Can Rangers beat Celtic?

Can Rangers beat Celtic?

Ever since the abysmal display at Hampden a year ago against Ronny Deila’s Celtic by then-Rangers manager Kenny McDowall’s Ibrox outfit, the pressure regarding the Old Firm match has been doused a tad.

The fact one had not been played since April 2012 increased the intensity, but February’s tame encounter in Mount Florida which saw Rangers easily beaten went some way to easing the mounting pressure over the fact the fixture had not been played for years.

Rangers and Celtic are both in today’s draw for the fifth round of the Scottish Cup, and while chances are slim that they could meet, given there are 16 teams left, nevertheless there is always a chance.

And the apposite question is do Rangers stand a realistic chance?

If this question had been posed a month ago, many fans, yours truly included, would have probably said no.

Despite the strides made by Mark Warburton, late September/October to December saw a rather noticeable dip in form, with struggles at Dumbarton, losses to Hibs, St Johnstone and Falkirk, and even a draw against Livi.

However, ever since that colossal trumping of Alan Stubbs’ Hibs last month, Rangers look a side reinvigorated. The passing intensity has increased, the pressing has exponentially improved, and there have been goals galore.

In three matches, Rangers have scored 15 goals and just three conceded and are absolutely back to the early season form which saw them look so rampant.

Rangers had their dip, and now the incredible stat of the week is that no one has scored more in Scottish football, or conceded less.

Are Rangers ready for Celtic? Infinitely more than they were the last time the two sides met, that is most definitely for sure.

While there remain tentative questions about central defence, full back, midfield and attack have been electric and would cause problems for any defence in Scotland. Young Barrie McKay has absolutely flourished recently too, coming from nowhere to produce some stellar displays including a stunning goal in yesterday’s demolition of Cowdenbeath.

However, one does have to urge a note of caution. The last time Rangers played an SPL side they were comprehensively undone by superior quality and more clinical finishing. One must warn against arrogance; yes, Rangers are looking in far better fettle than they were only a few weeks ago, but they are miles from the complete product and could still struggle to compete even in a one-off match with Celtic.

This is not to say they cannot beat Deila’s men, but the naïveté shown going into some of these bigger matches expecting Warburton’s magic to roll over the best teams in Scotland is foolish – in a one-off match, yes, of course Rangers can beat Celtic, but the last time we felt such confidence St Johnstone gave us a bit of a football lesson.

If Rangers draw Celtic, or indeed any SPL side, Warburton will know better than anyone that his players will have to be at 110% to get a result – by some distance the best team outwith the SPL, nevertheless Rangers will have to go up a level to overcome any side in that tier.

As for Celtic, as poor as they undeniably have become, they are still a better team than Rangers; many point to the Hearts example of how good Rangers could be in the SPL. Well not only are they nine points off the lead in third, but Celtic have a game in hand. There remains a significant gulf between Celtic and the rest of the SPL.

Whether Aberdeen can keep up their current challenge remains to be seen, but tellingly, regarding Hearts, they have not beaten Celtic in any competition since being relegated. In fact, they have not actually beaten Celtic since early 2012 and that includes clashes between them since the rejuvenated Gorgie men were promoted.

What is my point? Rangers fans should not assume they can beat Celtic. Warburton’s team is infinitely better than the McCoist era Rangers was, and is better equipped for such a tie, but the St Johnstone result teaches us that caution is crucial.

And no one will know that better than the Rangers manager.

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  1. I don't want to meet celtic until the final, then at least a loss still gives us Europe (I think?). But I wont forget the St Johnstone game in a hurry. 1 more year then I think/hope we will be a footballing force capable of a top 3 finish, until then we just have to keep improving the squad and getting new players to gel.

  2. the team had been overhauled and hardly had any time playing together and still dominated possession against st johnstone playing st johnstone again would certainly be a whole different game for rangers now and the new additions and extra gelling time rangers can certainly beat the worst celtic team in history. celtic are very poor and stranraer were cutting them open but lacked pace and quality to do the damage rangers are vefry dangerous in attacking but lack a experienced presence in defence which will certainly be dealt with in this window.

  3. Absolutely we could beat Celtic!! Rangers are where we are now through the fans trust and belief in our new management and squad structure. Celtic look lost, their fans don't believe in them.

    A case and point to the scouting network done by Warburton is Celtic's new £5.5mil defender who looks horrific! King does not have to shell out millions to obtain supposedly high calibre talent, so please stop requesting Rangers to WASTE our millions!

