fbpx Skip to main content

There is a common misconception abounds in the week building up to any meeting between Celtic and Rangers thst follows the much-aired chat that the formbook goes out the window on such occasions.

The evidence presented via the history books would buck that theory with the positive outcome more often than not coming down in favour of the side who goes into the meeting with the wind at their back and a spring in their step.

Celtic, then, on the back of a League Cup exit to Kilmarnock and a turgid goalless draw to St Johnstone where the football was pedestrian and turgid, have every right to look towards a trip to Ibrox on Sunday with some trepidation, despite the fact that Rangers have looked fairly average in the opening weeks of the season.

There is another source of intrigue, too, with regards to the outcome of this weekend’s meeting; the victor tends to take the spoils in terms of the Championship.

Only six times in the last 38 years have the team who ended up on the losing side of the first meeting recovered sufficiently to take the title.

Ange Postecoglou was the last manager to arrest the trend as he lost his first game at Ibrox but went on to deliver the Championship in his inaugural season.

The difference is that the Celtic side that is under-performing now should not be a work in progress.

Where Postecoglou inherited a team that had been hollowed out after the disastrous Covid season, Brendan Rodgers arrived to take charge of a treble winning side with players at the peak of their game.

If Ange-ball has gone to North London, just where have Celtic gone?

Greg Taylor, playing out of skin last season, Callum McGregor, the best player in the country in recent seasons, Kyogo Furuhashi the most clinical finisher in the top flight….all seem shackled and shorn of the presence they offered Celtic.

Rodgers himself on his second tour of office at Celtic Park seems very different to the Rodgers Celtic saw first time around.

Part of that can be explained in the circumstances of his return. First time around the welcome mat was rolled out and then some as he arrived like Celtic’s messiah.

This summer there was an acceptance of his appointment by the majority who saw it is a pragmatic call but it was cushioned in the expectation that there would be a continuation of the dominance Celtic have imposed domestically across recent seasons.

As evidenced at Celtic Park at full-time on Saturday, fans are not known for their patience when that is in jeopardy.

There is an element of head-scratching among all this as Celtic look miles weaker than the team who claimed a treble last term.

This week looms large on and off the pitch now as Celtic find themselves in the familiar position of heading into the last week of a transfer window with a wish list of first-team ready players as the clock ticks loudly in the background.

▶ Check out the latest original football content – including exclusive interviews, features and unique video content across Scottish, English and world football on  PLZ Soccer YouTube HERE 

Get Instant Access To The Latest Football News To Your Phone