Be warned: Celtic getting set-up as villains of derby clash before a ball is even kicked

By John McGinley

March 18, 2021

The pressure on Celtic to show deference to Rangers and give them a ‘guard of honour’ has been ramping up all week.

Brendan Rodgers, John Hughes and today Gary Caldwell have all commented on the issue recently. And those are the apparent pundits giving a ‘Celtic-minded’ view on it all.

It seems to be a constant discussion point for Sky Sports News and other outlets. It seems inevitable that John Kennedy will be quizzed about it in his pre-match press conference tomorrow.

The fall-out and discussion coming out of Sunday’s match at Celtic Park is now determined before a ball is even kicked.

When the Bhoys don’t show ‘class and humility’, as Rodgers put it earlier this week, by clapping the away side onto the pitch, no doubt there’ll be an incredible amount of tut-tutting from the media and associated pundits.

Who knows what kind of daftness is coming to emerge from the Ibrox lot and their media cheerleaders on Sunday, Monday and well into next week? Sore losers? Can’t take defeat? Big, bad Celtic? Who cares?

The only one who has seemed to put an alternative view out there is Davie Provan. Despite the Sky Sports pundit hardly being the greatest media friend of Celtic, he rightly decried the whole situation as ‘nonsense’ last weekend.

There is no guard of honour ‘debate’

You know what’s so crazy about it being such a talking point? Celtic and Rangers supporters are probably on the same page with regards to the guard of honour.

They didn’t give us one in 2019. Nobody really cared. Nobody was really expecting it. That’s the nature of this rivalry.

The only Celtic choreography we want to see v Rangers / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It might seem petty to outsiders, broadcasters and those who indulge in the “football must equal sportsmanship” narrative, but there’s no way Celtic teams and Rangers teams should be clapping each other onto the park.

Supporters simply do not want to see it and ultimately they are the most important onlookers for both clubs. It’s not about class, humility or getting one up on our rivals. It’s just the instinct at the heart of this footballing tussle.

Don’t buy into the gnashing of teeth. Just hope that Celtic can do their talking on the pitch, within the upcoming 90 minutes.

In other news, yet another youngster is set to walk out of Celtic.