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Posted by Douglas Cameron on 03/24/2012

Tomorrow could be the last Old Firm game played at Ibrox for quite some time if we are to believe the fantasists/realists/jelly and ice cream brigade (delete as you think appropriate).

Tempting as it is to to comment on the reappearance of Peter "sporting integrity" Lawwell or the ever confused Ticketus situation I'll pass. This weekend provides the chance to set aside the politics of our administration for 90 minutes and enjoy the football. Forget the ownership debates, the league reconstruction and the money, what draws us all together is simply the football.

The Old Firm is not to everyone's tastes, I understand that. I've had to write about the singing etc a few times in the year I've been doing this blog. The first article I wrote on here was in the aftermath of the "shame game" (Sympathy for the Devils) and certainly Sunday has the potential to get out of control. I see no reason to apologise for the passions this game stirs. If we are honest though we all love the mayhem. The fever that surrounds the match is the reason it is broadcast around the world. There aren't too many countries of our size who have a sporting event that attracts such attention.

The consensus is that Celtic cannot lose this match. Rangers don't know when the next win will come with the off field uncertainty taking a very heavy toll on it. This was scarcely a vintage Rangers side and the loss to injury of Naismith and sale of Jelavic were huge blows. However, we have not become a bad side over night. It should not be forgotten though that Rangers were comfortable winners of the first Old Firm game at Ibrox 4-2. The second game was lost 1-0 but not before a perfectly legitimate goal was missed by the match officials. Goals change games and all that...

At the time of administration Rangers were 4 points behind Celtic. No question they looked the favourites for the title and if they win it then it will be deserved. Our finances and our 10 point punishment are our problem not theirs. What nobody can deny though is that Rangers have turned round a 4 point post split deficit in recent times never mind a 4 point deficit in mid February. To call it a tainted title is going to far. That we will never know who would have won the title had the 10 point penalty never materialised is though simply a statement of fact.

My point is that despite being universal favourites for this game a Celtic win is not a foregone conclusion. Consider our likely team:

.........................McGregor(20)
Whittaker(14)...Goian(43)...Bocanegra(101)...Papac(38)
Aluko(1)...........Davis(51)...Edu(32)............Wallace(5)
..................McCulloch(18)...Lafferty(31)

The numbers next to their name denote the caps won for their respective international teams. Two of them captain their national teams. I appreciate that there is great deal of uncertainty and gloom surrounding Rangers but these are not inexperienced players. Many of them will in all likelihood have moved on by this time next year. Denied the chance to challenge for the league title the only positive they can take from this season is bettering Celtic in the remaining two Old Firm games. It is not much of an achievement but nor is it too much to ask that these players raise themselves and give the fans a win tomorrow. We have sold out all our home games since we entered administration and the players/management have received nothing but support. Tomorrow is time for the players to repay the fans.

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Comments

Posted by Andy's dads Andy on 03/24/2012

Little or Healy up top for McCullouch, keep it tight and get a draw at worst. Most important thing is fans behave, don't sink into a mire of sectarian abuse and team play with pride! WATP

Posted by Douglas Cameron on 03/25/2012

Picking a team is very difficult given the recent form and the players who have been absent through injury or suspension. Clearly we will go for experience. McCullouch is a good physical presence up front and the movement if aluko and Davis will hopefully give them problems.

Whilst I agree to an extent on the singing being realistic this is an old firm game and a highly charged one at that. The false outrage we often see does neither set of fans any credit. Celtic fans will be on the wind up like never before. The green brigade may even have looked out a dictionary to help with the spelling! Rangers fans will respond wil an enormous f you. One team will win and one will lose. Life will go on.

Posted by me on 03/25/2012

You are 21 points behind just now - Celtic could quite happily gift you 10 points back and still win the league at a cruise. I believe you should forget 2nd and worry that not come 4th. Fat Sally doesn't seem to have a scooby-doo........what was that about leaving Aluko on the bench at Tannadice????? I believe a more responsible blog would have been to worry if the fans go mental when beaten for a record breaking 4 in a row home defeats today.

Posted by me on 03/25/2012

I should have said "if" above regarding the possibility of a record breaking 4 in a row home defeat.

As an East Fife fan, I hope it is a close + entertaining game with NO crowd trouble

best wishes to both sides of the divide.

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