"Too strong"; Rival supporters won't be happy with Charlie Nicholas' Celtic prediction
Charlie Nicholas’ prediction for Sunday’s Glasgow derby clash at Celtic Park is bound to rattle some cages.
The Hoops face off against their Ibrox foes looking to make it 3 successive derby wins in a row. Victory at Parkhead will also ensure that Celtic will only need a point from their final 3 league matches to secure the title.
Revenge will also be on the menu for Celtic fans after seeing Ange Postecoglou’s side lose out to Rangers at Hampden over a week ago in the Scottish Cup semi-finals.
And Nicholas certainly isn’t holding back as he tipped the Hoops to all but wrap up the title this weekend. Speaking via his Scottish Daily Express column [print edition, 26/04, page 48], Nicholas said: “The Premiership trophy will be coming home to Celtic Park after this weekend. The mood seems to be that we have let Rangers borrow our trophy for one year but now we’re taking it back.
“Sunday’s match is a must-win for Rangers but I still think the title is over because Celtic’s games in the run-in are all winnable. I know Ange Postecoglou’s side were defeated by their bitter rivals at Hampden but I don’t see them losing this one at home.
“I don’t see Ange changing too much on Sunday in terms of his approach. He will send his team out to get at Rangers and to try and blow them away. That is what he does. The only thing that might alter is his team. Tom Rogic or Reo Hatate might not start. I do think the manager will change his midfield and for that reason they will win it. The big home crowd will help them over the line and going into the last 20 minutes or so Celtic will prove too strong.”
Charlie Nicholas backing big Celtic performance at Parkhead
There’s so much riding on Sunday’s match in terms of pride. See, for me, Nicholas is spot on in his title-race assertion here. I also believe it’s won regardless of Sunday’s result. Even if we lost the derby, we would still be 3 points clear with a massively superior goal difference heading into the final 3 games.
Granted, that’s not a scenario worth thinking about at the moment. Celtic will be going all out for the points this weekend and will be putting in a power of work at Lennoxtown to ensure it happens.
There would be something hugely uneasy about losing this game at the weekend. As amazing as a title success would be, it wouldn’t sit right if we had lost the final 2 derby matches of the season. It would also raise their spirits and belief heading into next year.
If Celtic can swipe the belief away from the Rangers players on Sunday, it could give us a key advantage heading into the 2022/23 campaign.
That won’t be Ange’s sole focus heading into it. But even so, he’s a smart enough man to understand the ramifications of Sunday.
Hopefully, Nicholas’ prediction comes true. This still feels like a must-win game even if it isn’t in the context of the title-race.