So the semi final is almost upon us. Rangers haven’t beaten Celtic in 90 minutes since 2012, but we have managed a penalty shoot out win of course in 2016 in the same tournament at the same stage.
But leading up to this latest Old Firm (which, for sure, doesn’t have the same level of gravity and pressure as the last one) are a number of subplots. Will Josh Windass and Ross McCrorie be fit, will Bruno Alves start, and what formation will be used?
But the most significant one of all seems to be the Graeme Murty saga, whereby a number of fans feel if he gets the win on Sunday and goes on a run towards a decent finish in the league (and wins the cup), he might just be in with a chance of getting the job.
And if not, leaving the squad in decent fettle for whoever comes in.
It’s a strange one – for the first time in a while, some supporters seem less concerned about actually getting to the final (or winning it) for the direct glory, and more about the significance of such achievement with respect to its ramifications for management.
The concern we have at Ibrox Noise is a repeat of 2016 – Deila’s disastrous Celtic lost to Rangers, we all loved it, then Celtic got their fingers out of their backsides, appointed a Hollywood name as manager and signed a glut of quality new players.
That win for Rangers was more damaging to us than it was to Celtic – it stopped our Eastern chums resting on their laurels and got on with improving and led to the most hideous cup final Rangers have been in for over a decade.
Meanwhile we responded by signing Niko Kranjcar, Joey Barton and Philippe Senderos. In fact the only signing that summer that still registers as a decent player was Josh Windass, and he was a winter pre-contract.
This is not to say we don’t want to win because Celtic will respond – we absolutely do want to win. But there are such subplots within the bigger picture of this match that most fans are focused on them rather than the actual 90 minutes itself and the possible glory of winning the cup.
It’s a stranger Old Firm week than usual, we have to say.