“Question mark over whether they can get over that psychological hurdle of beating Celtic,” Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon has waded in to the predictions for our blood, sweat, toil and tears match-up with theRangers this Sunday lunchtime. Both sides are apparently evenly matched – although if you were to read the mainstream media in this country, you would think that Celtic were complete novices who’ve never won at Ibrox stadium – and it promises to be a cracker of a fixture.

Neil Lennon and Michael Stewart on Viaplay Sports

Whether it’s sparkling football or not is highly contentious, as both teams have been poor this season. By his own very lofty standards, Brendan Rodgers would have to admit it hasn’t been vintage at all from the Champions. But that won’t matter now if we win tomorrow and it propels us to get another League trophy to add to our past two decades of dominance in Scottish football. Most of the time when it comes to this period of the season regardless, it’s all about getting the job done.

That’s what former Celtic boss Lennon reckons his club will do, as he’s questioned if theRangers, even with the improvements Philippe Clement has made since his arrival, can overcome the psychological barrier of beating this Hoops team.

We were told back in September that we would be rolled over by an equally misfiring Mick Beale side and then again in December, it was the intrepid mastermind who had won titles in Belgium that would leave us picking up our teeth after a pounding that would haunt us the rest of the campaign. Neither of those times anything other than a comfortable Celtic win transpired and that’s what Lennon foresees happening this time out too.

“In terms of theRangers, there’s still that question mark over whether they can get over that psychological hurdle of beating Celtic,” he said. “The two games already, Celtic have won both of them and comfortably. It’s fascinatingly set up. I don’t think it’s been a quality season. Rangers have lost five games, Celtic have lost maybe three.

“In normal years, one of the teams would have been running away with it. Celtic are 14 points down on last season so there’s definitely been a drop off in consistency from their point of view. But in terms of the big games, they’ve handled them pretty well. My own opinion is that I can’t see Celtic losing it. It could be a draw or a Celtic win. But then theRangers and the crowd will be up for it. Celtic have more quality and more match winners and if (Callum) McGregor is fit then that could be pivotal for Celtic.”

The man who is no stranger to these affairs and who lived it arguably as much as any Celtic great in modern history, revealed that it’s not just the mind edge that Celtic have. He told Sky Sports: “I think he’s brought more discipline. The team is a manifestation of himself; big, strong, confident, competent and well organised. They’ve scored a lot of goals.

My only concern is they’ve lost to Benfica in the Europa League and they’ve lost twice to Celtic. Whenever they’ve come up against a higher quality of team, they haven’t produced the goods. I don’t think they’ve got an out and out goalscorer in the team whereas Celtic have goals from midfield and the wider areas. But it;s fascinatingly set up and the first goal is going to be crucial. It always is.”

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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