People will tell you the form book goes out the window and we shouldn’t predict anything on the back of the results.
Normally that’s true. Even as player with Rangers, I was never really sure how games against Celtic would go.
They were always different, always intense and a real test of character.
Today’s Scottish Cup semi-final is, however, a little different.
It’s an occasion that could be hugely significant for the future of both clubs.
Celtic are the favourites, and if they don’t win, it will be a shock.
That puts massive pressure on their players and manager Ronny Deila. Their reputation is on the line today and there could be major repercussions if they lose.
Celtic are playing at a higher level than their opponents on a weekly basis and really should be capable of beating their great rivals.
That’s not to say Rangers don’t have a chance.
They performed particularly well against Dundee in the last round and showed what they’re capable of against Premiership opposition.
While defeat for Celtic could mean the end for Ronny Deila and some of the Celtic players, a cup upset could have completely different implications for Mark Warburton.
I believe the pre-match preparations may already have changed the thinking at Rangers.
If it hasn’t, perhaps it should.
Warburton has always said that he favours having a small, tight squad. He’s not in favour of having players sitting on the side-lines and only getting a game now and again.
I see where he’s coming from. But that might be a little unrealistic in the modern game.
Rangers’ ultimate ambition should be to have two players competing for every position.
They’ll need that if they want to win league titles and compete well in Europe.
The lack of depth in their squad was seen when Harry Forrester suffered an injury that will keep him out for the rest of the season.
He will be missed playing in the wide right position, and it leaves Rangers short of options because both Michael O’Halloran and Billy King are cup-tied.
Martyn Waghorn did well coming in from the wide areas, but he has missed 10 games through injury.
The Rangers management team must be really frustrated by the way this situation has developed.
Mark Warburton can quite rightly say that he won’t have players cup-tied for next season’s Premiership campaign.
Injury, however, is something that can’t be predicted.
The Rangers manager doesn’t strike me as someone who changes his philosophy of football very often. But he might have to think again about the size of his squad if his team win today’s semi-final.
Expectations will rocket amongst the Rangers’ fans if they beat Celtic.
Going up to the top flight and consolidating was never going to be acceptable, and a victory at Hampden will have the supporters believing they can win the Premiership.
That will require more than just three or four reinforcements.
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