Celtic and Rangers duelling monikers get knickers in a twist but a new name fits this game perfectly – Chris Sutton – Chris Sutton


Plenty of people get their knickers in a twist over what to call this game with some folk calling it the Glasgow Derby and others making Old Firm arches.

But this weekend it should be the Desperation Derby.

And it’s not just for the reasons you think. Celtic fans will probably believe it’s just Rangers who will be desperate to get through this Scottish Cup semi-final.

To them it’s the last chance saloon for the Ibrox club to get their hands on a domestic trophy with the Premiership already en route to Parkhead.

I don’t see it that way. I don’t think the league is done and dusted yet for a start.

There could yet be some more twists and turns to come.

Celtic fans would sacrifice the Scottish Cup for the league trophy and all the rewards that it brings.

I still believe it’s a big ask to beat Rangers another two times to make it four in a row.

But if I were in that Celtic dressing room I would be just as desperate as Rangers to lift the cup – along with the Premiership.

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Ange Postecoglou’s side are close to doing something really special. I know Celtic have picked up Trebles for fun in recent years but if you look historically, these things don’t actually come around too often.

When we did it under Martin O’Neill, it was the first for more than 30 years.

What an opportunity they have this year to do it – especially when the notion sounded absolutely preposterous at the start of the campaign.

I get the fact the pressure is on Rangers. Of course it’s on them.

The prospect of ending the year without any silverware would have been completely unthinkable last August.

You only have to look at their woeful cup record in the last decade as well to see they need to get their hands on a trophy.

Celtic have already stuck the Premier Sports Cup in the cabinet but they need to be greedy for even more.

They will need that hunger on Sunday because I don’t buy the suggestion my old club only need to turn up.

That’s a dangerous mindset and I’d be willing to bet it’s not part of Postecoglou’s thinking.

This is not 2018, when the sides last met in a Scottish Cup semi-final. Back then Brendan Rodgers’s side were thinking about how many it would be against a ramshackle Rangers outfit under Graeme Murty.

It turned out that way too as Celtic took the foot off thugs at four, with the likes of Moussa Dembele showboating with a Panenka and so on.

This is different. Rangers are different. They might have lost the last couple of derbies but they are still a more than decent side with players of top ability to hurt teams.

Just look at their European run. They might have stumbled domestically this term but they are not some kind of hopeless rabble.

Celtic are flying right now and have the upper hand but we are back to what it was like in my playing days in Glasgow where there is not an awful lot between the sides and anything can happen on any given day.

A mistake here, a howler there, a referee blunder, a stupid red card. There are so many factors at play and there is real jeopardy for both sides in these fixtures.

There are selection issues for both managers.

Postecoglou might have a decision to make up front, with Giorgos Giakoumakis looking like he’ll miss out.

The Greek will be a big loss as he’s been a massive player since coming back from the winter break.

Does he go with Daizen Maeda through the middle or hand Kyogo Furuhashi a dramatic first start since the turn of the year?

I can’t provide the answer as I’ve not seen Kyogo in training.

For all we know he’s been flying behind the scenes and is ready to go straight back in.

You would have to think he’ll need a bit of time to get his sharpness up though.



Kyogo

And at least there wouldn’t be any concerns about Maeda getting the nod. It’s amazing to think he had his criticism of him just a few weeks ago.

However, now he has turned into a cult hero among most of the Celtic supporters.

I can see why. His work-rate from him is phenomenal and the ability to make sprint after sprint in behind the Rangers backline played a huge part in their crucial Ibrox victory just under two weeks ago.

Maeda is a different kind of player to Kyogo but you can see what he brings to the team and the Rangers central defensive
partnership won’t fancy having him breathing down their necks for 90 minutes.

Elsewhere you’d think Tom Rogic will be given the chance to torment Rangers further and the only other question would be if Liel Abada comes back in from the start after being given a bit of a break.

No matter what, Celtic have the attacking options to trouble Rangers again – and it’s the same for Gio van Bronckhorst’s side.

He’ll need the likes of Ryan Kent to turn up and they will be using the pain of the Ibrox defeat to fuel them this Sunday.

It’s the Desperation Derby – and we are all desperate to see the eventual outcome.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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