Ibrox has finished all-square at 2-2 when Wilson drove in the goal that settled the tie and pointed the Hoops towards a Hampden silverware success with a 3-0 victory over Motherwell.

Wilson, who was bought by Gordon Strachan from Dundee United for £400,000 in January 2006, knows all about the drama in the dressing room during the countdown to such vitally important confrontations.

The Brechin City gaffer reckons it will be no different tomorrow afternoon when Steven Gerrard brings his Govan squad to the east end of Glasgow for an encounter to be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus lockdown.

But that will not hamper the desire of Neil Lennon to make sure his players are sufficiently motivated to go out there and make sure the champions are in No.1 position with two points to spare and a game in hand after 90 minutes against their Glasgow rivals.

Wilson, speaking to Clyde Superscoreboard, said: “I wouldn’t say the players did anything differently.

“I think when you’re at that level – and you’re an elite player for Celtic and Rangers – you’re pretty much set in your mindset, anyway.

“I think the managers, and I can only speak from my point of view, maybe took it a wee bit differently.

“You can imagine what Neil was like for Celtic v Rangers games and how he got the players fired-up.

“He didn’t need to, but you could see how much it meant to him.

“Tony Mowbray was chalk and cheese. Slightly quieter, did his team meeting at the hotel and it was tactical. It wasn’t so much about motivation with him.

“Gordon Strachan was the same as Neil, he understood what the fixture was.

“So, I’ve more seen it from the management and the coaching team rather than the players. The players are in that zone from the Friday training session into the game on Saturday.”

On the managerial front, it may be worth noting Strachan won three successive titles to equal the feat set by club icons Willie Maley and Jock Stein.

Lennon has claimed five as team boss – and is determined to add to that total.

Mowbray? He was sacked after 10 months following a disastrous campaign that concluded with a 4-0 hammering from St Mirren in Paisley.

 
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