Kenny Miller says Celtic can now put "untold amounts of pressure" on Michael Beale's Rangers
When Rangers-leaning pundits start to sound a bit worried in the media, you know things are strained across the city from Celtic. With people such as Mark Hateley and Kenny Miller now sounding alarms about the rancour that could be on the way, the Bhoys clearly have a big opportunity ahead.
Hateley said through the week that a ‘tsunami’ of pressure was heading towards Beale if his side doesn’t win at Celtic Park on April 8th, with Miller now chiming in with his own ominous warning.
The former Ibrox striker, who also played for Celtic, believes that if the perception right now is that Rangers are feeling a little bit of pressure, it pales in comparison to what the reality could be in just a couple of months’ time.
The Bhoys are due to play in three derbies between now and the end of the campaign – once at Celtic Park, once at Ibrox and once at Hampden. It’s a delicious line-up, especially when you consider Ange Postecoglou’s side are unbeaten against them this season.
Writing in his Sunday Mail column [19/03 print edition], Miller said: “So far, Michael has had 19 games as Ibrox gaffer. After beating Motherwell yesterday, he’s had 17 wins, one draw and one defeat. The only points he’s dropped were against Celtic at home. And that’s where the pressure is coming from. Rangers’ failure to win any of the last four Old Firm games.
“Make no mistake. If Michael doesn’t win any of those games against Celtic this season – there will be untold amounts of pressure at the start of next term. If he thought it was intense now, it will be multiplied this summer if he doesn’t put a marker down across the city.
“They have to maintain momentum going into next season and that means getting results against Celtic between now and May. If they don’t, there will be questions over Michael’s job at the start of the new campaign. That might sound crazy. Because their league form right now is as good as when they won the 55th title unbeaten. Michael is defeating everyone else. Now, he doesn’t just have to beat Celtic – he has to beat them when it matters.”
This is pretty wild chat from a Rangers fan considering that Beale has an impressive win record since arriving, which is even noted in the comments. But then that’s the beauty of all this. Rangers have already rolled the dice on getting a new manager and it hasn’t dented their fortunes in comparison to Celtic one bit due to how relentless our team are – in fact, the Bhoys have only increased the goal difference margin between the two sides.
Celtic’s only ambition between now and the end of the season is their own success. Internally at the club, I doubt they’ll be paying much attention to what is going on at Ibrox or what is being said. Postecoglou certainly won’t care who is under pressure and who isn’t. However, it’s undeniable that Celtic sparking another implosion would be very satisfying for many supporters given the nature of the rivalry.
Given that two of the derby games this season have been competitive encounters, it is far from guaranteed that Celtic win the remaining matches or even avoid defeat. There are many factors to these high-stakes encounters. Nothing can be taken for granted, as much as we have trust in this group to deliver.
It’s funny though that Beale is already dealing with this kind of analysis from friendly faces. It seems some are not dealing with the chase very well at all, with Celtic showing no signs of weakness at this stage. Hammering home our current advantage over the next couple of months would be glorious.
In other news, Ange’s Celtic match Brendan Rodgers title-winning points total with 9 games to spare.