Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Old Firm Preview

Is an Old Firm match ever meaningless. I'd dare say that fans of both teams would say this is a game that always matters. And I'm sure Rupert Murdoch's Sky Sports will be doing their best to press every last drop of drama out of their build up tonight.

The rest of us might being left shrugging our shoulders and asking a weary "so what?"

Walter Smith has already noted that he thinks tonight will be lacking "an edge" while Neil Lennon has been quick to say that this is not a match that should be viewed as the most important component of his job interview.

You can understand their motivation for playing it down.

Smith know that his players are tired, the hard work is done, an away game at your biggest rivals might be a big ask. Lowering expectations makes sense.

Lennon wants the Celtic job. But he knows that to succeed he needs more than a run of league wins. He has to prove he is winner. At Celtic that means winning semi finals and beating Rangers. He's already failed part one of that audition so if he can reshape the way his reign is defined he's got more chance of passing part two.

Where does all this leave the game? It would be nice if it was an end of season classic. I somehow doubt it will be. Maybe it will be an enthralling spectacle but I don't hold out much hope.

My hunch is it will be quite tight, fairly bad tempered but lacking in some of the usual "atmosphere" that often makes these games as watchable as they are distasteful.

Ah, well. If it's a rubbish game we can all look forward to them doing it all again in Boston. Not so much an Old Firm anymore as a combined Harlem Globetrotters with added festering and misguided historical hate. Nice.

The Scottish Football Blog prediction: Rangers to nick it by the odd goal.

Ha! I've got through that without mentioning a certain manager of a certain team that might be waiting in the wings to take over at a certain club team at a certain point in the future that has yet to be announced.