After watching the Old Firm Derby I thought to myself who would actually be able to cut it in the Premier League. The quality seems a lot lower in Scotland these days and this could be down to a number of reasons the most likely being financial problems with the collapse of Setanta Sports which promised a lot but in the end failed and the SPL was in some ways bailed out by Sky Sports. However it was a much worse deal for all clubs but at least they still one.
So onto the game and first things first the conditions were horrendous which you could see from all the litter that was being blown on the pitch all through the game and it would have been very difficult for a lot of the best teams in the world to cope with the wind. However Joe Ledley scored the winner with a great header for Celtic which took them to the top of the table which in itself is quite remarkable seeing as though at one point they were 15 points behind their Glasgow neighbours. Now let’s talk about individual players and who has the ability to perform in the Premier League.
Goalkeepers- Fraser Forster- On loan to Celtic from Newcastle United.
Looks very good in the SPL and commands his box very well using his massive frame to his advantage. Many people expected him to be Newcastle’s number 1 this year however a poor pre season making mistakes and just not looking very assured combined with the form of Tim Krul, Forster was shipped out and will probably join Celtic permanently when his loan ends. Maybe missed his chance of playing in the Premier League however he is only 23 and has a lot of time to improve so he could be one to look out for in the future.
Rangers undisputed number 1 for the last six years and is pretty consistent which to be at a club challenging for honours every year you have to be. He could easily have made it at a team fighting relegation in the Premier League but probably thought why swap winning championships for battling to stay in the top division. Showed against Celtic though that he does have problems when under pressure and being unable to come for crosses confidently. Also worth noting for McGregor is he struggles to hold onto shots especially from long range. Could play in the Premier League but is happier to stay at Rangers.
Left Back- Joe Ledley
Not known as a left back in England or Wales with most of his appearances for previous club Cardiff coming in the centre of midfield or on the left hand side. He performed admirably at left back and although wasn’t troubled greatly still had to put in a fair few tackles and interceptions. Was linked with Premier League teams when his contract expired at Cardiff but decided to join Celtic probably like McGregor to win honours. Very good passer of the ball and has a decent cross on him. Could comfortably play for teams in the Premier League and would be one of the better players in teams such as Wigan, West Brom, Fulham.
Always looks good defensively however doesn’t seem to offer a lot going forward and would probably suit playing centre back better. He is getting towards the end of his career and would not be good enough for the Premier League so if he was to come to England it would be for one of the top teams in the Championship and nothing more.
Right Back- Adam Matthews
Very promising young full back and taking his opportunity brilliantly at Celtic after coming through the Cardiff youth system (Celtic seem to like them). Looks very quick and composed on the ball and never looks flustered when under pressure. Defensively obviously needs improving like any young defender with things that come with experience such as positioning and when to go forward and when to just hold your position. If he keeps improving at this rate he will be playing for a top club in England and wouldn’t be surprised to see him at a team like Chelsea or Arsenal in the future years.
His Rangers career has been stop start with injuries and him being dropped for lack of form and it is understandable why he looks solid but nothing more than that and playing for a team like Rangers surely extra is required. Nowhere near good enough for the Premier League but will look decent for Rangers against opposition of a lower standard.
Centre Backs- Thomas Rogne
In his third year at Celtic he looks as though he has not quite hit the heights that were expected but like Matthews is only young and did look quite impressive against Rangers and coped with everything in the air and looked comfortable when the ball was on the floor. Decent performance but unsure of how much he will develop. Could be a good player at Celtic for many years to come but whether he can progress further is unclear at the moment but does have potential.
Can play a number of positions including left back and left wing but with his height looks like he could be a centre half and proved that he can do a job in there against Rangers. He has already had a spell down South with Wolves and maybe it came too early in his career as he failed to make an impression but regained confidence when he signed for Aberdeen and this led to a return to Celtic where he started his career. So maybe he could give the Premier League another try but I can only imagine it being for a struggling team.
Had a very successful spell with Fulham and was very consistent during his time at Craven Cottage playing 115 league games for the club at a time when they needed stability at the back to keep them in the league. With 100 caps for United States and captaining them he brings a wealth of experience which will be beneficial to the younger members of Rangers defence. His time has however been and gone and will enjoy his wind down in the SPL.
The 20 year old on loan from Arsenal is trying to prove to Arsene Wenger he can play in a table topping side. With previous loan spells at Sheffield United this is a definite step up in quality. With over 50 games played in his career already he will surely one day hope that he can play in the Premier League whether this be for Arsenal or another team. Looks very promising but the real test will be whether he can step up and perform consistently.
