“Fashion Sakala’s Rangers claim is embarrassing” Chris Sutton

Chris Sutton’s Daily Record column this week in the build-up to Sunday’s Viaplay League Cup Final against theRangers has unsurprisingly focussed on the remarks made by, Fashion Sakala. The Zambian international has been running off at the mouth and has followed in the footsteps of his wet-behind-the-ears coach, Mick Beale.

His statement that the newest Ibrox club are superior to Celtic made us all laugh heartily when we read them and thought for sure the old deludamol is back in full prescription over the road. Well, Sutton has accurately labelled it as embarrassing and says it brings back memories of when a certain Graeme Souness spoke at half-time during UEFA Cup tie against Martin O’Neill’s Celtic back in 2002.

Writing in his column today, he said: “Sakala might have been pandering to the masses in his Viaplay Cup Final press conference but I’m sure there were even sensible Rangers fans who would have groaned at some of his comments. Talking about theRangers being ‘better than Celtic’ when they failed to win the league last season and are nine points behind this year is just embarrassing. Calling Celtic ‘the other mob’ is no big deal really, but it’s all a bit naive from the attacker. It was the same with Mick Beale’s refusal to name their rivals a while back. It’s all just a bit small fry. Listen, I don’t quite buy the old cliché about pinning up stuff to the dressing room wall as motivation.

“I’m not sure Celtic will need any extra motivation to win a cup final, but if they did then this will only fuel the fire. It will all be fine if theRangers lift the trophy and he gets on the scoresheet. He can say, ‘I told you so’ or whatever he wants. But he could also end up looking really silly if it doesn’t go theRangers’ way. I’m all for players speaking their minds and they should be encouraged to do so. That doesn’t mean you should be spouting nonsense though.

“There’s a stark contrast across the city. Ange Postecoglou has spent more than 25 years in the dugout and he has shown his experience in Glasgow by not getting dragged into any silliness. You also see Kyogo talking this week about the fact he doesn’t think he’s a great player yet and he still needs to work hard for his team and so on. He’s not shouting about being better than anyone. He stays humble and does the business where it matters.

He said: “When I look back to my time playing in Glasgow, there was a bit more mutual respect between the clubs. You see the likes of Barry Ferguson this week saying the same thing and basically telling Sakala to do his talking on the pitch. We felt the same. I can only imagine how Martin O’Neill would have reacted if one of us had come out with this guff. Look at how he handled the aftermath of the 6-2 Demolition Derby. We’d just destroyed our fierce rivals and he was out saying Rangers were still the benchmark. It became the buzz word of the entire campaign – even when we were out of sight.”

Sutton also took great delight in reminding us all of that fateful night Graeme Souness wrote his own European obitury, when he mispoke after the first leg of a UEFA Cup tie involving Sutton and his teammates. He said: “These kinds of comments can come back to bite you. There weren’t too many times we needed opposition players or managers to wind us up but it did happen. The Blackburn Rovers game was one. We didn’t play that well in the first leg in Glasgow but we managed to scramble a first leg win. Remember the famous Graeme Souness line about ‘Men against Boys’?

“The reason we had more respect for each other back in my playing days is because we both knew ‘the other mob’ had the potential to beat you on any given day. Victory could never be taken for granted. We thumped Rangers 6-2 and the next time out we lost 5-1. Anything was possible. It’s a similar story for this one. Rangers have shown good form under Beale and they are entitled to feel confident. But, for me, Celtic have just too much quality in attack and strength in depth for them. There are a few new players in the Ibrox squad who are stepping into the unknown and if it’s a tight game then Postecoglou has the ability to make changes from the bench that can turn a game.

He continued: “We saw it at Ibrox when Celtic were not at the races for an hour after being so dominant in the early exchanges. TheRangers will take heart from that performance but also it will ensure there’s no complacency from Celtic. Sakala has cranked it up a notch but he’s only managed to put more pressure on himself and his team. Not that it wasn’t already.

The former Chelsea and England striker also added that should the newest loudmouthed Ibrox outfit fail to scoop the trophy, it could leave their season in tatters. He added: “Celtic want to win this trophy – I think theRangers need to win it. If Celtic lose they are still in a very commanding position for the title and the main prize of the Champions League. But if theRangers lose then it will be a huge blow to Beale and supporters, including the section who had a pop at him about two trophies in 11 years and the standards of the club. Sakala’s digs might have given some of them a chuckle but let’s see who has the last laugh.”

Paul Gillespie

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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