Neil McCann sounds concerned about what Celtic could have in store for rivals
Former Rangers defender Neil McCann sounds concerned about what Celtic could have up their sleeves for his former club at Hampden this afternoon.
Celtic appear to be many people’s favourites to take Rangers down for a third consecutive time today in the Scottish Cup semi-finals. It comes after previous victories at both Celtic Park [3-0] and Ibrox [2-1] over the last couple of months alone.
There is also the elephant in the room in that Celtic have had a full 8 days to prepare for the fixture. Rangers, meanwhile, looked as though they had emptied their tank against Braga on Thursday night in the Europa League.
And McCann talked up that advantage as he failed to emit that of a confident pro-Ibrox pundit heading into today’s match.
Speaking via Sportscene, he said: “To go and play extra time, 120 minutes, at such intensity because they had to keep pushing to the end, I think that plays into Celtic’s hands.
“I think Ange Postecoglou has done an incredible job at Celtic Park. He’s built a side that are great to watch, who are really fast on the attack, full of power, pace, energy – and I believe that they’ll think that after Rangers’ exploits on Thursday night, they’ll just blast out of the traps and it’ll be a tough game.
“It was really poor defending [at Ibrox], but Celtic never really give you a chance to stop. This side doesn’t need any help to get the tails up.”
First 15-20 minutes will tell us a lot this afternoon
Everyone seems to have a vision in their minds of how this game is going to go. That Celtic are going to burst out of the traps, win a few early corners, and keep Rangers firmly on the back foot. Almost a carbon copy of the game at Celtic Park back in February.
In an ideal world, that would be exactly what happens. Not because Rangers are tired from Thursday night, but because we’ve come out with the right attitude and simply start the better of the teams.
However, at the same time, we need to guard against complacency as a support. We know Ange won’t allow that kind of thinking within the dressing room. He’ll be all too aware of the momentum our rivals picked up during the week. We can’t always say for certain how that is going to channel itself into a game.
We’ll know so much more about how this game is going to go within the first 15-20 minutes alone. If Celtic come flying out the traps and have Rangers penned in, it’ll be a big morale-booster for supporters. If we don’t? It could get much trickier than we envisioned.
Regardless, there’s a reason we’re favourites and it’s not just because of our rivals’ schedule. We’ve beaten them twice already this season and have shown that we have the superior squad. Cup semi-finals, however, are all about who wants it more on the day.
Let’s see just how much hunger Ange and the Bhoys have this afternoon.