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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Sunday 20th February 2005, 12:30 at Ibrox.

PREVIEW

Seems like only yesterday that the hooped horde over the city were gloating that the SPL race was "basically" over as Celtic held a 7 point advantage. That was after only 5 games but now we fast forward to matchday 26. Who would have thought we would have been returning to Darkheid sitting top of the league? That is exactly where we are.

Our last visit there in the league was a sore one. We contained them easily and the game looked to be heading for a draw. They stole the points at the end though through an Alan Thompson strike. It could have gone anywhere but went in the net to give them all the points. It was obvious though that good football was not the way they would beat us.

In November we had a double header at Ibrox. The first of these was in the cup and it was a fantastic footballing performance from the Gers. we played our rivals off the park but once again they nipped up and stole a goal- this time through a set play. We stuck in. A good footballing move ended in Prso getting an equaliser before half-time and into extra time another great footballing move got us the winner- it was no less than we deserved.

The league game came 10 days later and once again we went to town. O'Neill has sent his team out to rough up the Gers but we stuck to playing football. It was easy and withinn 36 minutes we were cruising 2-0. They didn't like it and their overphysical tactics hadn't worked so they lost the plot. First to go was Thompson for a silly headbut on Lovenkrands. An assault on the same player took place in the tunnel and went unpunished but in the second half Chris Sutton really put the nail in Celtic's coffin when we handled the ball deliberately for an early bath. The overall response from the Celtic players and management was pathetic to watch as they embarked on a collective huff. It made the win all the sweater. :thmbup:

Last month we were back at Darkheid for the Scottish Cup. We'd lost our best defender and it showed as Celtic took the lead through route one football. We got back level through a Ricksen header but eventually lost out to a deflected Hartson strike. For the second time this season a lucky strike had given them the win.

SELLICK

Celtic of late have been playing better than they have been all season. They dropped points against Aberdeen, Dundee, Hibs and ourselves earlier in the season but look an improved proposition. Mainly they have stopped leaking goals at the back so are not needing to score as many to compensate.

There last 5 league games have been less than convincing in terms of scoreline but in the games where they kept a clean sheet they never looked like dropping points.

  • 1-0 Kilmarnock (Away)
  • 2-0 Motherwell (Home)
  • 1-0 Aberdeen (Away)
  • 2-1 Livingston (Home)
  • 2-0 Hearts (Away)

RANGERS

Up until now our form away from home has not been perfect in the league. Our defeat at Darkheid is the only one we have suffered so far but we've dropped a further 8 points in away draws at Aberdeen, Hearts, Inverness and Dundee United. Since Ferguson came back though we've been looking a much better side and will hopefully take this form into Sunday's match. Our league results have been picking up too.

  • 3-0 Hibernian (Home)
  • 3-0 Livingston (Home)
  • 2-1 Aberdeen (Away)
  • 3-0 Dunfermline (Home)
  • 1-1 Dundee United (Away)

OLD FIRM THIS SEASON

There is not alot to split both sides of the old firm. This is reflected in the results so far this season with both sides have two wins each.

SPL, matchday four (29th Aug 2004)
Celtic 1(0)-(0)0 Rangers
Thompson 85

CIS Cup (10th Nov 2004)
Rangers 2(0)-(0)1 Celtic
Hartson 66, Prso 85, Arveladze 100

SPL, matchday fifteen (20th Nov 2004)
Rangers 2(2)-(0)0 Celtic
Novo 15 pen, Prso 36

Scottish Cup (9th Jan 2005)
Celtic 2(1)-(0)1 Rangers
Sutton 37, Ricksen 47, Hartson 77

DARKHEID HOODOO

Since O'Neill took over we haven't won at Celtic Park in any competition against Celtic. It's a bad record but has to be broken sometime. I'm afraid I have to post the reminder:

  • Sun 29 Aug 2004 Celtic 0-1
  • Sat 08 May 2004 Celtic 0-1
  • Sat 03 Jan 2004 Celtic 0-3
  • Sat 08 Mar 2003 Celtic 0-1
  • Sun 06 Oct 2002 Celtic 3-3
  • Sun 21 Apr 2002 Celtic 1-1
  • Sun 25 Nov 2001 Celtic 1-2
  • Sun 11 Feb 2001 Celtic 0-1
  • Sun 27 Aug 2000 Celtic 2-6
    -------PRE O'NEILL--------------------
  • Wed 08 Mar 2000 Celtic 1-0

As you can see it's not as bad as it sounds. We started with that hammering but avenged that in the next game at Ibrox with a 5-1 humping. Apart from that only the 3-0 game sticks out and that was only because we had a makeshift team. The games have always been close and Celtic have had a habit of nicking it. Hopefully we can finally reverse this trend on Sunday.

