The unique Rangers superstitions players swear by from fighting mirrors to haircut bans in search for Celtic edge

Footballers are creatures of habit who find comfort in what they know best.

And the bigger the game, the more unique the pre-match rituals.

Rangers against Celtic is a fixture unlike any other and the players involved are keenly aware of the importance of getting a result.

This is a game where the smallest of margins often separate the sides.

And some will go to incredible lengths in the search for an edge on derby day with supporters wanting their heroes on the pitch to feel every emotion like them.

Nothing is off the table in a bid to be ready for a big match.

RecordSport looks at some of the blue corner’s outside-the-box thinking in the build-up to derby day at Ibrox this weekend.

Barry Ferguson

Rangers skipper Barry Ferguson had a unique approach to taking on Celtic and he detailed to RecordSport every painstaking detail he would put himself through on derby day.

He said: “I had my own way of psyching myself up for the 90 minutes ahead – and most of them involved making sure I was in some sort of pain.

“So I’d wait until the boys were going through their routines. Some would be shouting, some sitting in silence staring at the walls. Every player has his own way of getting into that zone.

“Me? I’d slip away quietly and head to the toilets. I’d have a pre-match pee and as I was standing there going about my business I’d catch my own reflection in the bathroom tiles.

“Look, I know this sounds crazy. It probably is. But I’d jab my fist into those tiles as if I was ready for a fight with the whole toilet wall. It was nothing too bad. I wasn’t trying to smash the place up or anything like that.

“I just needed to feel a bit of pain to sharpen up my senses. To get me focused on what I was about to walk into.

“Sometimes, I’d ask the toilet door for a square go too before sticking my head on it. Again, I was looking for that little edge just to get me fully pumped up for what lay ahead.

“Then I’d give myself a dig in the ribs and bite down on the inside of my bottom lip until it started to bleed just a little bit. I wasn’t taking chunks out of myself or anything like that. I just needed to give myself that extra jolt.To really feel that big-game buzz.

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“And when I was done I’d walk back into the dressing room, on a slippery linoleum floor, and do five massive jumps, bringing my knees banging into my chest.

“Looking back I realized how easy it would have been for my studs to slip from under me. I could have broken an ankle before I’d even got out the door.

“What are you f****** looking at?”

Stuart McCall

The former Ibrox enforcer remarked on his habit for superstitions in the build-up to Rangers’ ill-fated playoff Final defeat to Motherwell in the Premiership playoff Final in 2015.

And he believed he was a modern-day Samson who would be defeated if his famous ginger locks were taken away.

He said: “I used to be very superstitious as a player and that’s why I captained Rangers only 20 times. Walter Smith wanted to give me the armband but I told him I always went out the tunnel as the seventh man.

“It was silly things. If you look at me in the 1992-93 season, my hair was down to my shoulders by the end. I said I wouldn’t cut my hair until we were defeated.

“We had Celtic away the following week so I thought we would lose but we won. In the end, even I was pleased when we lost!

“But seriously, I’m not superstitious any more, although if we win I’ll get my missus to cook me the same breakfast.

“You mature, realize it doesn’t mean anything. Having said that, at Sheffield United Neil Warnock still wore the same underpants day in day out, week in week out.”

Ally McCoist

Rumor has it the club’s record goalscorer has always been someone who believes in doing things in a particular way and many Ibrox observers insist he used to plank his chewing gum on the penalty spot in the 80s and 90s.

And that carried into his coaching career as he refused to get his club suit dry cleaned during a 20-game run during in the 2007/08 season.

Ally McCoist celebrates scoring against Celtic at Parkhead in 1998

McCoist was assistant to Walter Smith and held off getting his matchday outfit washed as it appeared Rangers were destined for the title.

But Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink’s last-gasp winner sparked a remarkable Celtic title comeback and sent McCoist to the nearest laundrette.

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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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