Since their formation in 2012 from the assets of our dead rivals, this is what we’ve heard. Their three year journey through the divisions took four years, they’ve been through a series of managers most of whom couldn’t lay a glove on us. Only one has managed to get the better of us and that took extra time and penalties on one of our bad days.
Even then they lost the cup final to Hibs, forever to be known as the team against who the Leith side finally ended their long wait.
Since reaching the top flight they’ve managed a couple of draws at Celtic Park under a caretaker manager, but far more often they’ve been humiliated. Their very first visit to Celtic Park saw them humped 5-1, a scoreline that was repeated at Ibrox later that same season.
Their most recent games against us saw them lose 3-2 at Ibrox despite us going down to ten men and then having the lead twice, a 4-0 thrashing at Hampden, and most recently a 5-0 hammering at Celtic Park on the day we clinched the league title.
But maybe things are finally changing. Maybe they actually have a manager who has a clue what he’s doing. Steven Gerrard is still a rookie in a big job but so far he’s unbeaten and that’s no mean feat considering they’ve had to negotiate four Europe League ties as well as go to tricky venues like Pittodrie and Fir Park.
We can’t exactly say the same. While they should have won those two away league games and only conceding late equalisers stopped them doing that, they’ve at least not failed any big test yet. Today will be their biggest, but actually it’s us who have all the pressure.
We’re unbeaten against this team. We are the reigning champions. We’re the team who haven’t achieved what we set out to achieve in European competition. We’re the team who are down key players and haven’t replaced them. We’re the team with all the turmoil and questions being asked from top to bottom.
As odd as that might seem given the double treble that was won a little over three months ago, this is the state we find ourselves in. Reaching the Europa League group stages helped settle things a little, but it was quickly wiped out thanks to Moussa Dembele’s petulant departure.
Given how things have played out this season, they’ll be rubbing their hands in glee to face us now. It’s the perfect time, and could set an early marker the likes that hasn’t been seen since Martin O’Neill’s team hammered the reigning champions 6-2 and signalled a changing of fortunes.
It’s up to us now to ensure no such marker is set. This Rangers team need a message sent, and that message is that we’re still the best team in Scotland by a stretch. Never mind Hearts being clear at the top of the league, we’ll take care of them in due course. We are the champions, you will not be taking anything from us today or any time in the future.
It’s time Celtic went out there and showed everyone what we’re really capable of. Silence the critics, the media, the 2012 incarnation of Rangers, and get everyone currently at Celtic back pulling in the same direction again. Forget what’s happened recently, that’s done now. Today we go again.
Get them f****** pumped.
Krys (Twitter @krys1888)