Carl Starfelt brilliantly kickstarts the Glasgow derby fighting talk; sends warning to rivals

By David Walton

January 30, 2022

Celtic centre-back Carl Starfelt hasn’t wasted any time in ramping up the pre-Rangers fighting talk as he warned our rivals of the improvement in the team since August.

The Hoops were left disappointed back in the early stages of the season as we came away from Ibrox with a 1-0 defeat. Despite having some glorious chances – particularly an Odsonne Edouard sitter that was skewed wide – we again came out of the match on the end of a dismal defeat.

In truth, we’ve been playing catch-up in the Premiership title-race ever since. However, 3 points against our rivals this week would turn the tide with Celtic going top of the league.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

And Starfelt, who was solid in that 1-0 loss to Rangers back in the early stages of the campaign, has outlined Celtic’s improvement since then.

As quoted by The Herald, Starfelt said: “We’re a better team now from the last Rangers game. We’ve come a long way in our football. I hope we can show that on Wednesday night. We feel good, we are in a good run of games. We have won a lot of games and I feel the confidence is very high in the dressing room.

“I think we are ready for it. It is going to be a good game and we are going to approach it like every other game and we are going to do our best to win it. It’s still early – we don’t want to look too much at the table. Of course we really want to win the game on Wednesday but we need to be focused on every game.

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“We can’t think about other teams or what might happen in the future. We need to be focused and play every game as it comes, winning as many as possible. That’s our mindset, not to get carried away. We’re focused on playing our own football and at the end of the season, that’s when it matters where you are in the table.”

Celtic vs Rangers is important, but it isn’t do or die

You have to really enjoy these comments from Starfelt. He’s cranking up the fighting talk to reassure supporters that the players are ready for Wednesday’s challenge. But equally, he’s taking a look at the bigger picture and acknowledges that this won’t define the title-race.

Sure, it can be a big night. You think back to the 2011/12 campaign when Joe Ledley netted that famous winner vs Rangers at Parkhead. The stakes were similar. We had reined in their lead at the top and overtook them with that unforgettable 1-0 win. The same could happen this week, so the importance and symbolism of a win won’t be underestimated.

However, at the same time, reality is reality. And the reality is that the points gap is now down to a 1-game swing. If Celtic were to draw with Rangers this week, as frustrating as that would be, it would hardly be a major blow to our title aspirations.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

We can all bemoan 2 dropped points against them immediately after the game. But if Rangers go on and slip up to Hibs or Hearts in the coming weeks then it’s very much advantage Celtic regardless. That’s the position we’ve put ourselves in after hauling back 4 points over the last couple of weeks.

But even so, we won’t take too much talk of draws being acceptable at the moment. That’s probably a message that can be reinforced into the players should it actually happen. Our sights are set firmly on taking advantage of Rangers’ poor form and ending our Glasgow derby hoodoo.

It looks primed to happen when you consider the improvements we’ve made, but let’s not kid ourselves, it’s going to be an absolute nail-biter.

In other news, Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou details his personal encounters with rival fans