Wow, did anyone see that performance coming? I certainly didn’t and I don’t think supporters of either club did.
I didn’t see Rangers being more powerful and having more energy. Because, if you look at their recent performances against Dundee, Hibs or Hamilton, they weren’t inspiring.
I’ve seen them play decent in Europe, but their league form didn’t suggest that kind of performance.
It was the kind of performance that even the Rangers coaching staff, as much as they believe in their team, couldn’t have dreamed of when they went to bed the night before.
They couldn’t have expected that number of attempts on goal, that much possession, and that much confidence in an Old Firm game.
It was strange to watch. I’ve never seen Celtic in an Old Firm derby being out-muscled and pressurised the way they were.
Rangers exposed Celtic weaknesses
It was an eye-opening experience and it bothered me a wee bit how much Celtic were over-powered. Since Moussa Dembele went – and they were without Tom Rogic, Kieran Tierney, and Odsonne Edouard for the game too – they’ve lost a lot of power in the team.
When you look at their front six, in modern day football, it’s technically gifted but a bit lightweight, especially if Scott Brown is out.
Playing Callum McGregor at left back meant they missed him in midfield and in wide positions – that’s one of Scotland’s best players over the last two years.
Rangers really attacked those weaknesses in the Celtic team. I think that has to be addressed by the manager looking elsewhere.
There have been players in the team regularly for a year-and-a-half now who need a wee break and someone to come in and inspire them.
Players like James Forrest, Tierney, and McGregor. They’ve played well, but need someone else to come in and take over for a bit.
Celtic have gone backwards compared to their standards of the last two years, and it puts the impetus on their business this window.
A month ago, it wouldn’t have been so important to get bodies in, because they looked comfortable and were playing well. Now, if they don’t sign a striker with a physical presence, they give even more momentum to Rangers.
Performance proves Gerrard project is working
For the Rangers board, that result will say to them ‘this is working’ – and they’ll be thinking ‘we better back these guys’.
Maybe if they’d seen a performance similar to the Dundee game, they’d not fancy putting that much more money into it – but the performance against Celtic will awaken the Rangers money people.
They’ll be thinking ‘listen, we’re not far away here, let’s put a bit more in and go for it’. If they go out and sign Steven Davis or Charlie Adam – or both of them – the momentum will continue Rangers.
Getting them both would be a coup. If you’d asked Steven or Charlie a month ago if they fancied the move, and showed them the Dundee or Hamilton performance, they’d probably say ‘aye, maybe’.
But what’s been created from the Celtic result, and the performance in particular, is players are now thinking that they can go there and win the league. That’s thrown everything up in the air and given an impetus to anything Rangers want to do just now.
I see they’ve been linked with Jermain Defoe, too, and he’s a top player, even at his age. But does he want to come all the way up to Scotland to play second-fiddle to Alfredo Morelos? If so, great, he’s perfect for that – coming on and getting you a goal when you need one.
I’m not so sure if Steven has to change his style of play and go with two strikers, though. Morelos will stay for the rest of the season, definitely. There’s enough going on there for him, you saw him celebrating at the end of the match, they’ve got the sniff of something happening.
Because it is now absolutely a genuine title race.
Before the game, just keeping the league going until the last few matches would’ve been success and progress.But, after beating Celtic, they’ll be thinking of more. People will be thinking they can win the league. And they can, by the way.
So it’s a different sort of pressure on Rangers, but that’s what you get at a top club.