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Discussion Starter #1
It's been 5 months since the last old firm encounter which is a breath of fresh air only tainted by the fact that 2 more are to follow in quick succession. I'm sure for this one there will be more grey and green in Govan than helped make up the 3,500 who watched the game in Livingston at the weekend- it was a rough patch. Now they are on the up again they'll be climbing out the woodwork. A flattering 3:0 over Gretna and I'm sure as usual they will be believing they are one of Europe's elite again. :D

Last time

Back in October we went into the match 3 points adrift of Celtic knowing defeat would have us really trailing. The sides setup as such:

Good Guys

---------------McGregor

Hutton----Weir----Cuellar-----Papac

Novo---Ferguson---Thomson--Adam--McCulloch

-------------Cousin

The Baddies

-------------Boruc

O'Dea---Caldwell---McManus---Naylor

Brown--Donati---Jarosik--Sno---Nakamura

-------------McDonald

Celtic tried to matchup to our "anti-football" tactics and paid the price. We pumped them. 3:0 going on 5 or 6. Nacho was the main man with a brace while the captain chipped in with another goal. It was also a statement of intent and really kick started our season.

Walter vs Chesney

The third encounter between the two managers continued Walter Smith's growing dominance in the fixture since his return. Not only have Rangers not lost but Celtic have not even scored in the 3 meetings since Walter returned.

The results have gone like this:

Celtic 0:1 Rangers Ehiogu
Rangers 2:0 Celtic Boyd, Adam
Rangers 3:0 Celtic Novo (2), Ferguson

The first was a real tight encounter but the last two have been men against boys. You have to go back to September 2006 since Chesney won an Old Firm match which is a blot at the moment on his record book and something he will find increasingly difficult to skirt around with sarcasm.

This Match

We are 3 points clear with a game in hand. Therefore we can afford not to lose this one without winning it but the win would be nice. The pressure is all on Celtic. From the team that one 5 months ago we have 2 key players missing- Hutton and Cousin. I doubt Celtic will field a 4-5-1 this time but we will without a doubt. It should be something like this:

Good Guys

---------------McGregor

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

Novo---Davis---Ferguson----Thomson---McCulloch

-------------Darcheville

That's what I think at the moment anyway. I'm not sure whether one of the midfielders will make way for Dailly. I'm also not sure whether he will start Novo, as Novo is better off the bench, but he does come to life in this fixture.

I think it will be a boring 0:0 draw but I'm hoping for the win by however many.
 

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I confidently predict it won't be 0-0 :D

Apparently Dailly is a major doubt for the match with a toe injury, so maybe it's a matter of Walter going with Thomson or Hemdani. Given Novo's goals against this mob, i'd be happy if we started with him rather than Burke, who has been absolutely shocking in the last couple of weeks.

It would be nice if you could accurately predict Old Firm matches based on stats and historical results, because we'd have a walkover. Unfortunately you can't. Despite Celtic's dodgy recent form they're by no means out of the title-race. At any rate I think this is a game we can't really afford to lose with the two Parkhead games coming. I'm hoping Smith and Coisty will be drumming it into the players not to settle for a draw, though. We should be going out to try and destroy their season.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Not that it would ever happen even if Cousin was able to play but I would really love to have seen us go into this match in a 4-4-2 with Cousin and Darcheville up front. They would have ran riot with the two thugs at the back.

Like TB I think Cousin is the best choice in a 4-5-1. It might still work with Darcheville but it will be very different and I don't think as effective. With Cousin we have a guy who you can hit with the ball whereas with Darche the ball will have to be knocked into space. Given his injury problems it may only take a couple of kicks from one of the hatchet men before he's carried off and then we are really buggered in that formation.

It will be interesting to see what Walter does elsewhere. The left hand side is a problem. Really he only has McCulloch or Adam to choose from and both are not deserving of a start. It also means Papac is not going to get alot of cover. As Angle says Burke is another one who should not be getting a look in.

The midfield battle should be key. That's where we won in last time. Ferguson we know will start so we can only hope he finds what he produced last time. I think Thomson is another definite starter. This is his type of match and by what I've read he apparently played well against Hibs. So it really leaves Hemdani, Davis and Dailly (I believe Dailly's toe will be fine when the Scotland match finishes). I think Smith will want Dailly in there to help cover the full backs. He may then shove Davis out right and leave Novo for later.
 

