Once upon a time, Celtic used to turn up to these matches and dismantle Rangers without breaking sweat. Not anymore. Steven Gerrard has transformed the Govan club into a well organised outfit, who are unbeaten domestically.
It is well renowned that Rangers’ full backs are their danger men and St Mirren recorded the only domestic defeat on the ‘Gers record by stifling them in the wide areas. That is understandable as the Buddies have inferior quality. However, Celtic could do things a different way. Indeed, if I were Neil Lennon, I would stick with the 4-4-2 formation and the same team that started Celtic’s most recent game against Dundee United (if Jullien is fit). I would instruct Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths to push on to the Rangers full backs and allow the centre halves to have the ball. If they advance into midfield, Celtic have an extra man there (because Rangers usually play a 4-3-3 system) so Turnbull can press them.
Under those circumstances, if Rangers continue to push their full backs forward beyond the half way line then the Celtic strikers can pass them on, and look to capitalise on the break as Rangers will have left themselves exposed at the back against two of the most lethal strikers in the country.
It’s win or bust for Neil Lennon’s team. They need to go all guns blazing and chase the win. The 4-4-2 gives a good attacking threat, but a simple tactic of pushing the strikers onto the opposition full backs can nullify their threat.
Let’s see how it pans out.