Scottish League Cup Final & Old Firm Prediction From Neil Lennon
We have a Scottish League Cup Final and Old Firm prediction for you as Neil Lennon previews the big game this Sunday afternoon.
Lennon is of course one of the most successful managers in the history of Celtic Football Club having won many titles in his time at the helm at Celtic Park.
The Scottish League Cup Final is one of the biggest days in Scottish football and we are in for a treat this year with both Celtic and Rangers reaching the final. That means we get an Old Firm cup final this weekend. In terms of footballing occasions it doesn’t get much better than that.
We started by asking Lennon for his prediction ahead of the Scottish League Cup Final. He also gave us his analysis and insight on what it’s like being a manager in an Old Firm derby and where he thinks the game will be won and lost this Sunday at Hampden Park.
Scottish League Cup Final Old Firm Prediction
Where do you think Sunday’s game will be won and lost?
It’s all about who can get hold of the ball. Rangers have to stop the flow of Celtic. Celtic are like a greyhound coming out of the blocks so Rangers have to start well. I think Celtic will win.
They’ve got the quality to hurt Rangers and I think they’ll win 2-1.
Neil Lennon’s Advice To Old Firm Managers Ahead Of Scottish League Cup Final
What advice would you give both managers ahead of Sunday’s final?
The managers need to try and ignore all the hype around the game. Do your job and switch off all the noise.
Celtic come out of the blocks so quickly all of the time, they score very early on so that’s something Michael Beale will have to stop. Even against Aberdeen at the weekend they were a goal up after less than five minutes.
Even going a goal down against Celtic presents a long way back so Michael needs to find a way to stop them from scoring early.
Old Firm Atmosphere
Do managers struggle with the atmosphere when it comes to games like the Old Firm?
That’s definitely the case. Whether it be at Celtic Park or Ibrox, it’s very difficult to get your instructions on to the pitch.
My first game as a player was at Hampden and the first 45 minutes were just a blur. The game is so fast, so physical and I came into the dressing room at half-time just shaking my head and asking myself ‘what was that all about?’
Hampden is a little bit different, it’s a little further away from the supporters but certainly in league games it’s difficult to hear yourself talk. Sometimes players use that as a good excuse to pretend they didn’t hear what you said!
Which Is More Valuable In Scotland – The Cup or The League?
Is winning a cup final better than winning the league in Scotland?
Winning the cup is a one-off day. If you’re winning it against Rangers then it adds a huge psychological lift to the whole club. This game is huge when it comes to the rest of the season.
If Celtic win, there’s no question they’re on track to win the treble whereas if Rangers win it then it will be damaging for Celtic.
Lennon On Old Firm Pressure This Sunday
Who would you say is under more pressure to win, Beale or Ange?
They’re both under pressure. This is Celtic v Rangers.
The expectations are on Postecoglou more to win the game because they’re the favourites and that’s the only way I can call it.
Both will be under the spotlight.
McGregor Celtic’s Main Man For League Cup Final
Who can Celtic rely on ahead of this weekend’s Cup Final?
Callum McGregor. He’s a Rolls Royce of a player and his game intelligence is so high.
Over the last six or seven years he’s blossomed into one of the best players around. He’s rightly the captain of Celtic and he delivers week-in, week-out.
Combined Celtic v Rangers XI
Ahead of the final, who would get in your combined Celtic v Rangers XI?
There’s no question that I like some of the current Rangers players. Ryan Kent is a handful and Alfredo Morelos is the same.
Allan McGregor is a top goalkeeper and has been for a long time and Tavernier’s goal contributions record is exemplary so there are players that I do admire – whether I’d pick them in a combined XI is another thing!f
Lennon’s Favourite Cup Final Moment As Celtic Manager
What was your favourite moment as manager of Celtic in a cup final?
Every trophy is special to me. Some people on the outside take them for granted but I never have.
I’ve won a lot, and lost a few finals as well but my favourite one would probably be winning the Scottish Cup against Hibs – it was my first double as a manager.
We won the league and beat Barcelona. We finished the season off in style beating Hibs 3-0 at Hampden.
There’s only Jock Stein and Billy McNeil who did it as a player and a manager so to join those elite icons of the club was personally very special for me. We handled the occasion of that day brilliantly.
McGregor Can Replicate Scott Brown’s Legacy At Celtic
Which player can replicate Scott Brown’s legacy, who would it be?
Callum McGregor. He’s won so much already in his career. He’s a different personality; less emotional than Scott.
He has quality on and off the pitch and leads the team in a different way. He’s fantastic and would be the first name on the teamsheet.
Lennon On Beale’s Decision To Let Partick Thistle Score
What did you make of Michael Beale allowing Partick Thistle to score the other weekend?
Michael Beale did the right thing. You don’t want to win the game the way they would’ve done had Rangers not let Partick Thistle score.
It’s the right thing to do in any game, in any situation – even the Old Firm. You don’t want to win an Old Firm like that.
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