CELTIC face theRangers on Saturday in the first Glasgow Derby of the season. Neil Lennon’s side are one point behind having played a game less than their Glasgow rivals and can go top with a win at Paradise.
Various pundits and ex-pros are being wheeled out saying that Rangers are favourites for the game as there is no crowd and Celtic have absentees due to COVID-19.
However these same ‘experts’ would well remember the last time they tipped Rangers as favourites ahead of the first game between the teams.
September 1 2019 – Rangers 0 Celtic 2
After losing to theRangers at Ibrox in May, Celtic travelled back to Govan with a number of defensive injuries with Kris Ajer out and new defender Christopher Jullien enduring a slow start to life in Glasgow.
The home side and their support were totally shocked when Odsonne Edouard booted the ball into touch straight from kick-off. Celtic’s counter press was impressive, they worked tirelessly off the ball to limit exposures to Rangers. The plan seemed to be pressure their centre halves into make mistakes – which they did.
Connor Goldson fancied himself to play a pass between the lines only to give it straight to Mikey Johnston, who’s weighted pass found Edouard, who had beaten the offside trap. The Frenchman made no mistake, nestling the ball into the corner in front of a stunned Copeland Road stand.
Gerrard’s side attempted to come back into the game but Jullien & Bitton held firm. Fraser Forster had little to do throughout the whole ninety minutes but Celtic looked threatening on the break with the pace of Johnston, Christie, Forrest and Edouard all threatening to double the scoreline.
Jullien, McGregor, Bitton and Ntcham had half chances to increase the difference but it wasn’t until substitute Jonny Hayes sprung the ball from a Rangers corner that the game was finished.
Hayes, Edouard and Ntcham exchanged passes before the versatile Irishman slotted the ball into the net (at the second attempt) sending 800 Celtic fans in the corner into absolute delirium.
With a team of winners, who have won 9 consecutive titles and 11 trophies in a row, the message is clear – write Celtic off at your peril.