Celtic v Rangers: Alex McLeish calls for Old Firm 'decorum' in possible title decider

Rangers and Celtic fans at their recent Scottish Cup semi-final
Rangers and Celtic fans at their recent Scottish Cup semi-final
Scottish Premiership: Celtic v Rangers
Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow Date: Sunday, 29 April Kick-off: 12:00 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland, text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app, highlights on BBC Two Scotland from 18:00 BST.

Scotland manager Alex McLeish has called on Celtic and Rangers supporters to show "dignity" and "decorum" when they meet for a final time this season.

Sunday's Premiership clash between the two Glasgow rivals at Celtic Park could seal the hosts a seventh successive title.

"They are two powerful clubs, with two fantastic supports," McLeish said.

"But they have to show dignity in these games. Win, lose or draw, they have to show decorum and enjoy the spectacle."

Celtic could have clinched the title in the first of their post-split fixtures but were beaten 2-1 by Hibernian last weekend.

But the scenario of an Old Firm title decider - that Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said the Scottish Professional Football League should embrace but which police were keen to avoid - now presents itself on Sunday.

'You can never say an Old Firm game is going to go to plan'

"We are lucky to have this derby," McLeish noted. "People all over the world want to see this game before a lot of other huge clubs because it is a spectacle to behold.

"If everybody can keep their control, we should be proud of that."

Celtic swept Rangers aside 4-0 in their Scottish Cup semi-final on 15 April and have yet to lose to their city rivals in 10 matches during Rodgers' tenure.

Rangers' James Tavernier challenges Celtic's Leigh Griffiths in their Scottish Cup semi-final
Celtic's Scottish Cup semi-final win was their 10th game without defeat against Rangers

"Celtic have got to be huge favourites, certainly on recent form and the recent result," acknowledged McLeish, who managed Rangers from 2001 to 2006.

"But there is always hope in these games. They haven't been doing very well of late, but there is always anticipation and you are always thinking 'could this be the one for Rangers to get a result?'.

"The odds would be stacked against them, but you can never say an Old Firm game is going to go exactly to plan."

'Hibs are coming up like an unstoppable train'

Rangers responded to their semi-final trauma by beating Hearts 2-1 on Sunday to return to second place on goal difference from Aberdeen, with Hibs - unbeaten in their last 10 league games - a further three points back, with four games left.

The Dons, meanwhile, recovered from a 3-0 Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Motherwell by ending Kilmarnock's long unbeaten run.

"Aberdeen bounced back well," McLeish noted. "They did have Kenny McLean and Shay Logan back and they got the goals.

"That tells you that it isn't easy for a manager if you don't have replacements for your top players when they are out of the team. That is always something that has to be factored in.

"It shows that Aberdeen's experience of getting second place over the last few years is going to stand them in good stead.

"But Hibs are coming up like an unstoppable train at the moment. It is going to be an exciting end to the season.

"It is hard to see Rangers not being in the top two - it is always a bit of a disaster if they don't get that.

"Around the world, Rangers and Celtic are among an elite group of clubs that have to win every single week. A draw is a disaster, a defeat is even worse.

"I can imagine the week manager Graeme Murty had after the Celtic game. But, again, they bounced back with a good result."

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