Tomorrow’s Old Firm may have little on the line but it will be a very interesting matchup nonetheless. The Ibrox faithful will be desperate to go into the summer knowing that they’ve got an even record against Celtic under Steven Gerrard, and going into the summer so much can change ahead of next season with both sides needing to do work.
There are ageing players and loanees on both sides of the Old Firm who don’t have futures in Glasgow. Next season there will be a number of stars making their debuts in the Glasgow derby and as that’s the case there will also be a few who could feature for one the last time today.
Who has the bigger summer rebuild ahead is yet to be seen, and here we’ll be comparing either side of that.
CELTIC’S SUMMER PLANS
Neil Lennon or not, work simply has to be done. There are a number of players at Celtic Park who will not be there next season. Loanees Jeremy Toljan, Filip Benkovic, Timothy Weah and Oliver Burke are all going to be going back to their parent clubs in the summer, and with a lot of the rest of the squad getting on and some well into their thirties, it will be tough to sort out all the problems overnight.
The issue may come down to who is the right man to see out these changes and it won’t be easy. So many players are approaching the end of their days at Parkhead. The likes of Scott Brown, Mikael Lustig, Jonny Hayes, Scott Sinclair and Craig Gordon are all getting to the end of their time and it will take a gargantuan effort and a lot of money to successfully see off the old guard, and their need for a rebuild couldn’t be greater.
TT GRADE: A+
Whatever happens in tomorrow’s clash, Steven Gerrard has his work cut out for him over the summer. At least in his case at Ibrox, he started last summer and has already had two transfer windows to work with. Players like Kenny Miller and Bruno Alves were allowed to leave whilst he brought in some short-term loanees and some permanent options for the future.
There is still a lot to be done. The goalkeeping option isn’t a long-term one as Allan McGregor has seen better days, but for now, he’s an ideal option, even if he will miss the Old Firm through suspension. Rangers are getting on the right track, though. Glen Kamara was an incredible coup, and with a deal for Jake Hastie also tied up ahead of the summer Gerrard has got the Gers well ahead of the Bhoys in this one, and that head start has lessened the need for a complete summer revamp.
TT GRADE: C
Both Neil Lennon and Steven Gerrard will be parking their summer plans for 90 minutes as they go head-to-head today, but when the summer comes around there is a lot more work to be done on the green and white side of Glasgow than the blue side. That might not show in the on-pitch results, but the Bhoys need to keep ticking over if they’re to maintain their domestic success for much longer.
Bhoys, just how big of a rebuild does your club need this summer?
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