Keep or Punt: Tomorrow's derby massive for anyone who wants a Celtic future

By Euan Davidson

March 20, 2021

It feels like, ahead of a big Celtic v Rangers clash, that we haven’t actually discussed football much.

Instead, it’s been “guard of honour” nonsense; the shallow pageantry of the match as opposed to the match itself. From my own feed, I’ve seen plenty of tweets about how tomorrow is more a chore than a treat. It’s not even a feeling of inevitability we’ll lose, or optimism we’ll win, just a tepid build-up.

That shouldn’t be the case, because there’s plenty of intrigue here. Primarily from a Celtic perspective. In truth, tomorrow is an acid test for plenty of the first XI, and the squad at large. Beyond being a test for interim boss John Kennedy, there are plenty of players who need a massive game tomorrow.

That is, if they want to stay at the club.

It’s clear that massive renovation is needed at Celtic. While talk of an entire rebuild, leaving all but 5 first-team players, is ridiculous, it’s not entirely unwarranted. Between the loan players leaving and guys being moved on, we might be left with a bare-bones first-team not long into the summer. So, those who are keen to keep a locker at Lennoxtown will need to be on it from the first whistle tomorrow.

Plenty to prove / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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For much of the Celtic squad, this is the biggest test of 20-21

All the momentum is with Rangers just now.

With the title already sewn up, they’re looking to go a league season unbeaten. For the veterans, the likes of Brown, McGregor Griffiths et al, that should be incredibly unpalatable. It’s something that should be a massive motivator.

There are others, though, who need to finish the season big. Greg Taylor has been largely impressive, but another manager might not see him as a long-term answer in a problem position. Stephen Welsh surely realises there’ll be huge competition for a place he’s only just secured. Further up, Ismaila Soro can cap an excellent breakout year by controlling the tempo tomorrow.

We’ve already discussed the striking options around Odsonne Edouard; French Eddy himself will be wanting to prove a few doubters wrong, himself.

Looking at the first-team squad [Celtic FC], there are so few who are nailed-on to be at the club next season. Bearing in mind that there are always some surprises – Frimpong leaving, for example – we don’t really have much of a clue who’ll be there, under a manager whose identity we don’t know.

So there’s plenty at stake. Nothing less than a win will do, for the club, the supporters and the players themselves. Surely, there’ll be a real desire to make a point tomorrow.


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