Celtic face theRangers this weekend in the first Glasgow Derby of the season. The match could be the perfect opportunity for Brendan Rodgers to put down a marker and announce his return to the Celtic support.
Despite wins against Ross County and Aberdeen, Celtic haven’t been at their best in the league. This was exemplified by the draw at home to St Johnstone, which only heighten alarm due to the previous week’s League Cup exit to Killie.
There has been much discussion regarding Rodgers’ style and ability to play attacking football. His results in his first spell are self explanatory but the real evidence should be obtained from his time with Leicester. The 50-year-old relishes the challenge and opportunity of going against teams that are ‘favourites’. Pundits are tipping last year’s runners up to be odds-on for Sunday but that’ll suit Rodgers and Celtic.
Brendan Rodgers will face theRangers on Sunday for the first time since December 2018. On his last visit to Ibrox, Rodgers succumbed to his first Glasgow Derby defeat after Ryan Jack’s deflected strike beat Craig Gordon in the Celtic goals.
This game was unique as it was the first time that Celtic had travelled to Ibrox with the revised allocation with just 750 supporters located in the corner between the Broomloan and Sandy Jardine stands. Celtic, who were ravaged by injuries, were off the pace and were beaten by a single goal but still kicked on and sealed the title.
Similarly, in the early part of the 2021/22 season Ange Postecoglou took Celtic to Ibrox with no away fans and a single goal from Helander stole the points for the hosts. Celtic were better that day but couldn’t find the net. Alas, Celtic found their rhythm under Ange and delivered the title.
Sunday will see Celtic make the short trip to Govan to face Mick Beale’s team, fresh after their 5-1 humbling in Eindhoven. Rodgers’ record in the fixture needs no introduction but the current unease at his reappointment is only present due to the poor form in the last two games.
Rodgers has a style that he wishes to impose on this team and he will know that the tools are there to deliver this. It is a process that will take time but fans needs to see results in order to be swayed on the Irishman’s return.
With European football on the horizon after the UCL Draw on Thursday, Rodgers will be keen to showcase that he’s adapted tactically in England. Sunday is an opportunity to deliver this, given the injury concerns in the squad.
And a Celtic victory in this fixture will go a very long way to repairing relationship with those Celtic supporters who have yet to forgive and forget after Rodgers’ swift exit in February 2019. All they’ll remember is the scoreline on Sunday if Celtic win!