What can Rangers do at Celtic Park?

Article by: Richard Fillingham
I must admit, even with all my years’ experience of Rangers going to play in that hate-filled putrid atmosphere at Celtic Park, I am still not sure which way I want the Teddy Bears to play. Should they play a more defensive line-up at the start of the game? Playing a harder to beat XI could be changed to a more attacking style if we are behind in the match with 20 or 30 minutes to go chasing the game for a draw or for all 3 points.

Let me explain what Walter Smith used to do at Celtic Park and he had more success than any
other modern manager. He played very tightly by trying to have as many people in his side who could win the ball and then pass it. You have 52,000 Celtic fans spilling hatred all over the park and putting massive pressure on whatever referee gets the job. They are only human and try to remain impartial but unfortunately, they usually give Celtic an unfair advantage with awarding  free kicks in dangerous areas, which undoubtedly adds to the Rangers’ pressure.

If playing a flexible 4 – 4 – 2 formation, this is the team I would pick and explain why.

Hodson, Kiernan
(if not suspended) or Senderos, Hill, Wilson
Tavernier, Hyndman, Miller, Wallace
Dodoo, McKay

By picking Hodson, the northern Irish right back, it gives you a bit of stability at the back as he will stay there at all times to make sure that the back four are safer in numbers. Tavernier will be ahead of him, so they can both deal with Sinclair who is fast and a real handful at outside left.

If we play Tavernier at right back, Celtic will simply give Sinclair the ball when Tavernier is out of position – a bit like suicide! By playing Wallace at wing back and Wilson behind him on the left hand of defence it gives Wallace the chance to bomb forward when the occasion is right and Wilson offers him protection in case he loses the ball. 

Personally, I have gone for three centre backs to play: – Kiernan, Hill and Wilson, because I believe that two are not good enough to cope with this current Celtic attack. I strongly suggest that they train and play all this week at the Rangers training ground to practice playing with this line-up.

Because we don’t have a strong candidate for holding midfield with Rossiter still out injured, I have plumped for Hyndman and Miller to tie up with Tavernier and Wallace as a midfield four. When Brendan Rodgers’ men have the ball, the two wing backs should come inside the midfield to tuck in and give us a protective seal and help to deny them space to run through us easily.

This line up requires our four midfield players to drive forward at every opportunity to help create real danger in the heart of the Celtic defence which is also their main weakness spots.

It might seem a bit negative having Dodoo and McKay as a front two, but we have players running off the ball quickly to add to their attacking prowess and it gives the Celtic defenders nobody to man mark which will confuse them.

Getting anything next week at Parkhead will be a colossal achievement, but a leaf from Uncle Walter’s book could help Graeme Murty (or whoever is coach) manage it.

NB: apologies re: Garner, slip of the mind forgetting he was suspended. Dodoo installed as an alternative; one of the few we have.


    • Good job he is, he would either get sent off or break up our attacks with pointless fouls.

      Whoever new manager is, they need to find a gullible buyer down south.

    • I think Murty and Garner are vastly underrated. Murty because of his first two results and Garner because of the stupid way Warburton played him, sometimes as cover for Lee Wallace. He says himself he has missed chances but if told to stick in the NO 9 position alongside Dodoo then Murty could see us on a good run to season end because he is getting a positive response from all the players. Unfortunately it looks like we'll never find out.

  1. Garner is suspended! I also wouldn't have Senderos anywhere near the team. It is an inditement of the Warburton era that we have so few options in the squad when it is necessary to keep it tight – while we have a glut of second rate light weight tippy tappy clones. Also with the best will in the world Murty will be out of his depth tactically against Rodgers. Sheer negligence by the Board that we are in this position going to Celtic Park without a manager. Unfortunately I think the best we can hope for is to keep the score down and avoid total humiliation! Sincerely hope I'm wrong!

    • I'd suggest that throwing murty at wolves may be a better plan than letting the new manager's bounce be burst by a crushing humiliating defeat in first game.

      For example- look how Warburton foolishly through an unfit 'experienced' senderos into first game. Was a very foreseeable mistake.

    • Maybe, but I think if St. Mirren (bottom of Div 2) had scored instead of hitting the bar they'd have gone on to win. Celtic hardly had a shot on target in the first half. THey looked clueless against a ten-man defence. Then again if they click it could be 6 or more….

