Celtic have dominated Scottish football for quite some time now as they have won seven league titles in a row. But there seems to be an end to the invincibility aura around them. They have had an average start to the league campaign according to their standards, and they failed to make it through to the Champions League group stages for the first time under Brendan Rodgers. Now their most influential forward Moussa Dembele has also left the club on the last day of the transfer window. All these could be signs of a power shift. But Celtic would surely like to keep their supremacy intact, and even with all such shortcomings this season, the Hoops will go in as favourites for this encounter.
The Gers are coming on the back of a heroic win against FC Ufa of Russia, and the preparations would not be the same if they would have faced the Hoops some other time as all the players would have been concentrating on getting through to the Europa League group stage. However, the fans would want the players to give everything as one expects nothing less than that in a derby. The current record is undoubtedly against the Gers as they have lost last 10 of their 13 encounters but most of the players are new, and they won’t be carrying the baggage of the previous losses.
So what can Gerrard do to take down his former manager? We try to look at that.
Take the game to the opposition
Off late, the Gers have surrendered too timidly in derbies, and Gerrard needs to change that attitude. We believe the manager needs to go all out for this game even though they are playing away from home. Starting with Kyle Lafferty and Alfredo Morelos up top together could be the way to go. Don’t forget, Lafferty had already scored a winning goal against the Hoops this season when he was with Hearts of Midlothian.
Take special care of the fullbacks
The Bhoys’ attacking contribution comes a lot from the wide regions, and we often see Kieran Tierney and Mikael Lustig playing in a very advanced position. There is also a chance of Celtic going in with the formation of 3-5-2, and the two wide men would always go forward at every opportunity. Therefore it is imperative for the Rangers wide midfield players to track back every time to keep their wide players in check.
Be disciplined and make sure to have 11 players on the pitch
“I was put on this earth to steam into tackles. For most professionals, tackling is a technique. For me, it’s an adrenaline rush … the sight of the other team with the ball makes me sick … I have to claim it back. It’s my ball, and I’m going for it.
“Tackling is a collision which sorts out the cowards from the brave.”
This is what Gerrard wrote in his biography on the subject of tackling, and the players seem to have taken to that idea too well. The Gers have already played quite a few numbers of games a man down, and if they do something like that against Celtic, the Hoops will pick them off. Yes, one loves to see tackles flying in, especially in the derbies, but the players need to be careful to make sure they all stay on the pitch for the entire game.