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Discussion Starter #1
This is the first of 2 proverbial 6 pointers and potentially is the one that could be most influential. In reality though we must take at least a draw from the double header so with two cracks at it the pressure is not on us here in this match. It's a must win for Celtic.

A win for Celtic would take them within a point of us, albeit we still have 2 games in hand. That would though give them a massive boost knowing that if they follow it up with a home win against Aberdeen at the weekend they would sit top of the league before we play in the league again. It's OK saying we'd then have 3 games in hand but if momentum shifts then our games in hand will look alot harder than they do now.

For Celtic to get 3 points they must firstly overcome a large psychological barrier which won't be easy. Not only are they facing a side that are hard to beat but won they have not beat since Walter Smith took charge. Added to that they have not scored against Rangers in 412 minutes of football. Not since Gravesen scored scored at Ibrox have Celtic netted in that 1:1 game. So as well as being 4 straight defeats since Walter Smith arrived back at Rangers overall it's 5 old firm matches without a win for Chesney's men. I don't know what the record is for Celtic winless in old firm games but it must be going close. Already Chesney has created history as the longest Celtic have ever going without scoring against Rangers. That will weigh heavy on Celtic's shoulders.

It's a very long time since Rangers went into an Old Firm game not needing to win it and top of the league. That is though the situation we face here. Although all of us want the win and the management certainly do it is no catastrophe if we lose.

It will be no surprise that we will line up not to lose and hope to nick something from a set piece or counter attack. I think Rangers will line up as such:

----------------mcGregor

Broadfoot----Weir------Cuellar----Papac

----------------Dailly

Davis--------Ferguson----Hemdani---McCulloch

---------------Darcheville
 

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its strange - one of the most important old firm games we've had in ages (well since the last one :D ) yet its sort of sneaked up without that much attention and hype in the press due to the amount of other fixtures and other tournaments we are still playing in.
 

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A draw will be enough for the league but these games tend to go in the favour of the team that wants it more,I can see yet another backs to the wall performance here.
 

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People could say that we'll be happy with a draw, but really our game-plan won't change at all. We've got to be confident. Their players continue to do a lot of talking in the press so let's shut them up once and for all (or until the start of next season at least).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sunday's win at Fir Park will have them full of confidence again. I think that was a good thing as it's shoved the price up on Rangers. More than that though it will probably mean Samaras will be on the bench and in the two games we have played them this season he's the only one that has looked a danger to me.

The ket battle will be midfield which we should win even away from home. They will try to play around us and over us so when we don't have the ball we've got to help the wide guys.

For once I'm actually not too bothered about this one. As TB said it's just sort of creeped up. I'd obviously still like us to win it but if we don't we are still in the driving seat. A draw though would do me.
 

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I actually can't believe how the match has been priced up, but don't want to jinx.

If their players can't get themselves up for this match then they might as well have a total clear-out in the summer, but it's not like we won't be up for it. Our coaching staff and players know exactly what this game means, regardless of our league position.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
By next week they could be 2 points ahead with 4 games to go if they beat us tonight and then beat Aberdeen at the weekend. If they win the remainder of their matches then that would put give them a 14 point advantage without us playing. We would then have to get at leat the same number of points from 6 games (minus the old firm match remaining) just to draw level. That would mean we'd have to win 5 of the 6 matches to lift the title so only 1 game margin for error.

That just goes to show the league is by no means over. As you say the players and management know that so will be looking to win this match tonight. If we could achieve that then we could only throw it away thereafter.

The good thing is we've done our bit as far as the old firm games are concerned. Over a season we'd be looking to take no less than 6 points in the head to head and we've done that already. Anything else in the next two meetings is a bonus. More important than these two derbies is how we perform against the other sides. We have to ensure that we pick up more points than Celtic outside of that or at least the same. At the moment we are on track to do that but I would much rather at the moment be playing on the same amount of games as Celtic. It's too easy to count on games in hand that have not been played yet. Considering we have 5 away games from 7 it's not going to be easy.