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I think it would be a mistake to push Davis onto the right and essentially out of the game. I'd understand Walter playing Dailly as extra protection if the game was being played at Parkhead, but it's not. It's a home game and I think we should go to win it rather than avoid defeat. I know it's a really fine line, but I think having a central midfield trio of Ferguson, Thomson, and Davis could wipe the floor with whoever plays there for Celtic. And as TEH says, the midfield battle is the key.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Davis was really coming on to a game until Walter shoved him wide and I still think he's looking a bit lost now. That is one of the annoying things about Walter. I remember one game he had Beasley on the right and Novo on the left, Whittaker at left back, McCulloch as striker, Ferguson as a supporting striker, etc. I wouldn't imagine he would out Ferguson, Thomson or Hemdani out to right midfield so it bemuses me why he done it with Davis- and will probably do it again.

I'm all for going for the jugular too but we all know Walter. The wide midfielders should be covering the full backs but Walter will want someone else to do that too. Again though if we win I don't care how he does it now- but I'll still moan.

As much as I think McGeady is overrated he could be their main threat. Not because he is anywhere as good as he is hyped up to be but because I don't really trust Broadfoot defensively. Maybe even Dailly would be a better option there. Broadfoot for me has potential but is still too green and a bit silly. If he goes in like he was doing against Partick then he'll not stay on the park long.

That midfield trio as you say though should be more than capable of taking on whoever Celtic field. I'd imagine Hartley will be in there this time as Donuti is guff. Hartley and Broon would be no match for our 3 in there and even if they went with a third, Sno say, we should still squoosh it.
 

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Good point about McGeady v Broadfoot. Hutton had the wonderbhoy in his back pocket as we know, but i'd be worried about Broadfoot. I'd favour Whittaker over him. Whittaker's better going forward and if he's making forward runs then McGeady has to track back.

It might not be the most sportsmanlike thing to do, but Scott Brown has to be targeted. The guy's a nutter. You'd think after all this talk about his bookings he would have screwed the nut tonight, in what was a friendly after all. But no, he was in with the two footed challenges and bodychecks. Several people have been asking me this week if they can get a price on him to be sent off at the weekend. You can't get that bet, but he'd definitely be the favourite.
 

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There is always the niggling doubt that rush to cash in on Hutton isgoing to end up costing us this season. Seeing him in the Scotland game last night just reinforced how much we have missed his driving runs forward
 

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Yeah, and I watched Spurs v Portsmouth at the weekend. He's just such a solid player. Great going forward and very difficult to go past on the wings. Something you can't really say about Broadfoot or Whittaker.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hutton looks so confident now the move has obviously been the right one for him. I'm a little annoyed still we did not have a proper replacement before we let him go.

I spotted this yesterday. Both Hutton and Cousin will be a miss.

[tub]Fvj3h3q81eE[/tub]
 

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Great stuff. Shows we can play some football sometimes. Hope to see more on Saturday :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I doubt there will be much silky soccer on show tomorrow. It's going to be a right battle I think but I'm glad of that because we have a few battlers in there. My biggest concern tomorrow is someone losing the head like Broadfoot, Adam or McCulloch- if either of those 2 play. It's going to be very tense and depending on how things go I expect one of the sides to boil over.
 

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Ineviltably a boiling old firm match like the one in 04/05 which saw us get 2 red cards at Ibrox is due to come along, generally when they do we lose so I am hoping its not tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Walk in the park yet again. We were very poor in the first half yet still won it so that tells you all you need to know about the green and grey. For King Carlos it was just look home as he sat back for a siesta. Great goal by Thomson and all round the team was pretty average but still had enough about them to win the game at a canter.

Easy!! ;)
 

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Very poor game, but still too easy:D....if only Adam scored that counter in the end as well, to top off the great goal by Thompson.

Brown pissing all their chances down the drain was great to see as well :pp
 

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Celtic were the better side in the first half but really didn't do much. We got the goal and it was all over as in the second half they had ran out of ideas and top goal scorer and legend Scott McDonald did SFA.

Another Old Firm win for Walter and the boys and another clean sheet for McGregor - That's all I wanted and got it! :thmbup::drool:
 

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Congrats on the win,its always great to see Rangers beating Celtic.
 
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