    At present I believe us to be a very decent English Championship side that on any given day could challenge a English Premiership club. On a consistent level we will need to buy wisely to compete in the Scottish Premiership and Euro competitions.

    Celtic are nothing compared to Rangers! When that match comes this season or next we will show them where they belong!

    • Hahahahaha – where to start – that would be the Croatian defender signed for an undisclosed fee who looks like an excellent prospect since getting over injury.

      After reading the rest of your post though ththat bit then did make sense.

  4. Any game can go anyway , but in my opinion rangers wouldn't stand a chance , not only against Celtic but any premiere outfit

  5. Lmfao Scotland's shame are totally deluded sevco are a million miles behind the sheep never mind the glorious Celtic

    • "Totally deluded"

      Says the Bheast posting on a Rangers blog using Mad Philth's pet name for us.

      You idiots don't do irony.

  6. There's little doubt that the team has come on leaps and bounds from the pitiful show against Celtic in the cup semi final.
    Plenty of chances are being made in every game but this is a by product of having so much possession of the ball which won't be the case against Celtic……in fact there's every chance that they will have the the ball for longer periods than Rangers.
    The biggest Celtic weakness is in defence where they have lost numerous goals at set pieces………as we hardly ever throw a high ball into the box,and almost always work a short corner,we won't be able to exploit this.
    We have to strengthen now for the SPFL, it's dissapointing that the 2 AS lads won't be coming in till the summer and the big lad at Brentford appears to be too expensive.
    Warburton and McParland are identifying the players but King and Murray are in charge of the purse strings……….a £100k offer for a £500k rated player isn't going to cut it, Scott Allan deja vue.

  7. We are not yet ready to compete with Celtic yet I feel we lack a physical presence.My concern is we are signing young boys with no sign of experienced players who can add a physical in particular in defence where we are powder puff through the central area. We also need another goal scoring option other than. Waghorn who if he gets injured we will be in trouble. All that being said Warburton has done a great job up to now.

  8. Now is probably the best time to get Celtic with Scott Brown and his massive influence missing. Anything can happen in a one off game so it is no impossible that Celtic could be beaten – look at last years semi-final to see the sort of thing that can influence the outcome of a game. True that not one of the current team could get into the Celtic side but at the same time the same could be said of Motherwell who recently won at Celtic Park. The hardest thing though when compared to a lot of other sides in Scotland is that Celtic would not take such a tie lightly hence making it a good bit tougher to cause a massive upset than it would for other Championship sides.

  9. rangers will beat celtic if they get them the st johnstone result was a fluke rangers will win the Scottish cup don't matter who we get celtic are mince this is a new hungry team and wont slip up again this season and all the people shouting we should be spending millions on players and not getting players from lower divisions in England look at the results in the fa cup not much difference

  10. Unfortunately I think the beggars will beat us convincingly. I've watched both teams over the months and Shelic do have a more physical presence. We all know fine we struggle at cross balls and Fodders is shocking within his own 6 yard box, his bottle goes. Also, I think the occassion would affect the young and inexperienced players,, its too big a game for the likes of McKay, Holt, Law, Waghorn, Ball, Kiernan, etc,, they will buckle under the pressure and hide on the park,,, I would love for every one of them to prove me wrong,, but we are just not to beat them, our central defence will crumble and our full backs will be posted missing on a shelic break,,, just my honest football opinion guys, if you watch both teams, you will see my point!!,,

    • Foderingham has made a ton of fantastic saves, some from point blank range. I don't know what game you have been watching.

  11. Could beat them at our best, but ultimatley we need to add a couple of players before challenging them at the top.

    We are very close, however. We have a tactically astute management team who know how to use the transfer market effectivley. We are going back to the SPL a much better team than the downtrodden one who played Sellick last season.

  12. I do think that the signifigance of the St. Johnstone game is overstated in the article, however. No, we were not good that night, but that was a particularily poor performance. We can beat Killie and I think we would beat St. J on another chance.

    • Get a grip ! How long has the current gers team been together, compared to the likes of SMELLTIC ! Their gone backwards, they have not improved
      in the last 3 years.

  13. I would sign denayer! Why not.
    If it's good enough 4 them to snatch
    all our targets then why would we not consider it only because he played 4 them
    on loan. And yes i've supported gets over 30