Celtic fans seem to be very split as to how we should line-up at Ibrox tomorrow in the derby game against ‘Rangers’ in the Scottish Premiership it what is essentially a ‘dead rubber’.
There is a line of thinking that Ange should go with his strongest possible line up, as that apparently means we will hammer them and pile even more pressure on Michael Beale heading into next season.
There is another train of thought, this one being the most favoured from what I can gather, is that we play the core of our regular team but mix in some players that don’t normally start, and this is what I will examine in more detail today as I am also hugely in favour of this.
And the final one which I have seen a few people mention is that we go there and play the kids, or the B team, which is never going to happen.
But, firstly I’ll address going with our “full strength them.” For people advocating this, our full strength team has played the last several games and we have looked completely ordinary. Whether that’s been a mental thing or whether it’s fatigue playing a factor at this stage of the season, who knows, but if you think us taking a full strength team to Ibrox is going to result in us battering them, which I have seen suggested, I would say that was very optimistic.
I’ve also seen people say we need to go full strength as we are chasing a points and goals record and we need to start Kyogo to make sure he wins the top goal scorer award.
Again, based on the way we’ve been playing, I’m not confident it’s going to help our chances of winning and score more goals if we play the same players that have stared the last few games.
I’d argue that if we bring players into the starting line up who are hungry to prove their worth and play for a starting spot, that we’d actually get a BETTER performance and a HUNGRIER performance from them, rather than play the regular starters who have already secured the league title and are much more likely to go through the motions.
I also believe it is FAR MORE important that we see some of our fringe players start at Ibrox so we can see what they are made of.
We cannot go into next season with it being an unknown if we can rely of these guys in this type of fixture.
What’s more important? We play Kyogo and he has a better chance of adding to his goal tally that is already phenomenal this season or we start with Oh as we find out if we can trust him and rely on him next season if God forbid Kyogo gets injured?
It’s the same with Bernabei at left-back. Put him in. We don’t need to start Taylor, we know what he’s capable of but we don’t yet fully know what Bernabei’s capable of, and we need to know!
It sucks that CCV is out injured, but at least it gives us and the manager a chance to see what Kobayashi is made of, because he’ll be tested a lot more than he has been tested in a Celtic shirt and that’s what we need to see.
Iwata is another one that I’d like to see more of and I’d like to see him start tomorrow. I think we’ll see a lot more of him next season and we have seen him mostly come on from the bench and he’s looked good, but let’s see him start and get a proper look at him.
But the two main ones for me are Oh and Bernabei. We really cannot afford to go into next season unsure if we can rely on these guys or not. They need to be tested show us what they’re made of in a hostile environment against our rivals.