Today sees the return of two fierce rivals at Hampden Park, Glasgow. I am of course talking about Celtic fans and Rangers fans.
Both sets of supporters will take up their old places in the stadium. The teams being supported meet for the very first time though.
Articles and blogs have been populated with this fixture ever since the draw was made for the Scottish League Cup sem finals. The media continue to perpetuate the lie that the club Celtic face on this afternoon is the same one they faced for over one hundred years.
As I said in my last post, you are never going to change the opinions of others. People believe what they want to believe but credit to those who aim to set the record straight.
Just as my fellow bloggers have done, we can lay down the facts around the the truth about Rangers. As one half of the divide though, we will struggle to convince anyone who is neutral because we are in direct opposition to the other half.
That is all that people see and that is your problem right there. Despite the media initially reporting the death of Rangers in 2012, they are now fully paid up members of the Rangers are alive and kicking club.
Sound familiar? Well Sir David ‘Moonbeams’ Murray had the media in his back pocket for the entirety of his reign at Rangers 1872. Rangers 2012 have now managed to convince the Scottish media, the SFA and the SPFL that it is the same club.
In reality, the only ones who believe this is the same club are the deluded fans who need someone to follow, follow. The media toe the line along with the muppets at Hampden.
Celtic also play their cards close to their chest. By doing so, they keep the peace.
The sad reality here is that Scottish football has once more gone backwards. Every time an opportunity arises to change the shape of our ailing sport, the powers within the game make a patchwork effort in healing Scottish football.
Everything was done to get Rangers 2012 into the top flight of Scottish football as soon as humanly possible. Only the integrity of the majority of Scottish clubs prevented that from happening.
It didn’t prevent the SPFL/SFA from reforming the structure and adding play-offs though. With the Ibrox club having no chance of winning the Scottish Championship this season, they have a life line in the play-offs with thanks to SPFL/SFA.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the play-offs are a good thing, as it has been in England. The timing of these changes is very convenient for Rangers 2012 though.
So it is up to Celtic to lay to rest this Ibrox team’s efforts in the league cup. Celtic are expected to win but that isn’t how football works.
The Hampden surface is in a terrible state and that will help level the playing field today. Add to that that we’re the biggest team Rangers 2012 have ever faced in their competitive history and there is plenty of motivation for them.
As former Celtic coach Kenny McDowall said:
“We are under major pressure to perform and it’s up to us to prove, if you can work, like Bradford and Middlesbrough did at the weekend, you can upset the favourites.”
Well, it is a cup game and it is not impossible. The only upset I want to see though is that continued upset look on McDowall’s face.
Ronny Deila is new to this level of tension in a fixture. It can get to you but he has plenty of experience around him from head to heads with the old club in guys like John Collins and John Kennedy.
On the field if play he hss more than enough experience and influence to see off the opposition. Gordon, Zaluska, Matthews, Izaguirre, Mulgrew, Brown, Commons, Forrest, Griffiths and Stokes have all played against the old club though not all will play today.
Mulgrew is injured so the rest comes down to starting lineup and substitutions. There are a whole host of options open to Deila for this one though.
My favoured lineup would be:
Gordon, Matthews, Izaguirre, Denayer, van Dijk, Brown, Johansen, Commons, Bitton, Stokes and Griffiths.
Lustig, Forrest and Guidetti as potential substitutes.
The pitch may be a mess, but there can be no mistakes from Celtic today. A date with Dundee United awaits.