Celtic and Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish has given a big thumbs up to the signing of Nat Phillips from the Anfield side, believing he can thrive in environments like today’s derby.
Celtic visit Rangers in the Scottish Premiership off the back of two negative results. A huge performance is required to secure a victory or a draw. And the Bhoys icon reckons it could be a stalemate while talking up the defender’s chances of making an impact.
He wrote in his Sunday Post column today [03/09 print edition]: “With an injury crisis in the centre of defence, I would expect Nat Phillips to be given the nod. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him partnering Gustaf Lagerbielke.
“Nat has had loan spells at Stuttgart and Bournemouth. He has also played a number of games in Liverpool’s first team. I was impressed with him. He is tall, solid, powerful and good in the air. He is a very straightforward, no-nonsense operator and loves to defend.
“Playing in an Old Firm game will not faze him. He is the type of character to thrive on it and will handle big games. Sure, he is going into a game where there will be 50,000 Rangers fans and not a single Celtic supporter in the stadium. That is a difficult scenario for any footballer but Celtic will need to find a way to cope.
“I reckon it’s going to be a 0-0 draw. However, if there is a goal, the opening goal will secure the three points.”
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Despite his scoreline prediction, Dalglish also reckons you’d have to make Rangers slight favourites for today’s game, given their home advantage. That is probably how many of us are feeling today, beyond derby morning bravado.
Celtic will be doing well to escape from Ibrox with a point given the injury issues, lack of supporters and recent performance issues. I’d take that right now.