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Daily Record
Daily Record
Ben Banks

Graeme Souness anticipates Rangers and Celtic 'chaos' with Mo Johnston red card drama giving him League Cup reminder

Graeme Souness says his memories of a chaotic 1986 League Cup final tell him to expect drama when Rangers meet Celtic at Hampden.

The pair collide in the Viaplay Cup final for the first time since 2019, when a controversial Christopher Jullien goal sealed a 1-0 Hoops win. The strike prompted a major offside debate and Souness has his own memory from his time at Ibrox and when the competition was called the Skol Cup.

Mo Johnston was at Celtic - prior to his controversial switch across the city - and received a red card, with Tony Shepherd's dismissal rescinded on the park. A Davie Cooper penalty won the day 2-1 for Rangers and despite a nine-point gap between Ange Postecoglou's holders to Michael Beale's Rangers challenger, Souness writes in his Daily Mail column that fireworks may appear. He said: "You may recall that the Scottish League Cup was known as the Skol Cup back in 1986 when I competed for it against Celtic with Rangers. It may not sound that grand but please don't be fooled.

"League Cup, Scottish Cup, Premiership, whatever the competition, a football match between those sides is more than a football match. It's bragging rights, t's people not turning up for work on a Monday morning if their team have lost, it's an enormous occasion.

"Celtic might currently be ahead in the league table but we all know that will count for nothing tomorrow afternoon. The tough part for me before that final in 1986 was knowing I wouldn't be playing.

"I'd aggravated a calf strain that week and as player-manager could only look on from the bench. But that didn't change anything during the week, it was impossible for the week of the build-up not to be totally consumed by it.

"Every back page. Every radio report, every talk show. Rangers v Celtic in the Skol Cup final, from the bus on the way to Hampden, looking out the window, you could see the hatred that was coming your way and the passion coming your way from your own supporters.

"I've played in European Cup finals and enormous games at Liverpool and other clubs but this fixture was always out on its own. Like no other fixture I ever played in.

"Emotions certainly did run high that day in '86. Celtic's Mo Johnston was sent off and Tony Shepherd was shown a red card by the referee, who then retracted it. It was utter chaos.

"We were the side who did the best job of keeping our heads in an extremely emotional match and we won 2-1 with a late penalty by Davie Cooper.

"We'd beaten a Celtic team who were the champions and league leaders. Like I say, the current state of the Premiership table will mean nothing when the action starts this weekend."

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