Celtic have an opportunity for 'circuit breaker' against Rangers as Ange Postecoglou explains his big-game routine back home

There have been many descriptions attached to the hostilities between Celtic and Rangers.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is preparing for his first Old Firm derby against Rangers at Ibrox on Sunday (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is preparing for his first Old Firm derby against Rangers at Ibrox on Sunday (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Ahead of his first experience of the fixture – which comes with the Ibrox-hosted opening cinch Premiership derby this season between the Glasgow adversaries – Ange Postecoglou adds a few new terms to the lexicon associated with the confrontation.

The Australian doesn’t pretend he is fulfilling the ambition of a lifetime in embroiling himself in this worldwide renowned rivalry – even as he admits it will be “magic” to do so, having previously watched them in a fashion you just love to imagine from someone down under.

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“I wasn’t a pub kind of guy. I preferred watching with the comforts of home with a few mates and a couple of beers,” he said. “Whenever there was a big fixture, we’d get around to someone’s house, have a barbie and watch the football. It’s one of the fixtures everyone looks out for every year from around the world. The Glasgow derby is right up there and it’s never lost on me how big a game it is.

Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi is left in agony after another robust challenge in the Alkmaar encounter. His manager says referees must deal with the "treatment" being meted out to him "on face value" to ensure the in-form Japanese striker is allowed to deliver on his talents. (Photo by Rico Brouwer / SNS Group)

“It’s not stuff that you dream about because when you are living in Melbourne and you are a million miles away, how can you dream you’ll be part of a fixture like this one? It seems too far-fetched to come from seeing it in a young boy’s mind. To be involved, it’ll be special.”

Postecoglou recognises how flat the encounter has proved for his club in recent times when, in his typically quirky manner, he wants his first sampling of game to be a “circuit breaker” for Celtic.

“It’s an opportunity in a singular event to make an impact,” he said. “It’s not going to define our season or anyone’s season, but it’s one where you want to impact. I think we haven’t beaten them over the last six fixtures, so it’s an opportunity for us to have a circuit breaker and try and wrestle some of that momentum and get ourselves on top in an important fixture every year.”

Postecoglou won’t “fall into the trap of thinking they [Rangers] will be lessened” by the Covid-19 issues that had affected a handful of players and resulted in Steven Gerrard not travelling with his team to Armenia for their Europa League play-off success over Alkashert this week.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou will experience his first Old Firm fixture at Ibrox on Sunday. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

“It’s a false trap and Covid is an issue for all of us,” he said. “Every week, clubs try to be diligent, but it’s affecting all of society.”

It is not known whether the impact of Rangers Covid-19 issues will prevent Gerrard being on the touchline for Sunday’s match-up. In having the utmost respect for his Ibrox counterpart, Postecoglou will welcome that experience whenever it does happen.

“I don’t know him at all. I’ve never met him,” the 56-year-old said of the former Liverpool and England captain. “But I have admired his career from afar. An outstanding player with an outstanding career and now he’s forging through the managerial ranks. Full credit to him. He keeps putting himself out there for challenges and I look forward to being across from him.”

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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard will look for his side to maintain their recent dominance of the Old Firm fixture. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

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