Rangers can beat Celtic AND Leipzig, so those asking for wholesale derby changes need to rest – Barry Ferguson – Barry Ferguson

There is a chain of thought that Gio van Bronckhorst could make big changes for the trip to Parkhead on Sunday with the second leg of the Europa League semi-final looming on Thursday.

But I do not agree. If it was any other team in the country, I would have understood that.

But Celtic? With the prospect of them being nine points clear with three games to go if Rangers are beaten? No chance.

Yes, there could be some changes, but even if there is still the slightest chance of winning the league, I don’t think the manager of Rangers can send a weakened team.

What kind of signal would that send? That would be like saying they conceded defeat in the title race and with four games to go, you just can’t do that.

Listen, Celtic are unlikely to dump enough points in the final three games of the campaign, even if Rangers beat them, but you never know.

Which is why I’d be surprised if he wrapped his main men in cotton.

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Like I said, there might be a change or two, but I don’t think he’ll drastically change things as they roll through town.

The one who could enter is Steven Davis. He is always quality and has such an important role to play.

Forget age. Watch the game against St Mirren a few weeks ago when he replaced John Lundstram after 26 minutes and brought real calm to the team.

Then in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup, Davo and Scott Arfield made the difference. Obviously Scotty scored the goal, but when Steven Davis steps onto the pitch a lot of players look around and think, ‘It’s okay, Davo’s here.’

He has an aura around him and he can dictate a football match. I thought Thursday night would have been a game to use his experience, but Gio sees him every day and he has to be trusted to make those calls.

But Davo has a huge role to play this season and hopefully next. There is no doubt in my mind that he is worth another contract.

Guys like him are hard to find and I would be more than happy if he was in the starting lineup.

But I don’t think there will be many changes. After all, there is a lot of rest between games. Four full days. That should be enough for them to get the Celtic game off their feet and get ready for the Germans.

It’s a game I’m looking forward to, especially after Thursday’s first leg in Leipzig.

I was up and down like a yo-yo, so nervous.

My stomach was like a washing machine. I don’t know why I’m so nervous about these games that I don’t even play. I guess during my playing days I could go out there and try to influence the outcome of the game, whereas now it’s completely out of my control.

My wife asked me why I was so nervous last night and it boils down to this: I want this group of players to do better than me in 2008.

I want them to go do something special, something that will be remembered forever.

We almost made it under Walter and these boys still have a real chance under Gio.

As I sat down to watch the game, I thought to myself that I would get the same result as they went to Braga in the last round.

Obviously a win would have been brilliant and you would have drawn all day, but coming back to Ibrox on Thursday just one goal down? I would have taken that before a ball was kicked.

Of course, it was disappointing to lose the game so late. The boy hit a one-shot cracker and it can happen, but Rangers are still tied and have every chance of advancing to this final.

I watched RB Leipzig take on Bayer Leverkusen a few weeks ago, winning 1-0, just to get an idea of ​​what they are. Obviously, Gio also watched a lot of it.

They are a very good team, there is no doubt, and they sit fourth in the Bundesliga, although their current form is on par with that of Bayern Munich.

These aren’t cups and Gio went there with a game plan to make sure the tie was still alive by the time the second leg came at Ibrox.

It meant a more solid and compact performance than some have been away in Europe, but I’m sure the players he injured – Alfredo Morelos, Kemar Roofe and Aaron Ramsey – also dictated how he built the team.

But I was in a team that reached the final playing like that away from home. We were more enthusiastic at Ibrox under Walter Smith, but he made sure we were tough against him and did everything to avoid conceding an away goal and that took us all the way to Manchester.

Yes, they lost one late on Thursday, but after watching that game, I have no doubt in my mind that Rangers will go through. They will beat Leipzig at Ibrox.

Normally I’m not that open and confident, but next Thursday night, under those lights with the support of those fans, Rangers can do it. I hope Roofe and Ramsey are back, but even without them I still think Rangers have enough to make it on the night.

In other words, I’m already considering booking Sevilla for the boys and me, which I normally wouldn’t do.

I have to go – my boys were younger in 2008 – and I want to go as a fan. I want to get into the atmosphere and I can’t wait for them to get there.

Before that, of course, there’s that Old Firm game tomorrow.

Rangers need to adopt the attitude that Celtic AND Leipzig can be beaten.

About Timothy Cheatham

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