Celtic man Josip Juranovic in brilliant "from the first minute" pre-derby battle cry

By David Walton

April 11, 2022

Josip Juranovic has warned Rangers that Celtic will be up and at them “from the first minute” on Sunday.

The Hoops will face off against their Glasgow foes at Hampden in the Scottish Cup semi-final. The game will take place less than 72 hours after Rangers face Braga in the Europa League.

Juranovic and the Bhoys go into the clash with a huge psychological advantage over Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men too. Not only are we 6 clear at the top of the Premiership and gunning for a treble, but Ange’s men have won the last 2 derbies at Parkhead and Ibrox respectively.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

And as Josip talked up his love of the fixture, he’s shown how much he gets it to be a Celtic player on derby day as he called for high intensity from kick-off.

As quoted by the Scottish Sun, the right-back said: “Are we ready for Rangers? Yes, of course. The Rangers game is the biggest derby in the world and we can’t wait for it. The Cup game will be different to the other matches as it will be 50/50 in terms of fans in the stadium. It will be a new experience for me, but it will be a great atmosphere and I can’t wait.

“The small details in these games can decide the result. We will look at our opponents this week and then we’ll prepare for Sunday. From the first minute we have to give everything to make sure we win. I have never played three derby games so quickly before as we will play them in the league just after the semi-final. But we live for moments and games like that.

“We know how important it is and it might be the biggest derby in football and we know everyone is watching it. How much do I enjoy the derby? It’s hard to explain. It’s the biggest game for me and I love them.”

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Juranovic knows what Celtic fans want to see on Sunday; no shirking of duties

Celtic have formed an identity under Postecoglou this season and it’s one that makes games like Sunday so enthralling.

Rangers won’t be at their peak fitness-wise. It’s just not possible at this stage of the season and considering they’ll be emptying the tank against Braga. Not to say Sunday will be straightforward of course – cup semi-finals at Hampden seldom are – but it all points to a lively start from Celtic as we look to set the tone.

Juranovic, who cost Celtic £2.5m in the summer [Scottish Sun], has already shown his determination to start derby matches at 100 miles an hour. Even if he made a mistake letting Ryan Kent in at Ibrox, he was quickly bombing down the right and joining attacks instantly after. He’ll be looking to do the same this weekend minus the early error.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Celtic will assume Rangers will be operating at peak level of course. But they’ll also be aware of the exploits they’re having to endure at the moment. Getting in their faces from the whistle will be hugely demoralising for them and will ask a key question of their own questionable mentality and hunger for the fight.

The worst thing Celtic can do early on is to let Rangers get on the ball and ease their way into the game. We need to be the side that forces the issue and puts them on the back foot instantly. An early goal and who knows what will happen given the fatigue that looks to be setting in at Ibrox.

Juranovic’s “from the first whistle” message will be getting passed around Lennoxtown this week. No let up. No mercy. That has to be the mentality.

In other news, Matt O’Riley’s superb attitude on show as he addresses lack of Celtic starts