Since the rebirth, or revival depending on your outlook, of the club known to some as Rangers, I have never been completely confident in vanquishing the club clad in blue. Ronny Deila had imbibed Celtic with a bizarre frailty, an aura that there was always disaster lurking around the corner, like a monster in a low-budget B movie.
Fortunately, that is a sensation that is confined to the rear-view-mirror. Under Brendan Rodgers there is an explicit trust that has been absent for quite some time. I trust the players to play well, to not only get the job done but to thrive, to put on a spectacle, a real demonstration of dominance.
And, in the event of one or more players having an off game, I trust that Brendan Rodgers will analyse the problem and make the changes required. It is a lovely feeling and not one, I suspect, is being enjoyed by the fans of Saturday’s opposition. The promoted club’s support was deafening with their assertions that they would win the title, that Warburton was in possession of a “magic hat” and that every player they had signed was ‘genuinely class’ despite carrying a combined age that would make the Springfield Retirement Castle blush.
It is natural to have some lurking doubts festering in the deepest recesses of the mind, but setting aside emotion can you honestly expect the opposition defence, as porous as it has appeared, to contain a trio of Sinclair, Griffiths and either Forrest or Roberts? Not likely, especially when you consider that an in form Rogic will be providing the ammunition for the forwards.
While the Celtic defence has looked far from imperious, I just cannot see a ninety minutes on the horizon where the Hoops are out-scored, out-gunned and out-manned…… domestically at least.
Win this game and Celtic go four points clear with a game in hand, an ominous view for any fan festooned in Union Jack regalia who was brave (or foolish) enough to predict a title win. Enough, even, to give a strain in the neck from such a sustained upward glance.
My starting line-up 4-2-3-1: De Vries, Lustig, Sviatchenko, Toure, Tierney, Brown, Bitton, Rogic, Sinclair, Griffiths, Roberts.
HOT OFF THE PRESS! OUR BRAND NEW SHIRTS.