The match this weekend is not a European match, and I do not usually give a tactical analysis for the Scottish Premier league, but beating Celtic and winning the league will put us in a very strong position for going into the Champions League qualifiers next year.
So, what have Celtic been up to this year, and do we have anything to fear?
Well, I could describe the 3-5-2 formation they are using, and how it has strengths and weaknesses, but being blunt the only tactics Celtic have employed this year has been to run around a lot, at very high speed, and to just hope their quick movements will finally confuse the defenders.
It is like watching an under 21s game with little thought about tactics.
Against any team that can pass out from the back and move the ball quickly through midfield to attack, I have noticed that Celtic frequently finds the going tough, and their very weak back line can find itself under very serious strain, as they found out in the Champions League qualifiers.
However, if their opponents sit back, it can be very difficult to defend against their attacks, which do come non-stop for 90 minutes.
With the depth of their team, I honestly do not see how the absence of several key players will change their high-tempo style of play, which is similar to how they used to play in 1999,for those who can remember that far back, but it is possible we just might see Celtic convert to a 4-4-2 for the game this weekend, and I also believe they will be putting in a lot of practice to cut off passes through the middle of the park.
However, any change in tactics will put Celtic at a disadvantage, because they will then be playing a structure that they are not used to playing, with many players who have not played together, this year, in any prior competitive match.
There is also now obvious fear amongst this Celtic team. They know from experience that this Rangers team are no longer scared of Celtic. They also know we can seriously hurt them, and if they are not playing well we can play them off the park. For these reasons, I see Celtic throwing everything at us, to try to knock us out of our stride, and to try to overwhelm us in the first 30 minutes.
If we are aggressive, and can survive their hectic opening, and if we can score during this opening phase, then it is very possible that we could see a very high scoring match.
My prediction is a 3:1 win for Rangers, and for Rangers to go 4 points clear. Though it should be 6 points clear, because Celtic played an ineligible player, who had our friend cv, at the start of the season.
It’s time. Let’s finally knock these posers off their perch.