3 Glasgow Derby curveballs Celtic could deploy

By Sean Clifford

April 27, 2021

Unquestionably, Celtic have not fared well against their rivals across the city in 2020/21.

Moving onto Sundays’ fixture, Celtic are still searching for their first derby win of the season at the fifth and final attempt. Team selection in these games has divided opinion amongst the support, whilst players have not performed to usual expectation.

John Kennedy will be keeping his cards close to his chest in regard to his potential starting line-up this weekend. Nevertheless, in the spirit of curiosity, here are three potential curveballs the 37-year-old could deploy at Ibrox on Sunday.

Anthony Ralston in action against Rangers (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

 Anthony Ralston

 Starting at the back, this theoretical surprise might come as a matter of necessity as opposed to fantasy. Current first choice right-back Jonjoe Kenny has endured two torrid performances against Rangers. Causing the equalising goal for our adversaries in the 1-1 draw in March, his derby bow could not have gone much worse [BBC].

Fast forward to the 18th of April, Kenny got himself into more of a pickle. Starting sheepishly, he then sliced clearance into his own net in an embarrassing 2-0 loss for Celtic in the Scottish Cup Fourth Round against Sunday’s opponents [Sky Sports]. As a consequence, Ralston may be in contention for a rare start.

Is Anthony Ralston good enough to start in such a high-octane clash? Probably not. However, he may well be a safer bet than the Everton loanee on this occasion. Should he start and put a respectable shift in, he could cement himself as an unlikely hero amongst the Celtic support.

Celtic midfielder Ismaila Soro / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

 Ismaila Soro

Probably just as implausible shout as Ralston, there is an expectation that Scott Brown will lead the Hoops out against Rangers for the final time. In spite of this, there is a very reasonable argument to suggest that Ismaila Soro should be the one to get the nod.

Just over a week ago, Brown looked unbelievably off the pace in the last Glasgow Derby. Lacking the legs to make imperative crunching challenges during the encounter, Celtic comfortably lost the midfield battle. Dynamism in the middle of the park will be crucial to an away victory, something that Soro retains in abundance.

Harshly left out at times in 2020/21, the Ivorian has averaged the highest Scottish Premiership pass accuracy in the Celtic squad on 90.1% [WhoScored]. Ultimately, at 22-years-old Soro will be at Parkhead for years to come whereas Brown will not. Why not give him a golden opportunity to show he has the metal to thrive under pressure?

Leigh Griffiths taking on Rangers / (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Leigh Griffiths

Profligate in-front of goal recently, Celtic will need to show potency in order to see the job through at Ibrox. After a goal-scoring impact in the last minute at Pittodrie last Wednesday [Sky Sports], could Kennedy hand Griffiths a surprise start on Sunday?

Celtic tend to create their fair share of chances against Rangers, though do not put away anywhere near enough. Even with constant rumours surrounding Griffiths’ future [SunSport] and fitness, there is no doubt over his ability in-front of the target. Ready made for the spotlight, the Edinburgh-born striker could be the key to unlocking the Rangers rear-guard.

Willing to run in behind as well as being one of the most instinctive finishers in the country. Griffiths may well be the talisman Celtic need looking towards the Glasgow Derby this weekend.

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