John Kennedy challenges Celtic players to be more ruthless in Sunday derby

By John McGinley

May 1, 2021

John Kennedy has challenged his Celtic players to be more ruthless in the big moments against Rangers, feeling performances aren’t too far away from being at the level required.

Despite not laying a finger on our rivals in derbies this season, Celtic have been showing improvement in their 90-minute displays against Steven Gerrard’s side.

The team are certainly creating chances. The problem is that our highest-profile players are not sticking them away in the manner you’d expect.

Kennedy reckons that’s the difference between the two teams at the moment.

Speaking to journalists in his pre-match press conference [YouTube], he said: “The deciding factors have been about maybe not being ruthless enough. That’s what changes the whole dynamic from being happy enough to ‘that’s where we should be’. That is how I have seen it so far.

“It always is a chance for you and especially since in the two games we have played against Rangers recently, we have created opportunities and had enough control of the games. In the moments that are important, Rangers have been better than us.

“When they got their chances, they have been clinical and when we have created our big ones, we haven’t been. That’s been the difference in the games.

“There hasn’t been a huge gulf in terms of the overall performance of the teams, I really don’t see much in it at all. But when it comes to big games, whether that’s in Europe or against your big rivals in Scotland, it’s about taking your big chances.

“That changes the whole dynamic of the games so that’s something we have to have in our minds going into this game. We need to be ruthless and have that edge we have shown over a number of years, but not this season. We have to get back to that and put it right.”

Odsonne Edouard hasn’t performed well enough vs Rangers this season

Edouard has been a big presence in the derby over the course at Celtic. With six goals and three assists in 12 appearances against the Ibrox side, he certainly compares favourably to a figure such as Alfredo Morelos.

This season, however, he simply hasn’t been at his best on this occasion. He hasn’t netted against Gerrard’s side since the 2-1 defeat at Celtic Park in December 2019.

Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

He was wasteful in the recent Scottish Cup clash and if he performs to a similar standard tomorrow, we’ll be up against it when it comes to securing a result.

We simply need him to turn up.

The Frenchman has the ability to answer Kennedy’s call. Will we see it tomorrow?

In other news, Bertie Auld issues brilliant Bhoys verdict ahead of rebuild.