Celtic will face a Rangers side led by Steven Gerrard on the 21st of March.
After his rowdy pitch-side antics got him sent to stand in midweek, there was speculation about whether he’d be in the dugout at Celtic Park. However, the SFA have “offered” Gerrard a one-match ban [Daily Record]. The Gers boss can either appeal it, leading to a 25th March hearing, or miss this weekend’s match with St Mirren.
Ultimately, it means the prospect of playing a Rangers side without their manager present is out the window. In truth, it matters little; Gerrard could have communicated with his players anyway. It would’ve certainly mattered more if there’d been a crowd for the Glasgow Derby, but it’s a moot point now.
Celtic will either go into the match having ceded the league, or will need to beat Rangers to ensure their league title isn’t won at Paradise. It’s an unenviable position for John Kennedy, Celtic’s interim boss.
In any event, Celtic need to win both matches. While the Premiership title is just a matter of time from being Rangers’ to keep for the season, these next two fixtures have important permeations. If Celtic drop any points against Dundee United, we would be welcoming the Champions to Celtic Park on the 21st.
That would a pretty dismal prospect, all told.
Celtic to face Steven Gerrard and his Rangers side regardless of his antics
Gerrard was given a sending off from referee John Beaton after the manager’s vociferous protests against a yellow card given to Alfredo Morelos. The Colombian striker was adjudged to have dived against Livingston on Wednesday night.
While it’s always fun to have a pop at Rangers, you’d expect the same from a Celtic boss. If anything, that unity between coach and players has been missing all season at Paradise.
Rangers have had a manager who fights for his players, albeit verbally. Neil Lennon often threw his men under the bus, refusing to take responsibility for disappointing results.
So, a potentially fun sub-plot to the Glasgow Derby won’t be a factor after all.
It doesn’t change anything: Celtic have a straight-forward job to do, and that’s preventing Rangers winning the league on our turf.