Well, this is it. Derby week has arrived once again in Scotland. Arguably the largest fixture of the year as the league leaders travel to face their blue-wearing rivals. Although there’s a fair chunk of points between the sides, a win for the underdogs could potentially blow the title race wide open again as we head into April and the last few games of the season…
Wait, what? You’re all prepared to read my thoughts on Celtic v Rangers and not Forfar v Arbroath? I mean I don’t understand why anyone would overlook the Angus Derby but fine, whatever.
Whilst half of Scotland will argue until they’re blue in the face – a poor colour choice from their bodies there – that there is no Old Firm, well there is, and it’s this Sunday. As a fan of the lower leagues, I’ve tended to not really care much about this fixture in the past but in Scotland, you’re always surrounded by those who are, so there is no escape.
The fixture and both clubs arguably have a bad reputation but over the last few years, I’ve only witnessed friends from both sides gather to start putting away whiskies at 8am and some ugly scenes as one flatmate threw a PlayStation controller into a full mop bucket in a huff. Granted I’ve never been to a game between the two but any previous trips to either club have always been enjoyable. Rangers fans were brilliant when playing Berwick in the league, although it was a somewhat less competitive fixture.
To be fair this one is set to be a cracker. In the last meeting, Rangers finally managed to pull the finger out and pick up three points in their 58th attempt against Celtic since relegation in 2012. Brendan Rodgers’ timely departure will only serve to give Rangers further hope of going for two in a row.
Undoubtedly the best part of the upcoming fixture is the reappearance of Neil Lennon in the Celtic dugout. Unlike Rodgers, whose parody Twitter account was the only funny thing about him, Lennon is hilarious and a man never far from drama.
Known for bickering with opposition managers – mainly Hearts’ Craig Levein – his temper and his exuberant celebrations, Lennon’s presence is not usually concomitant with a quiet night in. In fact, you could probably write a book about the hilarity Lennon has caused during his time in Scottish football. It wouldn’t sell as well as his autobiography mind you, but I’d still buy it.
Celtic know a win all but secures them their 8th consecutive trophy whilst Rangers know a win is their only hope of clinging on to the dream of 55, for this season at least.
Alfredo Morelos has been banging them in for fun this season, although always appears to forget what a goal is when playing Celtic. For the sake of continued entertainment, I’ll go for a Rangers win. Following his impressive performance last weekend, I can see Gerrard subbing himself on in the 94th minute and banging in a last minute winner from 30 yards. This’ll be swiftly followed by scenes – not seen since Rangers famously pumped Partick Thistle 2-1 – amongst the 43 away fans allowed into the fixture these days.
My Old Firm punt: Morelos anytime and Rangers to win @ 11/2