Barry Ferguson’s boastful and bullish remarks on Sunday’s Glasgow derby proves Celtic must make a statement.
The Hoops go into Sunday already champions. The game has been overshadowed by the guard of honour fiasco, with many giving their opinions on the situation. Rangers have, incidentally, decided not to give Celtic the respectful gesture in an unsurprising move.
But whilst that’s probably something Celtic players don’t care about, they must take some motivation from Ferguson’s words.
The 1-0 win at Ibrox for Rangers back in December appears to still have many Ibrox fans overexcited. Ferguson appears to be one of them. Speaking on a Daily Record podcast, the former Rangers captain made some interesting remarks for Sunday.
“I’m expecting Rangers to win.
“For the past four or five times I’ve been bricking it when it comes to watching Old Firm games. And the feeling of watching the one on December 29 was good. I saw a different side to Rangers that day. I hadn’t seen that for a long, long time.
“There was a fear from the players when they came up against Celtic – it wasn’t there at Ibrox. I look at Celtic and I don’t fear them. Hopefully the Rangers players are the same. Yes, they’ve got good players but they haven’t got top, top ones. Rangers are getting there.”
Being runaway champions apparently means nothing
There’s a bit of an air sweeping the Rangers camp just now about how it doesn’t matter what we do. Forget the fact we wrapped up eight consecutive league titles in-a-row, because Rangers have managed to win a few games under no pressure.
They have a right to feel confident in their own ability. But there’s a bullishness to Ferguson’s approach that shows Celtic still have a point to prove to their rivals.
The 2-1 win at Celtic Park back in March was job done, but no statement was made. No reaffirmation of domination over our rivals was had. In fact, they came out of the game feeling good about themselves because Celtic let them back into a game they never should’ve gotten a glimmer of.
Celtic may be champions, but Sunday isn’t a kick-about. It’s not a chance to play the youngsters, and it’s not a chance to experiment with the team.
Rangers are building up some real confidence. An efficient Celtic result and performance will take the wind right out of their sails heading into the new season. That is what’s of vital importance at this stage in the game.
It would also, of course, keep Celtic’s momentum going heading into the Scottish Cup final. But at the same time it also puts huge doubt in their minds over the summer.
Ferguson’s comments are proof that Celtic have a big job to do this weekend. Here’s hoping the players are taking it all in their stride.