Forget recent results or COVID outbreaks, this is the key to a Celtic victory on derby day

Updated: Sep 25

The first Glasgow Derby of the season takes place at Ibrox tomorrow afternoon, in what is set up to be a barnstorming 90 minutes of football.

Both teams head into the match after securing positive results in the second leg of their respective Europa League qualifying fixtures. But it's not only positive results on the pitch that control the narrative heading into the biggest domestic game of the season so far.

Rangers travelled to Armenia on Thursday without several key squad members and backroom staff due to a COVID outbreak at the club. Most notably, Steven Gerrard, Allan McGregor, James Tavernier and Ryan Kent didn't make the trip.

Given the recent COVID rule change however, only players still testing positive for symptoms will be unavailable for selection tomorrow, so there's a good chance that many of these names will play a part in the fixture.

Blocking out the noise

Despite Celtic achieving what many thought would be beyond Postecoglou and his team on Thursday evening, by qualifying for the Europa League Group Stages, the performance in Holland highlighted the importance of one aspect, that if Celtic can manage, the propensity of getting a positive result of their own increases exponentially.

I penned an article after the League Cup win against Hearts, where the headline read "Celtic are 99% ruthless and 1% careless". I daren't put a figure on how careless Celtic were in the second leg against Alkmaar but it mattered not on the outcome of the tie.

It's not a feature of Celtic's play that's likely to win them three points on derby day however.

Stop, Start, Continue

Maybe I've spent too much of my past in the corporate world but the 'Stop, Start, Continue' framework comes to mind when analysing our keys to victory:

Stop - Individual errors in key areas of the pitch. We don't need to look any further than the game on Thursday for this.

Start - Starts have been our USP this season. When we attack fast and early, we more often than not get results.

Continue - Our football in the final third so far this campaign has been breathtaking, with Kyogo being unplayable at times. Continued service to the SPL top scorer is required tomorrow more than ever.

Whatever happens, the Celtic faithful are in high spirits and have every right to be ahead of tomorrow's encounter.

Read more: Celtic face former Champions League finalists in Europe League Group Stages

What are your predictions for the match? Let us know in the comments below: