This afternoon Celtic will play their final match of 2016. The Bhoys will head over to Ibrox for the first time in over four years.
Back then it was their old rivals Rangers. This time it is their new rivals, The Rangers.
Putting the old and the new argument to one side, today’s match will be marked with a minute’s silence in memory of the Ibrox disaster and it’s victims. 66 people died and over 200 were injured from the events that occurred in s Rangers v Celtic match on 2 January 1971 at Ibrox.
For one minute, I would urge all Celtic supporters to be respectful and observe the 60 seconds of silence. After this there will be more than enough time to make plenty of noise.
The sad irony about this minutes silence is that it was a series of historic safety issues over a 70 year period at Ibrox that led to stadium improvements in the first place. Unfortunately, the stadium has been in the headlines recently for health and safety concerns which will leave many feeling uneasy.
What is important about today’s match is that it is completed with as little disruption as possible. I hope that all fans will observe the one minutes silence and go into the new year without causing havoc inside or outside the ground based upon the result.
Celtic go into this match as league leaders and with a very healthy 16 point gap over today’s opponents who lie in second place. However, with Aberdeen breathing down their necks a mere 2 points behind the heat is on for The Rangers.
This is a must win game for Mark Warburton’s side. He is under pressure not to win the league, but to close the gap on Celtic and keep ahead of the rest in second place.
That position is under serious theat now and even more so if Celtic win at Ibrox this afternoon. In fact, I don’t think many are in any doubt that Celtic will win this afternoon.
It may be Brendan Rodgers first visit to Ibrox as a manager but he is no stranger to big arenas or intense atmospheres. He has already hosted Mark Warburton’s team at Celtic Park and wiped the floor with them.
Amongst that he has played many European heavyweight sides home and away as well as a whole host of others south of the border in the English Premier League. He and his players will not be phased by this fixture.
Today, all Brendan needs to do is pick his best side for the job. Mark Warburton and his players will do everything they can to disrupt that.
They are fighting for survival. Beating Celtic would be a huge boost for them.
Their club is in a mess financially, their stadium is falling apart but their existence continues to be unquestioned by the media. We all know what condition they are in right now despite not reading it anywhere in the SMSM.
So let’s help further their misery and give them a good thumping today. Celtic are on the crest of a wave, need not be overzealous in their approach.
The unbeaten run must continue at Ibrox today and into 2017. This will be a season to remember.