Ahead of Sunday’s upcoming derby match with Rangers, I regaled myself with tales from previous matches against them, and this one from Chris Sutton was a great read.
In amongst the happy memories of the 6-2 game , there was a particular word that stood out for me that has started to be the main theme of the weekend’s match - pressure.
It’s bizarre that we now turn up to Ibrox expecting three points, when in the past a draw there was considered a great result, although Rangers liquidation and downgraded status as a club certainly has played a massive part in this.
Under their last two managers, the matches at Ibrox were largely devoid of any tension and atmosphere, because their fans expected us to roll over the top of them and their players weren’t equipped with even the slightest ounce of hubris or arrogance ensuring that Rodgers sides were always likely to leave Govan with three more points.
This time, for once, there’s a different feel to the game. A feel that.......The Biz could be.......back.
Rangers have improved under Graham Murty, and their acquisitions in January have added a fluidity and balance to their play that was nowhere to be seen with Warburton and Caixinha, and aside from a 2-1 loss at home to Hibs, they’ve swatted teams aside with relative ease, and somehow go into this game as favourites - in their own heads at least.
There’s no pressure on us, we’re six points clear, and even in the unlikely event of a defeat on Sunday, we’ll still be ahead of them in the league, with a squad more than capable of delivering our seventh title in a row.
This is a definitive match for Murty and Rangers, who as we have seen already this season do not cope well when we slip up. Everytime we have dropped points, Rangers do the same the next day, and with a distinct lack of winners in their team, I suspect a few of their players who have been firing on all cylinders against the likes of Aberdeen and Hearts will not be able to handle the atmosphere on Sunday, with the added pressure of their fans expecting them to finally end their disgraceful winless run against us.
Our big game players will flat track bully it again and step up in the league, like they did against Aberdeen, and ensure the streak continues.
We’ll have a preview up tomorrow on the site too.