Celtic must be mindful of getting caught in transitions at Ibrox

Celtic head to Ibrox tomorrow in what could make-or-break the season to a certain extent. Sure, it’s never over ’til it’s over, but it would be exceedingly unlikely that Phillipe Clement and his team would give away anything else outside of the return game against us at Celtic Park.

Although I’m not subscribing to the view that Clement is the return of the Messiah to Govan these days in the aftermath of the mouthy Mick Beale, he has got them beating the rest of the league very consistently and without much fuss in the main.

Now, there’s many that would argue that his side have been helped exponentially in this quest since he arrived in October, when the cockney barra-boy met his ultimate demise. There’s 15 penalties for his side that would aid this assertion – phenomenal statistic regardless of your belief.

When we faced them at Celtic Park at Christmas time, we felt again as if we weren’t quite at the level required to blow them away as we had lost momentum and had been beaten by Kilmarnock and Hearts already that month; with the Hearts defeat coming at home surprisingly enough. Even so, we still looked to dominate them on that occasion and we did it quite well apart from a few hiccups, which is perfectly reasonable considering Liam Scales and Stephen Welsh – who was replaced through injury on the day by Maik Nawrocki during the match – were partnered at the back.

Whether it was Scales, Welsh, Nawrocki or however else in the side got caught giving the ball away, they were gifted several opportunities when breaking away from Celtic attacks to get themselves ahead or equal things up.

That simply cannot be allowed to happen at Ibrox this time around, as I feel they will take them this time. They’ve added Fabio Silva and Diomande who are both decent players and have certainly improved their team. I don’t expect to have it all our own way on Sunday afternoon, but we shouldn’t have problems of our own making when it comes to losing the ball high up the pitch.

We need to be aggressive and in their faces, yes, but do not go completely gung-ho chasing the game if we don’t need to and leave ourselves exposed in sloppy play. It would be a travesty if we were to lose to this current crop of Ibrox stars and it was all down to errors with passing or movement.

All for one and one for all should be the mantra and everyone needs to chip in and help one another out too. Too many times this season players have acted like it’s not their problem, whilst waiting for someone else to make it happen. No more. With our captain back and possibly on the bench, Reo Hatate and CCV in the side from the start, hopefully we are watertight in transitions and I’ll be calm and assured in front of the telly!

Glasgow Derby Day – never gonna happen… is it?!

Paul Gillespie

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About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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