Celtic could deal Rangers one almighty psychological blow this weekend

By David Walton

October 12, 2020

You could be forgiven for wanting to patch Saturday’s game after the amount of body blows we’ve received over the last week.

Yes, Saturday’s clash at home to Rangers was always going to be tense enough. A chance to go top of the Premiership outright with a game in-hand in what is our most important season since we stopped the 10? Yeah, it comes with a bit of pressure alright.

So you can understand supporters who are now concerned after Odsonne Edouard and Nir Bitton picked up the virus, whilst Ryan Christie is being forced to self-isolate and questions still continue to linger over Hatem Elhamed (Scottish Sun).

Ryan Christie will definitely miss the Rangers game / (Photo by Steve Welsh/Pool via Getty Images)

Neil Lennon could be missing four of his biggest talents for the arrival of Steven Gerrard’s side. All four of them would’ve been well in contention to start the game too – with Edouard and Christie sure-fire certainties.

However, it’s vital that we don’t go into this game with a defeatist attitude. We really could do with not losing any ground on Saturday, and picking up the three points would go a long way to securing the 10. Not all the way of course, but it would be a huge step.

So let’s focus on something that hasn’t been discussed – the opportunity to strike Rangers with the biggest psychological blow they will have had since Gerrard was appointed.

Celtic can rally and secure a big result both on the pitch and off of it

If Celtic (and a Covid-stricken Celtic at that) manage to turn Rangers away with nothing on Saturday, it would be a gut-wrencher for the Ibrox club. Not only because they will have lost the first derby of the season to really hand the title initiative to us, but because there’s an expectancy from them to turn us over.

Lennon should be hammering that fact into his players ahead of Saturday. Three points wouldn’t just be three points this weekend, it would be a sign to Rangers that even when we’re going through our worst moments, they still can’t lay a finger on us.

Pretend things were going the other way. Imagine Rangers had Alfredo Morelos, Ryan Kent, Filip Helander, and James Tavernier out. You would smell blood, and a failure to beat them would be a massive blow to your confidence in future matches against them.

Neil Lennon and Steven Gerrard (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

There’s a chance to hammer home an inferiority complex into them with a sound win on Saturday. And we’re capable of doing it too.

As much as we have some top stars out, nobody is talking about those who are in line to play. The likes of Albian Ajeti, Moi Elyounoussi, Callum McGregor, Shane Duffy, and Jeremie Frimpong are all available as things stand. There’s talent littered throughout this squad.

So let’s not be too defeatist in the run-up. In truth, these positive cases have allowed us to land a massive psychological blow to our rivals. Let’s get it done Bhoys!

In other news, Mark McKenzie was at it again last night, and he received a super appraisal from his manager.