Johan Mjallby declares Rangers must be PERFECT to beat Celtic as Philippe Clement faces 'tactical nouse' gauntlet

Johan Mjallby
Johan Mjallby -Credit:Steve Welsh

Celtic hero Johan Mjallby has warned Rangers they will need to be PERFECT at Hampden to stop the Parkhead men securing a dream Double.

The Hoops stormed to the Premiership title on the back of three wins and a draw in the four Old Firm league clashes this season and face their old foes again at Hampden this weekend for the Scottish Cup. Mjallby insisted Brendan Rodgers’ side won’t get complacent – but Gers will need to get smart or they’ll get picked off again. The Swede – who was a rock in the Martin O’Neill era – said: “I would put the pressure as 50/50. I would say Rangers have got more to think about.

“They need to play a perfect game tactically. Celtic are going in with the momentum and they way they’ve been playing lately. They know the get results the way they play. I think it’s more up to Rangers to change something to be able to win the game. They probably need to use their brains and their tactical nouse a bit more to win the game. I see Celtic as favourites because of the current form but it’s such a tight game, the atmosphere is going to be brilliant.

“It’s obviously the two best sides in the country going up against each other again. The pressure is always there as a football player. It’s the best ones who can deal with the pressure.”

Mjallby insisted Celtic will take some beating with Rodgers’s men flying high on the back of a spectacular burst of form at the end of the season that sent the side surging over the Premiership finishing line. Gers could also be spooked by the previous meetings and the Swede said: “The record through the season matters because Celtic know if they are even close to 100 percent then they are more likely to win the game.

“Rangers have more of a headache – and they need to have a really good tactical plan that works perfectly. Celtic can look back at what they have done well in the four games in the season because they came out on top.

“They are going to play a really good side in Rangers. Rangers are obviously really going to be up for it. If you look at the two sides, Celtic is the one with momentum.

“They’ve hit top form. Regardless of what starting XI Brendan Rodgers is going to put out, they look to be in great shape. They are producing good stuff going forward and are scoring goals. I see them as clear favourites for this final.”

Mjallby knows Celts are in a stronger position but he’s convinced his old side won’t get complacent at Hampden – even though the cup is just a bonus after securing league glory. He said: “Playing for Celtic, we all knew – and these players will know – that you are there to win trophies.

“Playing for Celtic is all about winning trophies – as many a you can. Obviously the league is a top priority. This is obviously a bonus for them.

“They should be on a high and they shouldn’t lose any focus. They know what they have to do – bring another trophy into the cabinet.

“So you shouldn’t lose momentum. That shouldn’t come into your mind. You shouldn’t feel that you are satisfied even if you have won the league and it’s not by a landslide like this year.

“The team was wobbling a wee bit a couple of months ago. But they hit top form when it matters like true champions. You have to say that they’ve been by far the best team in the country. But anything can happen in a Cup Final.”