It does though just go to show what a massive result the 1:0 at Ibrox was. Had we lost that or even drawn it then we would be having to take something tonight just in order to get into the tight position we are now. The pressure would really have been on us but thankfully tonight it is not. We have to chances to get it right but hopefully we can do it at the first ask.
 

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The line up is as follows

......................McGregor...................
Broadfoot......Cuellar...Weir.........Papac
.........................Dailly......................
Whittaker............Davis.........McCulloch
......................Ferguson....................
.....................Darcheville...................
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Bit of a horror show from Rangers who just haven't got going. I'll be expecting better in the second half once Walter has dislodged his foot from someone's arse. In saying that though we never looked like conceding which was obviously the game plan.

As much as he is overrated I have to say it was a cracking strike to score. The swerve caught McGregor out but much like Maloney's goal a few seasons back against Klos I don't think McGregor was switch on. Hinkel's shot in the last game was better placed and he saved that put like Klos McGregor was caught cold off his line.

We've never been in the game but there are signs that they are not completely confident. Next goal the winner. That would give them confidence and for us would shatter their confidence. Darche's end product has been poor tonight. Personally I'd take off Dailly and stick on Cousin in a 4-4-2. Out midfield is being bypassed anyway so we might as well have an extra man up front.

We've been hungrier in the past two meetings. They have been hungry tonight and we look like we have turned up having already won the league. I'm sure Walter will let them know at half time.
 

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Half Time:

Celtic 1 - 0 Rangers.

Rangers attempt another european style performance and to be fair they would probably have the 0-0 Smith was looking for but for a wonder strike from Nakamura.

Smith will be hoping they can stay within one and that Celtic get edgy as the game nears its conclusion as he knows 1-1 is almost as good as a win.

Only Cuellar has caught me eye for Rangers in the first half and Lee McCulloch is trying to steal Chris Sutton's record of most fouls without a yellow card in an old firm game ;)

p.s. If goal of the season has yet to be decided then we have a hot contender IMO.
 

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FT 2-1

better second half performance but a bitter blow at the end particularly as the winning goal was scored by someone who should have seen red earlier in the half.

Smith cost us the first half but the ref cost us the game :mad:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Totally agree. I thought he was already on a yellow when he tripped Novo but obviously not.

I'm not too bothered about this one to be honest. I don't like losing old firm games but by the law of averages we had to lose one sooner or later given how dominant we've been. The fact that it came against 10 men with a 94th minute goal against our reserve keeper amd with our best defender off the park doesn't change anything. They are still no more than mediocre thought now we'll probably be hearing that they are world beaters again.

We had alot of passengers tonight which didn't help but I have to say something on Whittaker. He is for my money pish but credit to the guy he had McWeedy in his pocket in the second half. Novo was superb once again and is definitely the best option off the bench.

At least for tonight we are still top.

I wanted Alexander on earlier but credit to Shagger for saving the penalty.
 

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We should just stick with Whittaker at right back now, he's never a midfielder and he looks marginally more competent than Broadfoot at right back. Still fear that pushing Hutton out is going to end up costing us big time this season.

btw i hope the doctor is all right, wonder if CCTV caught the culprits this time!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'd agree with that. Broadfoot looks very fragile back there and at least Whittaker has played there for a long time.

Pretty bad patter on the doc. I'm sure they've caught the guy and he is having his season ticket ripped up as we speak. :D
 

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Amazing second half. Best OF 45 mins I can remember in quite a while, too many things to talk about so I'll let you fans have your say first.

Commiserations on your defeat.
 

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Apparently Weir got a red card at the end of the game + a yellow so that is a three match ban and the next OF game we are without Cuellar, Thomson and Weir and a big doubt over McGregor.

Pisses me off even more about Robson getting away with his elbow in the first couple of minutes and the VoH foul :skull:
 
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