BERTIE AULD insists Celtic WILL beat Rangers at Parkhead tomorrow afternoon and WIN their 50th title.

The Lisbon Lion also believes his old club shouldn’t hesitate about giving Neil Lennon the manager’s job in a full-time capacity.

Auld, who celebrated his 81st birthday a week ago, said: “I reckon this will be a massive game, an encounter where a lot of Celtic’s players will have to stand up and be counted.

“A victory will put the team 13 points ahead with only seven games left to play.

“Does anyone seriously believe Steven Gerrard’s side will be able to make up that leeway in the run-in to the campaign?

“It’s not going to happen. Three points on Sunday and they might as well present Celtic with the trophy there and then.

“So, there is a huge onus on the players to perform. We know it will be physical, you can take that as read.

ODSONNE WINNER…Celtic’s French ace Odsonne Edouard battles with Rangers defender Connor Goldson.

“It will be an afternoon for Lennon’s men to get their sleeves rolled up and win the 50/50 challenges and maybe the 40/60 ones, as well.

“The team possesses flair players with the likes of Odsonne Edouard and Scott Sinclair in the ranks and we know they are skilful, gifted operators, but they will face some hefty treatment at Ibrox.

“And if the players need any motivation they only have to glance to the touchline.

“Neil Lennon’s passion for the club cannot be questioned. There is an enthusiasm there from start to finish and you can see the manager kicking every ball with his players.

“Listen, I hope Neil doesn’t mind me saying this, but he wasn’t the greatest footballer.

“He may not have possessed all the tricks and flicks, but what he had was a driving determination. He went out onto that park with a victory as his only consideration.

“That makes him a winner in my book.

“We had a team of such individuals in my day at the club. There’s no need to name the characters, we all know who they are.

“Now the present-day squad must pick up that challenge and show they are worthy of wearing those green and white hooped shirts.

“There will be around 59,000 Celtic fans at Parkhead on Sunday and the scene is set for a triumph.

“But I can only stress Celtic will have to earn that victory. This has been a period of change for Rangers and Steven Gerrard has made sweeping changes.

“However, they must be aware their season will end in the east end of Glasgow if they lose in this match.

“Maybe they will believe they will have given themselves a chance if they can win this one and bring it back to seven points with another game due at their place before the end of the term.

ON THE RUN…the skilful Scott Sinclair on the attack.

“So, that is why I am adamant Celtic must go out with the right attitude to get the business done and dusted.”

Auld added: “It would be a magnificent achievement to lift half–a-century of championships.

“I’m proud to say I participated in five of them and I loved every minute of those successes.

“It’s time for this team to make their own history. Some true grit will have to be displayed on Sunday because they will be handed nothing on a plate.

“There are a lot of fine individuals in this squad, but this will be a test of character and nerve. That wasn’t on display at Ibrox in December when too many drifted off the radar and Rangers took control of the middle of the park.

“So, it’s going to be a colossal confrontation and I’m rally looking forward to it.

“With Neil Lennon on the touchline, the team are already heading in the right direction.

“I believe he will thrive on the occasion and remind his players of their responsibilities to the club and the fans.

“And victory will undoubtedly go a long way to making sure he is offered the job on a permanent basis.

“On a personal note, I would hesitate in giving him the job right now. What more has he to prove? He is a Celtic man through and through.

“And, on a day like tomorrow, that commitment is crucial.”


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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