The SPL Cup Final - Rangers V Celtic

Last updated : 27 February 2010 By ALBERTZ WAS KING

It has all the atmosphere and ambiance of a cup final and by the time we take our seats at Ibrox at 12:30 on Sunday afternoon that feeling will be unanimous. Fans know that should we be victorious, we have just taken a gigantic leap to securing a 2nd successive league title. A league title we simply can't go without.

Celtic on the other hand know that defeat will leave them with disappointment, despair and a rather large bill to pay at the end of it.

A draw in reality interests neither of us, much like a cup final.

Both sets of supporters and players are building in excitement as the hours dwindle away before the big kick off. The players, despite what they might say to the media, will be feeling the very same way. Motivation and a desire to win is a given in a match of such magnitude.

Tactics and intelligence will have a big part to play in deciding the outcome of this match. I believe that we have the players with the qualities to expose their glaring weaknesses and if we deploy them correctly, we could well be in for a very pleasing Sunday afternoon.

Boyd and Miller are a tried and tested partnership. The reason why Miller enjoys so much success against them is because he has pace but is also very tactically aware. If you have time to notice on Sunday, you will observe the positions Miller takes up where he looks to receive the ball, you will discover that he operates between the lines of the oppositions defence and midfield.

The two Celtic centre back's don't particularly want to vacate their position and go and close Miller down in this area as they will leave a gap for Boyd to exploit or for Miller to play a quick pass and then dart into. They lack the mobility to control Miller and the positions he deploys.

As Celtic's holding midfielder, N'Guemo lacks the aggression in tackle, Miller will find this a very productive area to operate in.

Another key battle will be using pace and width in the wide areas. Novo and Beasley's contribution in December was of the highest calibre. Not only did they score goals but the created a great number of goals in the process. Beasley's ball retention, hard work and intelligent runs compliment the busyness and unpredictability of Novo on the other side. The greater movement in the attack means a more productive and influential Steven Davis who expertly finds passes to play ahead of him. Whether Smith will go with the pair of them wide is debatable but at some stage in the match, the pair of them will have a big part to play.

I also believe that Bougherra will play an integral role in pushing the team forward and putting pressure on them in areas they are not particularly comfortable in. Boogey often plays the ball out to the right back, whether it be Whittaker or Broadfoot, and then performs a looping run on the outside. This gives us an overload on the right side with 3 players up against 2. The right back then has the option to advance himself with the ball, play it inside to a central midfielder, give it to Bougherra on the overlap or pass it to the right midfielder in advance of him.

I have also noticed that teams have given Davie Weir time on the ball to either pass or advance with it because Davie lacks the ball retention skills of his fellow centre back. I think Celtic will also let Weir have the ball in the hope that they can catch him out of position as he comes forward into open space. Therefore I would look for Thomson, who has a great record against Celtic and is improving by the game, to take it from him deep and look to play the early ball forward to the quick players out wide.

Ibrox will be rocking at full time should we play with the passion, intelligence and skill that we know we are capable of. Our nefarious rivals know it is well and it is truly make or break for them, so they will be giving it their all to snatch the 3 points and leave doubts in our minds. They will approach this game as if it is their cup final, simply because it is.

While there will be no trophy lifted by the captain on a little podium at the end of it, we all know the importance. The thinking mans team will win and let the battle commence.