THE TEAM

It should be the starting 11 again that faces Hibs but not sure whether McLeish will use this system or go to a 4-4-2 with Buffel playing wide right. I think this system does seem interchangable and maybe McLeish might be on to something with it.

I'm just sorry that it looks like there is no room for Alex Rae because the Old Firm games bring the best out of him. Andrews will match up with Hartson and Kyrgiakos will manmark Bellamy- he's already done that effectively this season against Henry in the CL. If Buffel get that free role then he will cause Celtic problems. A pity Djordjic is still injured but all the same not a bad looking side.

----------------Waterreus

---------Kyrgiakos--------Andrews

Hutton---------------------------------Ball

---- Ricksen------Fergsuon------Vignal

----------------Buffel

--------------Prso--------Novo


Prediction: 3-2 to Rangers.
 

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I'll go along with that line-up, with the possible exception of Rae coming in for Vignal. As with all of our encounters with the dark side the midfield battle will be really important. I just think the trio of Fergie, Ricksen, and Rae is a bit more solid against Lennon, Petrov, Thompson, and Sutton. Vignal didn't really stick to the left on Saturday anyway, he drifted into the middle quite a lot, and I still think he's a bit of a headless chicken. He'd be an adequate substitute for when Rae needs the aid of his zimmerframe later in the match.

I think 'quietly confident' pretty much sums up how I feel about this one, although maybe i've just blown the quietly bit. McLeish had better not have the slightest inkling to play for the draw. The three points are there for the taking if we perform as a team.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think Saturday showed what we are now capable of and like you I see no reason why we should not be going there for all 3 points. we are more than capable of taking them. This time last year I was just hoping we wouldn't be embarassed given the side we had but now I'm quietly confident too.

It's always difficult and if we down't win then I don't think that makes us a bad team. Likewise if we do win I don't think that'll automatically make us a better team or 100% sure of winning the title. I just hope we go out and give a good account of ourselves playing like we have shown we can. Fingers crossed that O'Neill has his players wound up again because that would give us an advantage.

I hope you are right about Rae because I'm sure he would be happy to just play in these games every season. He is after all the club captain in the absence of Klos. I just pray McLeish is not thinking about moving Fernando to right back to bring Rae in. Like you say a swap with Vignal would suffice.

I'm also hoping that McLeish does not go for the draw. If he does he could play Novo wide right with Prso alone and Buffel supporting. I don't think that is playing to our strengths so he hopefully won't go down that road.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think we've got the midfield battle covered and that's where we could win the game. Out main problem is that Celtic's style of play is to miss out the midfield with route one balls so we'll need to ensure our midfield track their runners.

If we had Klos in goal for this one I'd be very confident of the win but as he's not it could go either way- it will be tight.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Celtic have one factor on their side over Rangers and that is consistency. If they field the side that KH posted in his thread, see below, then you see most of the team have been playing since the 2000/01 season (in GREEN):

----------------Douglas

Henchoz---------Balde--------Varga--------McNamara

Petrov---------Sutton--------Lennon--------Thompson

--------------Bellamy--------Hartson

That gives them an advantage as our team is basically a new one. No matter what team we put out only Ferguson and Ricksen remain from that 2000/01 season and even then Ferguson has just returned.

Of our team only 3 were at Ibrox before the season- Ball, Ricksen and Hutton. This team is still being built which is a disadvantage but the longer the continue playing together with only minor tweaks the better they will get.
 

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Just a point on the way the bookies are pricing the match up. Over the past few years i've repeatedly disagreed with their views, and this match is no different. The difference is, in the past i've always thought the price for a Celtic victory was too big, this time I think it's too short. Why should Celtic be a shorter price for this game than they were for the Cup game in January? In terms of value, Rangers have to be the bet, but that's no guarantee we'll do it of course...
 