  2. I agree with the article to an extent and I liked how you explained your reasons for going defensively. What about using Michael O,Halloran at centre forward to use his speed, instead of Garner. I will go along with your team with Michael and Barry as the front two. I am sure all four of the midfield will get forward at every opportunity and Hyndman has a good shot on him.

    • We should try and copy what st.mirren managed effectively for 45 mins.

      I fear if we defend like we have all season that a major pasting is on cards.

      End of day this league game is meaningless in the big picture.

    • st mirran only were effective for 45 mins cos Celtic played very poorly,with GMS having a nightmare…dont think rodgers will make same mistake next week

    • Celtic were poor, but the way st mirren set up did cause Celtic problems.

      In particular pressing everyone except the two central defenders and the way their defence held its line.

  3. I find it ironic that you talk about the hate filled atmosphere at Celtic Park. It is the Rangers support who have a song repertoire almost entirely made up of bigoted songs. In a modern society, there is no place for it.

    • It's very immature for fans of EITHER side to try and claim its all the opponents.

      Grow up.

      There is pathetic losers on both sides that refer to religious matters or historical events that they are too stupid to understand.

  4. Why tell me is Bates the defender not getting a chance –i am sure he would be a better bet than Kiernan–Hodson–Bates–Hill–Wilson would i think be a better back four

    • Let the young lad develop, he isn't exactly doing that well with u20 side.

      The Bates comments echo that of crooks, who was messi plus pelle at one point.

    • I would go with bates and hill in cb with Wilson in front of them both going with a 4,1,3,2 formation. I would have wes then tav, bates, hill, Wallace then Wilson just behind hyndman, moh, mckay and Kenny and waggy up top

  5. Are you serious…did you not watch the referee performance yesterday….I was embarrassed it was so one sided

    • Surely sfa must have words with beaton. I agree he was a joke.

      Garner was a clear red as was Wes handball. I don't understand criticism of penalty though.

    • I agree with you, Beaton is a dire referee and he doesn't usually get much right. He doesn't always know what a good tackle is from a bad one and he obviously can't tell a red from a yellow.

  6. Let's be honest- the result at Celtic park is UTTERLY MEANINGLESS.

    The mess the board are making of recruitment is VERY MEANINGFUL.

    First or all where is the communication with the fans? Where is the truth in terms of Warburton departure? Where is the respect to the fans?

    When Warburton was sacked or resigned (let's just pretend that doesn't matter) there was an immediate statement from board that management structure was to be reviewed and they would ensure that this was done correctly.

    Several weeks down the line this is clearly not happening. The board promised a director of football by Friday, a deadline that has came and gone without any further comment.

    The board have allowed it to be public knowledge, through press briefings, that Wilson at Southampton was our clear first choice. They even allowed it to be known that he had been offered role and was mulling his choice. This is in my opinion extremely foolish. They met the man and clearly didn't ask the vital question- IF OFFERED WILL YOU TAKE THE ROLE. A question I have asked every time I have recruited during my healthcare roles.

    The result is a public rejection and the other candidates being aware they were very much second choice. Who is to say that they will accept, given that our board has demonstrated poor judgment. Mitchell at spurs will have other options, if I were him I would be reluctant to take a role where backing is needed, being aware that board wanted someone else.

    The board promised a director of football before the manager, one can assume due to wanting the new director to have input. A logical reason, as the two men will have to work together, it's is vital that they share a philosophy and are pulling in right direction. It is becoming increasingly clear that this is not going to happen following Wilson's rejection, as Mitchell (if he accepts) won't take up the position until next season.

    This suggests that the manager's role will be filled first and without any consultation with whoever the director of football may be. This brings up major issues over recruitment, in a summer where recruitment is absolutely vital.

    If the manager is put in position this week (a major if) then we are essentially throwing him at wolves in his first game. A humbling by your rivals is hardly a good start for any manager. Especially if he will then have to work with a director whom he has no relationship with and may not share his vision.

    I could type all day about how this will effect our short term goal of improvement to first team, and our long-term goals of development. The reality is it can be summarised as "board makes a complete mess of its final chance".

    Over the weekend there are stories that Ashley is planning to buy out king and sort this mess out. Personally I despise Ashley and all he stands for. However he has the money and personal determination to do what is required. It is abundantly clear our board lacks ideas, effectiveness and money. I don't think we should rule out Ashley here- that's how absolutely God awful a mess we are in, the devil looks like a saviour.

