On Sunday, Neil Lennon will be back in the dugout for his first Celtic v Rangers match in almost seven years. Of course, back then it was the old Ibrox club and were in administration.
Rangers had won 3-2 at Ibrox on 25th March 2012 under Ally McCoist. Just over a month later on 29th April, Celtic ran out 3-0 victors in Glasgow’s east end, driving another nail into the coffin of Rangers 1872.
The Celtic team on that day was:
Fraser Forster, Adam Matthews, Glenn Loovens, Charlie Mulgrew, Emilio Izaguirre, Scott Brown, Victor Wanyama, Joe Ledley, Kris Commons, Georgios Samaras and Gary Hooper.
Tony Watt, Anthony Stokes and Paddy McCourt all came off the bench for Hooper, Samaras and Commons respectively.
The goals came courtesy of a diving header from Mulgrew (17), a chip over Allan McGregor by Commons (31) and a net burster from the edge of the box by Hooper (54). With the exception of Broony, the rest of the team moved on in the years that followed, Izzy returning for his second spell last summer.
Neil isn’t going up against the same Rangers, but it is a Rangers team he knows. As Hibs manager, he’s played them half a dozen times in the past two seasons.
His record is P6 W3 D2 L1 against Pedro Caixinha, Graham Murty and Steven Gerrard. This season he drew both matches against Rangers under Gerrard.
What can we expect from this match then? Well it’s been more or less business as usual for Celtic and they’ve already increased their lead over Rangers since Neil arrived.
Neil will want to win this one. Gerrard will too.
They’ve faced each other in the midfield during their playing careers. So it will be a highly contested match by both managers.
Home advantage will have some impact, but Neil will also need his players to be at their best. Technically, it’s a last throw of the dice for Gerrard.
Celtic lost their last game to Rangers back in December just before the winter shutdown. I’m still trying to figure out Brendan Rodgers’ team selection and tactics for that one.
In hindsight, perhaps there was something in that after all. However, I digress.
The players will be looking to put that result right fir themselves, Neil and the supporters. To date, it’s the only defeat to Rangers 2012 Celtic have suffered in 90 minutes or indeed, the league.
Neil will have more players to choose from for this one. Will he take any gambles now though or keep things the same.
One thing is for certain, he’ll keep everyone guessing. He’s a different type of manager to Brendan and he’ll have his own approach with this set of players.
It could be the mother of all Sunday’s. As well as Mothering Sunday of course.
May the best team win. That’s Celtic, by the way.