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:
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.