Michael Stewart reckons the performance of Hibs at Ibrox this week has revealed a weakness in the Rangers team that Celtic can exploit during next week’s Scottish Cup derby.
Jack Ross’ side fell to a 2-1 defeat at Ibrox today but competed well in the match and could well have managed to salvage something from the 90 minutes.
Stewart, part of today’s BBC Radio Scotland panel, felt that the Hibs boss would have been deeply disappointed not to pick up a point.
The performance of Martin Boyle drew particular praise from the pundit, as well as former Rangers man Stuart McCall, who was also in the studio.
Boyle’s aptitude at finding space in the channels between Rangers defenders is something Stewart thinks should be a marker for Celtic next week.
Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland today (16:51), the former Hearts and Hibs man explained: “The key to getting at Rangers, and it’s not easy, is to try to exploit in behind the full-backs quickly in transition and Hibs do it very well.
“They’ve got a player in Martin Boyle who works that inside-right channel perfectly. All game they have been able to get in there and exploit. Jack Ross will be very disappointed.
“Just to fast forward to next week the interesting thing here is those inside channels, down the sides of the centre-halves, where the full-backs can get exposed.
“When you looked at the performance yesterday from Celtic, so many occasions Mohamed Elyounoussi and James Forrest were playing in those inside forward areas and running beyond.
“I’m just wondering if John Kennedy changed that formation yesterday with this game against Rangers in mind, trying to work on that, running beyond. That is what Hibs have done non-stop.”
Has John Kennedy already unveiled the Celtic tactic v Rangers?
Celtic’s team selection and tactics next weekend will largely depend on the status of James Forrest. The winger walked off injured during yesterday’s clash, with Kennedy has since said was a precaution.
If he’s ready to go at Ibrox, don’t be surprised to see the 4-2-3-1 formation from yesterday, as Stewart alludes to.
It would open up space in the midfield for Rangers to exploit, but it just could be the way to getting through a consistent defensive line.
The thought of Elyounoussi and Forrest having a right good go at them is one of the bright lights keeping me going ahead of the fixture.
If they were struggling with Boyle today, as claimed by Radio Scotland, surely our attacking duo can be huge thorns in their side?