Celtic should replicate Ibrox kick-off routine if they get the chance
As we look ahead to Sunday’s crunch derby match at Ibrox, there will be tendency to look back at our last contest there – a 2-0 win for Celtic back in September.
Goals from Odsonne Edouard and Jonny Hayes was enough to take the three points. However, there was also another vital moment in the game that occurred with the first kick.
Celtic had the first kick-off, and instead of passing it back into their own half, Edouard booted it deep into the Rangers half and out for a throw-in. Immediately, Celtic then created a turnover and had dangerous possession around the opposition penalty area.
It didn’t lead to a clear-cut chance, but it led to a semi-exciting moment as we got into a dangerous area. It had done its job – it set a tone that Celtic were going to be pressing and in Rangers’ faces from the off.
The tactic was highly-praised on social media post-match, as it immediately made Celtic an attacking threat and took some of the fear factor away from the game.
Same again on Sunday Bhoys
If we get the chance and are on kick-off again, Celtic should do the exact same thing, yet not for the same reason.
Whilst in the last game in September it was to do with showing our teeth, this time it’s about seeing how this fragile Rangers side answers immediate questions of a ropey defence.
Rangers’ Connor Goldson, James Tavernier, George Edmundson, and Nikola Katic have all made glaringly poor mistakes in recent weeks. Giving them no time to get settled into the derby could be key and could an early error or two. This is a leaky Ibrox back-line, and they simply must be put under as much pressure as possible. At the very least, it could lead to a couple of minutes of early Celtic pressure.
Celtic would also be playing with an added attacking threat if Leigh Griffiths starts alongside Edouard. Getting the ball deep into Rangers territory immediately would see the duo get involved early and hopefully set a tone.
Of course, it all goes out the window if you don’t do the basics right over the 90 minutes. But making sure that Rangers don’t get momentum going early on is key. Our kick-off back in September did exactly that, and it could be a key element to unsettling them once again.
Rangers need to know we’re going to be making life difficult for them from the off. Even if it doesn’t have the same effect as the last contest, it’s surely worth doing once again.