O'Neill says all the pressure is on rivals; points to underrated Celtic advantage

By Euan Davidson

March 30, 2022

Legendary former Celtic boss Martin O’Neill says the pressure is on Rangers when the two sides meet at Ibrox on Sunday.

Ahead of what could be a title-deciding clash, pundits from all and sundry are being asked for their Celtic v Rangers takes. Martin O’Neill, who’s been there, seen it and won it as a Celtic manager, is far more knowledgable than most. Especially taking into account the parallels between his debut season and Ange Postecoglou’s.

Typically thoughtful and forthright – a unique combination – the former Hoops boss said Celtic really have a four-point advantage, considering goal difference. Currently, Celtic have a 14 goal advantage over our rivals [SPFL], scoring for fun and keeping it water-tight at the back.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

O’Neill pointed this out, and said Celtic can land a significant body-blow on Sunday against Rangers. Speaking to Clyde 1 Superscoreboard, O’Neill commented: “The pressure is definitely on Rangers.

“They are unlikely to claw back that goal difference in the number of matches left, so it looks like a four point difference. So really, Rangers have got to win this game.

“If Celtic come out of this match unscathed then you’d have to say they really are in pole position. If Celtic go and win the game, which I’m sure is in Postecoglou’s mind, you’d have to think their position is very strong indeed.”

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Martin O’Neill is right; Celtic can land a major blow against Rangers, especially with goal difference

Finally!

Someone is saying it, and we’re grateful it’s Martin O’Neill. The goal advantage Celtic have over Rangers is huge; it would take something truly dramatic for our rivals to overturn it.

And that’s a function of what Ange Postecoglou has got Celtic doing. Very few goals are being conceded, with Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers providing one of the most indomitable centre-back pairings in recent memory. They, however, are very much involved in the attack, and that’s where the majority of Celtic’s plaudits go.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Before the last Glasgow Derby, we spoke about how crucial Celtic’s defence will be against Rangers. Having conceded from a corner at Ibrox, our improvement in that specific area was notable. From open play, teams also find it extremely hard to get past us.

Then, the 3-0 happened. It’s Celtic supporters with the confidence and bragging rights going into this one. What’s more, it feels a lot like Martin O’Neill’s first season, when Celtic were meant to play second fiddle to a dominant Rangers. We didn’t, the rest is history.

The pressure is absolutely on our rivals. It’s them with a different advantage though, with this crucial game being played at Ibrox.

Really, anything could happen. If Celtic can prevail though, it’ll surely have a major say on which colour ribbons are going on the Scottish Premiership in May.

Read more: “The Greek God”; Johan Mjallby loving what Giorgos Giakoumakis brings to Celtic