Another rival is talking absolute nonsense about Celtic
When talking about Celtic, you can get a sense of how Rangers veterans are feeling.
For example, Borna Barisic rushed to misquote John Kennedy, and was subsequently told to sit doon by Gordon Strachan. When you hear the other lot either playing the tie down or getting cocky, it’s normally a good sign. Joey Barton is maybe the best example of big talk and little to back it up.
Granted, it’s obvious that Rangers have been the dominant team this season. We’re quite aware of that, in extremely graphic detail. But the significance of tomorrow is obvious for both sides. A win for Rangers goes some way towards a League and Cup double. From our perspective, it’s a chance to shut our critics up for at least a week, and bring home a Scottish Cup (potentially) to put a nice gloss on an otherwise torrid season.
You could argue, if you’re au fait with meaningless sentiments, that it’s a chance to “lay down a marker”. Unless, that is, you’re Richard Gough.
You ok mate? Celtic rivals’ rent-a-quote is talking utter nonense
Gough told the Sun:
“People are talking about laying down a marker with a win on Sunday, but I don’t see how they can do that.
“For me, that hasn’t been possible since they changed the leagues in 1975 and went from having two Old Firm league games to four.
“When you play each other up to five or six times a year, there’s no such thing as laying down a marker. I think we’ve already proved that that doesn’t count.
“Celtic beat us in the 1989 Scottish Cup final and then knocked us out of the Cup in 1990, 1991 and 1997.
“Guess what? That was when we won our nine in a row, so their wins didn’t lay down any markers.
“Equally, Rangers beat Celtic on penalties in the 2016 semi-final and Celtic won their Invincible Treble the following year, so I wouldn’t be getting too excited about the result this weekend.
“Having said that, a Rangers win might just prove to be significant if they can go on and win the Double this season.”
Let’s be clear: nobody is more aware of how useless Celtic have been this season than our own supporters. Famously, we’ve been a bit miffed about it.
That said, I didn’t realise anyone was talking about “laying down a marker”. Tomorrow’s Derby is exciting in its own right, because it’s a Derby. Add the chance of eventual silverware to the mix and it’s an enticing, important tie with multiple sub-plots.
It’s nothing to do with the league. Fine, yes, Gough has some historical precedent to back him up but it’s a confusing sentiment to roll out. Then, the “Having said that” is just killer. It’s vintage nonsense.
The whole point of “laying down a marker”, surely, is establishing the psychological edge in a rivalry. If Celtic win tomorrow, it’ll create some much-needed feel-good factor around Paradise. It also has longer-term ramifications, because losing would see us finish the season trophy-less.
There’s so much actually at stake, in real terms, that any talk of metaphorical markers and memories of prior results don’t matter in the here and now. If you’re desperate to use a cliché, you could more appropriately go with “form goes out the window”.
It’s just bizarre stuff, that has little bearing on reality, no matter who you support.