Derek McInnes challenges Celtic to do something different as he makes blunt Rangers admission

Derek McInnes challenges Celtic to do something different as he makes blunt Rangers admission

Kilmarnock boss Derek McInnes is confident Rangers won’t settle for second best against Celtic despite chasing the Europa League final.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side travel across town for a midday showdown knowing defeat will end their title hopes.

And the Dutchman faces some big personal decisions to make with the second leg of his semi-final with RB Leipzig looming on Thursday.

Some have called on van Bronckhorst to prioritize the clash with the Germans as they sit six points behind Celtic.

However, McInnes believes Rangers will benefit more from going all out in the pursuit of a result rather than taking a conservative approach.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, he said: “Giovanni seems very calm, collected and sure of himself. I don’t expect him to be swayed by anyone.

“I’ve heard all the arguments about how he should play a weakened side against Celtic today in order to keep his players fresh for the second leg of the Europa League semi-final against Leipzig.

“Europe is now the priority in the eyes of so many people. But that is precisely why he needs to send a strong team to try and win at Parkhead.

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“Rangers won’t want to play the second leg against Leipzig after two defeats.

“And as a Rangers player, any loss to Celtic is heavy. It hurts you.

“That’s why I don’t see him making big changes. He has the luxury of being able to refresh it in three or four positions, especially in midfield.

“People like Steven Davis, Scott Arfield and maybe even James Sands could all come in.

“Upside is still the problem. There are limits in terms of options, but I honestly think Rangers will try to win the game.”

McInnes has been impressed with Ange Postecoglou’s approach this season as they remain unbeaten in the league since September.

But the 50-year-old feels it’s time for a change following their Scottish Cup semi-final loss to their biggest rivals a fortnight ago.

He added: “Domestically, Celtic will see this as their chance to finish off Rangers. It’s an opportunity to win the league and beat their biggest rivals at the same time.

“But they too have to show that they have learned from Hampden.

“Rangers overcame their European rigors to harass and chase Celtic to the point where they couldn’t settle in and play their natural game.

“By the time the game died down and there was a bit more space, Celtic seemed to have lost their way and that’s because Rangers won the initial battle.

“Celtic normally find a way, but at Hampden they didn’t. It takes a lot of discipline and focus to do the right thing every time. Rangers did it.

“Celtic should expect it again and maybe come up with something different.

“I think they’ll be looking to go a bit deeper behind Rangers and mix it up a bit. If Rangers put the pressure on and push their defenders to the halfway line then Celtic need to give them something to think about. . .

“The only way to sow doubt in Rangers is to run behind. For that reason, Kyogo is a definite starter for me at No. 9. He has to play with a bit of freedom, chase and get behind the two centre- back.

“Do that and Rangers will have to think twice about the high press.

“Postecoglou could go with two forwards and play Giorgos Giakoumakis with Kyogo. But that would mean a complete overhaul.

“He doesn’t need to do that.”


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