Ange Postecoglou, the Celtic manager, has cautioned that the status of Aaron Ramsey does not guarantee the on-loan Juventus midfielder will succeed at Rangers. Ramsey was a surprise deadline day arrival at Ibrox and although he is not fit enough to face Celtic on Wednesday evening, there is excitement in Glasgow’s blue half that the former Arsenal player could have a defining say in the title race.
Rangers are two points clear of their oldest foes as they head to Celtic for the second Old Firm match of the campaign. Postecoglou, while insisting he is far more interested in his own personnel, pointed towards the lack of fanfare around the summer arrival of Kyogo Furuhashi – who has excelled at Celtic – when asked about Ramsey.
“I don’t really get affected by what others do,” he said. “I’ve said it before: my focus is on what happens here. You can’t start worrying about what other clubs could potentially do or what players they bring in.
“Ultimately all these things come down to performances. No one had heard of Kyogo but you can’t tell me he’s not had an impact. It’s more about the impact they have. When opposition sides bring in new players it’s about looking how they perform and how they fit in and us trying to counteract that. Are there no guarantees? Absolutely. And it’s not an easy league to do it in. It’s been proven before. But my perspective is on us.”
The Rangers manager, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, said of the latest high-profile arrival in Scottish football: “To be able to bring in a player like Aaron was a very good opportunity for us. He will bring experience and quality to the squad. It is too soon for him to be involved [against Celtic] but I expect him to be in the squad really quickly.”
Celtic could call upon their captain, Callum McGregor, despite the serious facial injury he suffered in a Scottish Cup tie at Alloa less than two weeks ago. “He will only play if he feels he is at his best,” Postecoglou said. “If he doesn’t think he can be at his best then he will wait until that time is right. I’m not doubting his courage or his intent to play, but he also wants to be at his best because he knows it is an important game and he wants to help in the right possible way.”
Celtic have not beaten Rangers in the league since September 2019 and at all since December of the same year. After Rangers won the championship with 25 points to spare last season, the closeness of the teams thus far has led to rave reviews for Postecoglou.
“These kinds of narratives work well but the reality is when you represent this football club, even if you’ve won the last nine, you are expected to win the 10th,” said the Australian. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve won or lost in previous encounters. What’s important is what you do in the next one. We have to go out there and play our football. We have been in good form and consistent for quite a while. We’ll bring that to this game and hopefully get the job done.”