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i could never bet on a Rangers - Celtic match. I find it difficult enough doing the prediction league for this!....don't want to jinx anything :dazed: :moan:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Couldn't bet on it myself either- never have in fact. It's just one of those games that could go either way. Numerous factors involved. To be honest I think because of the pressure on both sides not to lose the game I think it's going to be a poor one.

BTW the teams myself and kh gave in the seperate threads were the exact teams given my Hay and Calderwood in the Record today- spooky.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've changed my mind on the way we should line up. I think we should move back to a 4-4-2. That means leaving Buffel on the bench but despite his great form of late I think that would be the best option. Physically I think he'll find it hard against a team that is physically strong so I'd prefer to get the warriors on from the start and bring in the maestro when the game opens up. I'd like to see us start like this:


----------------Waterreus

Hutton---------Kyrgiakos--------Andrews--------Ball

Ricksen---------A.Rae--------Ferguson--------Vignal

--------------Novo--------Prso

I think if we can keep it tight and competative with this line-up then later introducing the likes of Buffel, Thompson and Namouchi will win us the game.

Andrews is getting stick from alot of people but in all honesty as I'd much have an Andrews/Kyrgiakos partnership as a Balde/Varga one. They'll move Sutton to midfield which is a blessing because he'll not be around our box as much to "use his experience" to get them free kicks. In midfield there are only one winners and we'll command that area. On the flanks with a 4-4-2 we'll much up so no problem there.

Our only concern is we have alot of unkown quantaties experiencing their first or second old firm derby. If they take that on then we'll do OK. We've lost our best keeper and defender in Januray but it is a testement to Rangers that we can still go into this game with a degree of confidence.

Ultimately though nothing will be decided in this game no matter how it goes but I'd expect us again to make a match of it. we have to be confident despite the Darkheid record. We were very narrowly beaten there in the league earlier in the season with a new team yet to gel and wiped the floor with Celtic at home.
 

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Not long to go now :nervous: Nah chivo, f*ck it, let's go for their throats from the start. If we lose, at least we lose having a go. C'mon the teddies!!!!
 

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0-2.....yeeeeees :)

great stuff :) :) :star: :star:


I haven't seen the game yet, just listened on the radio...seems to have been a good 2nd half performance.

Prso, Soto, Buffel and Vignal all seem to have had good games :star:

And shocking behaviour from Ricksen....headbutting one of the coins thrown at him :rolleyes:
 

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How did Kyrgiakos play. I see since he started you guys have only conseeded one goal.
 

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He had a great game in fairness, seems like a very good player.

Our team should be thrown in the Clyde after a performance like that
 

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What a great occasion for me to come here :D

Congratulations to all Rangers fans :thmbup::D
 

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Dammit, I knew Eck would play for the draw. :happy:

Congrats to the boys, a great win and we have a team to be proud once again this season.

They made a lot of Celtic fans eat their words today. :)
 

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Get ****in' in there!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111

For a change the football team wins the match. Just think about all those idiots who said we shouldn't have signed an experienced goalie. Mr. Mullet, I salute you. He kept us in the match in the first half, and enabled us to step it up 200% in the second. Well deserved victory. We can enjoy it for the next few days, but it ain't over yet.

Cheers Julia btw :)
 

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The change at half time was like night and day, for me.

First half, Celtic probably edged (And I mean like 52% v 48% edged). But the second half, the difference was incredible, frankly. It was as if Rangers redoubled their efforts whilst simultaneously Celtic collapsed. It was amazing (for me, watching in a bar packed with Celtic fans) to see Rangers winning EVERY tackle, EVERY second ball, EVERY 50-50. At PARKHEAD, which just doesn't happen. Perhaps McLeish gave the half time speech to end ALL motivational speeches. Or maybe O'Neill did a Graham Taylor style "Rate yourself out of 10" speech and destroyed morale. :D

Even though Celtic could have prevented the 2 goals, particularly the first, I think given the second half performance Rangers would have been EXTREMELY aggrieved not to leave with a positive result.
 
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