Scottish Football Podcast: Old Firm special

Host Ian Crocker is joined by guests Kris Boyd and Andy Walker on the latest Scottish Football Podcast for a look back on an encouraging international break for Scotland, and a look ahead to the return of the Old Firm match as Celtic prepare to host Rangers.

For the first time in 2020, the two biggest clubs in Glasgow renew their age-old rivalry as champions Celtic host league-leaders Rangers in a mouth-watering clash on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

Former Celtic striker Walker and ex-Rangers striker Boyd look ahead to what will be an Old Firm game with a difference, reflect on their stand-out appearances in the fixture, and offer their Scottish Premiership predictions ahead of the return of top-flight football in Scotland.

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‘Pressure very much on Rangers’

Sky Sports’ Kris Boyd:

“Rangers are confident going into the match, and this is probably a game where the pressure is on Rangers. Serious questions are going to be asked if Rangers don’t put on a performance and come away with three points.

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“The whole mindset has changed now Rangers are top of the league. They are confident and the last time they went to Celtic Park they did really well and came away with the three points.

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“If, when the time comes to debrief the game, Rangers haven’t come away with three points, serious questions will be asked because everything points towards them getting a victory.

“We saw last time out at St Johnstone that Celtic always find a way to win, so I don’t think Steven Gerrard will go into the game expecting to win, but they will know they need to perform.

“They will probably need to play at a level they have not played at this season, with the exception of the Galatasaray game, but there are no easy Old Firm games, are there?”



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Rangers

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‘Less than ideal preparations for Celtic’

Sky Sports’ Andy Walker:

“This is a strange game for Celtic in the sense that preparations have been far from ideal for Neil Lennon, with many players affected by Covid issues.

“Up front is where the big issue lies. I don’t think Odsonne Edouard will play, I think his isolation period ends on Friday, but he cannot be match fit, and he hasn’t actually looked sharp on a matchday anyway.

  • Edouard tests positive for coronavirus
  • Elhamed tests positive for coronavirus
  • Bitton tests positive for coronavirus

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Leigh Griffiths started the game. He knows he let himself, his team-mates and his manager down by returning in poor shape for the start of the new season, but he is focused, has his attitude back and is ready to play a part.

“Talking of attitude, the way Patryk Klimala finished that chance against St Johnstone, I would give him the nod alongside Griffiths.

“I know a lot of Celtic supporters are unconvinced by him, but he has earned a place from the start given the injury problems and issues surrounding Edouard and Albian Ajeti.”

‘Rangers team picks itself’

Sky Sports’ Kris Boyd:

“The Rangers team picks itself, but that counts for nothing.

“There have been times over the years where Rangers have had five players out and Celtic were an absolute certainty, and vice versa. Guess what happened? The underdog went and won the game.

“Anything can happen in an Old Firm game, but I just hope it’s a real spectacle for Scottish football. I know there won’t be any fans there, but there will still be tackles flying around all over the place.

“Sometimes the passion from the stands spills over onto the pitch, and that will still be there even though supporters aren’t.”

Fan-less Old Firm adds unusual dimension

Sky Sports’ Andy Walker:

“It’s a great pity there will be no noise, colour, passion coming from the stands. It will be interesting to see how that affects the players; they know how much it means to the people watching.

“I know from experience that the fans can put a yard on your stride, trying to lift you to bigger and better things. It’s a fabulous experience and the sooner we get the fans back the better.”

Old Firm predictions

ANDY WALKER: 2-2

“I think there will be goals. I cannot separate them; they are both playing good football.”

KRIS BOYD: 0-2

“I think Rangers will win.”

IAN CROCKER: 1-1

“I’ve spent 22 years sitting on the fence in Glasgow and I’m not shifting.”

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