    • Have you forgotten the mess we were in when Ashley had his foot on our throats. Now you will consider giving him an opportunity to have both feet on our jugular.You are out of your mind. I think this is a wind up however I would like to see a Souness consortium which was very close to owning Rangers on a previous occasion being in eventual control of our club.

    • Many have been brainwashed into believing all that isn't King is bad for us…well if you actually have a look at what he has done since coming in, we are even further down the toilet than ever we were.

      We have run out of options and if anyone actually believes King & co can pull us through, you are as deluded as they are, they simply have not got the cash or credit lines to do jack shit so stick or twist…you decide.

      What I will say is, our near neighbours will be crapping in their pants if we finally let someone with REAL cash in the door…not the fluffy wooly crap we have been sold by King…but hard cash to turn this sinking ship round, again you decide…the possibility of us going into administration is VERY real if we continue down this road to ruin…if that happens it may be terminal and Thirds wont be the only Glasgow team to disappear…is that what you want? Follow big Dave over the cliff like lemmings?
      King has been driving us down and down and down and if someone is willing to get him the fuk out for £30m….bring it on, what do we have to lose? we are 30 points adrift and don't have two beans to rub together…the times of us deciding who our saviour should be are long gone and you better believe it….you don't have to love the guy or lick his arse, but believe me its better having people like that on your side other than against you….we are in no position to be choosey, when your drowning you never pass up the offer of a lifebelt….


    • A Souness consortium would be brilliant. I would love to see him in charge of us, he would shake Scottish football up! We cannot allow Ashley to get control of Rangers, he's raping the club.

    • The support allowed the club to go into administration and shamefully into liquidation, it allowed a succession of chancers to take control following that..the record ain't good and all any new prospective person has to mention to curry favour is 'Celtic, 10 in a row, Celtic , Champions League, out of sight, etc…'
      Ashley will be lauded as a hero and a visionary in the media, and on here and other sites if he gains control

  7. For me yur line up is Jst about wat I wud play apart from I wud put waggy up way McKay dodoo is too light weight

  8. Fellow bears I am now of the opinion rightly or wrongly that if we do not have heavy investment now, Celtic will be out of sight for good and will probably disappear into some Atlantic league or the like. If we wait for so called Rangers men to invest which let's face it they would already have done, and I mean real money who could sort out the costs associated with getting us a clean slate it would have happened by now. That leaves us with Ashley, who like or not instantly makes all these deals with Sport Direct irrelevant and has the money needed to challenge.
    If the rumours are true that he wants to take over I for one would embrace it as I think will full control he would invest.
    Ps be gentle only my opinions 😉

    • Agree re Celtic galloping into the distance, only a takeover of sorts will see any challenge to them. Rangers fans will quickly forget all the anti ashly stuff if he lifts his skirt to tempt the support. The soul of the club is long gone imo so what matter if Ashley comes in? PS can he have a stake in two clubs?

    • How many clean slates do u want do u honestly think Ashley would take this basket case of a company who no one knows who owns what and why would he buy king out when he's taking him to court next week and will win his case no contest then buy whole operation and rent back sports direct arena to a management company that he controls therefore can have dual interest in Newcastle just a thought.

    • How many clean slates do u want do u honestly think Ashley would take this basket case of a company who no one knows who owns what and why would he buy king out when he's taking him to court next week and will win his case no contest then buy whole operation and rent back sports direct arena to a management company that he controls therefore can have dual interest in Newcastle just a thought.

    • Zzikster…well said buddy, the time for biting any hand that's willing to feed us is long gone.


  9. How about showing a bit of fight and get stuck right into these vermin on Sunday. I remember many years ago we had a so called inferior team to that mob…but we still came away with the odd result from that God awful place.

  10. Depends how Celtic play really. Rangers are incapable of beating this Celtic team if Celtic play anywhere close to potential. Strangely enough I thought Rangers were poor yesterday for long spells and got a bit of luck at vital times. Sure St Mirren could have went two up today but in all honesty Celtic missed a lot of decent chances in the first half. Anything less than a 3 goal defeat would be a decent result for this Rangers team next weekend.

