Rivals' legend makes warning from history after Celtic Cup success

By Euan Davidson

December 21, 2021

Celtic are playing out a story with parallels to the 1997-98 season, according to Rangers legend Brian Laudrup.

After an unconvincing start to the season, the Hoops have gained momentum. Postecoglou has brought in a talismanic striker, and sealed the first available silverware this year. While Celtic are still behind Rangers in the title race, with a game in hand and 7 points to make up, Laudrup sounds wary of the threat posed from Glasgow’s East End.

Writing in his column for the Scottish Daily Mail [print edition 21/12/21 p.76], Laudrup expressed his real concern about agony repeating itself for Rangers, with Celtic in the ascendency. He wrote: “So far, Ange Postecoglou has pretty much mirrored the impact Wim Jansen made in the 1997-98 season.

Photo by Lars Ronbog/FrontzoneSport via Getty Images

“The parallels are there. As is the warning from history to Rangers. Of course, the job for Giovanni van Bronckhorst is to ensure a different ending to this particular story than the one endured by the Ibrox team I played in, when Jansen’s side stopped us winning ten in a row.

“What an opportunity was missed in that dreadful semi-final defeat to Hibs. Instead of going head-to-head with their Old Firm [sic] rivals at Hampden, and potentially delivering an important psychological blow, Rangers were helpless as Celtic picked up the confidence and momentum that comes with getting your hands on a medal.

“Postecoglou has delivered a first trophy for Celtic. Now he has to navigate the rest of the festive period without incurring any damage in the Premiership before that hugely-important Old Firm game on January 2. For Van Bronckhorst, the challenge is to quickly shut down the renewed optimism at Parkhead.”

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Celtic buzzing and in sensational form; Rangers should be worried

Celtic hosting Rangers on the 2nd of January was always going to be seismic. Especially with its timing. Just before a winter break, and at the end of an unforgiving schedule, which has already seen both teams picking up injuries.

But from a morale perspective, it’s going to be fascinating to see what Celtic do from here. The lift that Sunday ought to have given them should be enormous. Adding key pieces to a successful squad in January, though, could be what tips the race in our favour over Rangers.

In 97-98, the Hoops added Paul Lambert, a Champions League winner. Harald Brattbakk came to provide an extra option up front. Marc Rieper, brought in from West Ham United, gave us extra grit at the back.

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Allsport

Celtic are looking to add a striker and some midfield options. Surely, no Champions League medallists will arrive at the club, the right players at the right time could provide enormous impetus to a squad who’s already got a League Cup to their name this season.

The signs are good. Rangers have been decent this season, even with managerial upheaval. They have the upper hand for now.

However, we’ve got to hope Rangers legend Brian Laudrup’s Celtic fears come true. An eerie repeat of 97-98 would bring the balance of power back to Parkhead, and make no mistake.

Read more: Fabrizio Romano reports Bodø/Glimt are losing another key player ahead of Celtic meeting