Celtic interim boss John Kennedy is taking no chances ahead of crucial Scottish Cup meeting

By Euan Davidson

April 16, 2021

Celtic interim manager John Kennedy is taking no chances against Rangers.

While the Bhoys will be hoping to take care of business within 90 minutes, recent Glasgow Derby meetings have been tight affairs. Given that it’s a Scottish Cup match, it might take beyond regulation time to get a result.

To that end, Celtic supporters may face the same stomach-turning experience we did against Hearts; a penalty shoot-out.

John Kennedy spoke to Celtic TV, and emphasised that it wasn’t out of the ordinary to practice dispatching chances from 12 yards.

Kennedy said [Celtic TV]:

“We always do (practice penalties), particularly in the lead up to cup matches. We’ll make sure we don’t miss anything out.

“We hope it doesn’t get to that point and we go and win the game in 90 minutes.

“But you have to prepare for everything.”

Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer wheels away in celebration vs Hearts / (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Celtic have recent history on their side from penalty spot, as John Kennedy knows

The last time Celtic faced penalties, we sealed the Quadruple Treble. In all the noise of this season, it’s a magnificent success that has been drowned out to a degree. Not by the club themselves, but the popular 20-21 stories have barely mentioned the scale of that achievement.

So, perhaps an unprecedented 5-in-a-row would put the critics back in their place. Certainly, this team’s mentality has been under question, but in vital moments they’ve shown their resolve.

That was obvious when Conor Hazard made his heart-stopping saves, before Kristoffer Ajer sealed the deal for the Bhoys [Scottish Cup/YouTube].

Of course, there’s optimism about this match. In the last Glasgow Derby, it was Celtic’s own doing that it finished 1-1. A needlessly conceded corner put paid to the lead Celtic had established. Overall, though, our play has improved exponentially since John Kennedy took the reins, and that was encapsulated in the 6-0 win against Livingston last week.

Meanwhile, our rivals have looked shakier. While they started well against Hibs last week, they were lucky to avoid a late equaliser as Jack Ross’ side tried to find away against a stubborn defence. That stubborn defence will tested again, with Celtic hoping to add a ruthless streak to a decent run of performances.

At least we know that John Kennedy is prepared for the long-haul. That can only be a good thing, but hopefully it doesn’t need to come to that.

READ MORE: If you weren’t feeling derby fever already, read this.