  11. The motivation should come from being probably the first and only team to turn them over and having it spread all over the country. Although that suggests how far we have fallen as a club.Mind u celtic would do exactly the same if the tables were turned.I woudld have a ferguson or a john brown in that dressing room before kick off. we r showing them 2 much respect to the point where they have the game won before a ball is kicked. Attack!Attack!Attack! fuck trying to keep it tight, let's see what their made of when we go after them. we fear no FOE we'll keep the blue flag flying high. watfp.

    • Crazy. All-out attack on Celtic (despite Boyata's vulnerability) will give Celtic room to play and there'd be carnage. I've made this point before that when teams come to Parkhead and pull ten men behind the ball Celtic – and most teams – find them hard to break down.

  12. Fuck ashley & SHITE DIRECT mabye a taxi should drop him outside the minecraft arena @ the east end.He would b welcome there as he's fucked us for millions.We the fans should b in charge as i trust no one other than the guys who fork out money every week of every year to suport the most sucessful football club in the world with the best support in the world. We deserve better.

  13. I would put jay in goals, halliday in at the right of a back 3 with wilson on the left of the 3 with hill in the middle of them.Then i would have 5 in midfield, wallace,toral,hyndman,holt,hodgson this would i beleve stop them countering us with pace as wallace and hodgson would be defending further up the park. we need to out muscle them with a packed midfield who can also force them back and provide ammunitition for a front 2 of miller and mcKay who could pull their central back pairing all over the place with their constant movement. Alsoin that set up of 5 u have holt,toral, hyndman who can shoot, make those runs into the box as well asfeeding the front 2. wallace and hodgson would be more able to get crosses into the box. some might qestion halliday in a back three but i seem to remember him having an outstanding game on a occasion before when he was asked to cover. 3~5~2 for me.

  14. The negative comments i read make me despair! I am old school gers fan, we would'nt have heard any of this defeatest attitude. We are RANGERS ffs. We just need to take the roof of that place next week ,singing start to finish and the boys will respond. WE DID'NT FEAR THEM THEN AND WE SHOULD NEVER FEAR THEM. NEVER. NEVER. NNEVER.

    • All very emotional scooby, and understandably so, but there is fear in the rangers support, the boardrom and the dressing room about Sunday. Now it is a funny game and on any given dsay anything could happen, but most Rangers fans fear a heavy doing, talki of five or six goal drubbiongs is far fetched in my opinion however , football doesnt work like that, but Id be flabbergasted if Celtic do not win the game

  15. Whatever team we choose or whatever manager we have, looking more and more like Murty, we could win the game by palying well or by being lucky, that's football, particularly an old firm game. At the minute, we don't stand a chance, why, poor leadership off the park, we are deluded if we think we are going in the right direction and are about to be duped by Mr King once again for season ticket money think about it, we win one of the 2 old firm games,or both, our team all of a sudden become great, we buy more season tickets and once again the promised millions evaporate, £30M became £18M became £12M, if you believe any of it, ask yourself this, what proof is there, at a stretch, some loans from other directors but ziltch from King. J

  16. Please no 4-3-3 or we will be hammered…
    Hodson to start and push Tav to midfield.
    Love to see dodoo start as he is a cool finisher with finesse. Is he fit though?
    Love to win but a draw would be a excellent result.

  17. Not going be easy they could turn us over in a heart beat we could be down two or three and game over,first we won a cup tie and our last two games have been at home it is when we play away we have a problem with,i ask them the players not to say what they are going do just bring it to the pitch and play there best.

  18. Scooby, you think Ashley is the problem, we win againt the East twice and we still have the same problems and it is not Ashley, surely King can sort him out, wait a minute he would need to buy him out, that willl cost him money he will not use on us, or he could just spend on the team, same problem he promises and never will deliver. J

  19. j, Don't favour any of them! buisness men r not running clubs for enjoyment,my point about the fat rat was he has no interest in our club other than self interest. I also stated previously i had my suspicions that DK may have seen an opportunity to recoup his 20m before passing it over to a rangers led consortium later once ashley is removed.

  20. You mentioned that refs are impartial, .. If that is the case why do they not release the details of which team they support & which societies they belong to then more fans would have faith in them being impartial… At moment some decisions are just baffling to most fans, also add in the probability of ibrox getting so many home draws in the cup since 2012.. SFA have handed you around 5m ( an avg of 30,000 home fans each time) more in home gates than Celtic since 2012, Yet some gets fans think SFA have it in for them … LOL