Left Midfield- James Forrest
One of the brightest prospects to come through the Celtic youth team for many years. He has already played 4 times for Scotland and looks very exciting and Neil Lennon will be very happy to have him at the club. showed a few moments of quality with some nice skills and a good turn of pace. Also in other games this season he has shown he can finish confidently. Playing more games every season is helping to build confidence and is showing his quality. He could make it in the Premier League but has to make sure he chooses his transfers carefully or he could find himself playing for another team in the SPL that is not in the top 2
Summer signing from Hearts can play left back and looks more comfortable in that position. Is a very attacking left back but just doesn’t look right on the left wing. However he has a good left foot and can put in a wicked cross and maybe didn’t see a lot of the ball against Celtic but he can cause problems to many teams. Linked with a summer move to Wolves before Rangers signed him shows that Premier League teams want him but if they watched this game they may rethink. He is a left back by trade and Rangers would benefit more by playing him there
Right Midfield- Scott Brown
The midfielder played slightly out of position over on the right but as always put in a very solid committed performance and may have been the reason why Lee Wallace struggled to have an impact. Linked with the Premier League most transfer windows so obviously a lot of teams have liked the look however his temperament and sometimes stupid tackling may have put them off. For me he is very overrated and would not succeed in the Premier League but the majority of the Celtic fans love him and they watch him week in week out therefore this gives a good indication that he may be good enough for the Premier League
Poor game for him. Is known for his pace and didn’t show any of it, lacked quality while he was on the pitch and was rightly substituted. Being sold as a youngster by Birmingham City could have been damaging but he got his head down at Aberdeen and showed that he could perform at a good level earning him a move to Rangers. Aluko has struggled at the start of his Rangers career being banned for two games for diving to win a penalty but Ally McCoist seems to like him and started him in one of the biggest games of the season. He doesn’t seem to be good enough for the Premier League and if he wants to play in England it will be the Championship
Centre Midfield- Victor Wanyama
Being linked with a move to Newcastle if Cheick Tiote leaves the club which shows that in his short spell at Celtic he is already proving a massive success. Not seen much of Wanyama but he impressed me against Rangers with the way he broke up the play and played it simple so the more attacking players can do their jobs while he quietly but effectively did his. Only joining the club in the summer and already being linked away shows his quality and shows that he may be too good for the SPL. Expect a few Premier League teams to be sniffing around and with Roy Hodgson and David Moyes at the game the Kenyan must have caught the eye
Man of the match in my eyes and unfortunately had to go off injured, it looked quite bad so hopefully won’t be as bad as it looked. In his second season at the club he is showing why Celtic signed him from Maccabi Haifa already winning one SPL player of the month. He looks as though he will have a bright future in the game and will at some point play for a top team in one of the top European Leagues. He is very calm on the ball and always seemed to know where his teammates were. This ability means he could perform in the Premier League and could well fit into the way Arsenal play with him liking the ball on the floor and playing it quickly and accurately
Seems his best years are past him and with him already having a spell in the Premier League with Wigan it is very unlikely he is going to end his career anywhere else but Rangers. Surprisingly when he was in the Premier League he was seen as a left winger or occasionally a striker but now he is a holding midfielder or centre back which shows he has lost his legs. Solid player for Rangers and will be happy with that.
Coming through the Aston Villa youth team and playing nearly 100 league games for them shows he was highly rated as a youngster but his transfer to Fulham seemed to have knocked his confidence after a terrible season there. Signing for Rangers breathed new life into the Northern Ireland midfielder and is producing the form that makes him his countries best midfielder. Comfortable playing anywhere in the midfield is a huge advantage to Rangers and as he has won the SPFA Players’ Player of the year award in 2010 shows that he can hit the heights which could make him a valuable asset in the Premier League. I think given the right club he could prove to be a huge success
Striker- Gary Hooper
Not one of his better nights but he knows where the back of the net is and was very unlucky to be called offside when running through when he was clearly onside against Rangers. With a goal scoring record of better than 1 in 2 for Celtic he is one of the most feared strikers in Scotland. When he is at Scunthorpe he scored a lot of goals which proves he can definitely do the business in England but would he succeed in the Premier League? I think given the right service he would definitely score goals but who would take that risk on giving him the chance. Possibly Everton is they could afford him.
Not a prolific scorer in any stretch of the imagination but he seems to be doing a good job for Celtic however he most definitely splits opinions among their fans with some seeing him as a waste of space and others seeing him as a very useful player. His time at Manchester City was not the greatest but he was quite young and did show glimpses of quality. However he looked like a fish out of water and could not get to grips with the physical game but now he has played in the SPL maybe he will be more suited to the Premier League but i highly doubt anyone will take another chance on him.
The former Burnley player signed for Rangers for £3.25million and Burnley will be very happy with how much they got for him. He looks like he has some ability but that is a lot of money for a player that has never really looked good enough for the Premier League. Whether he plays up front or on the wing his height is very helpful when the ball comes into the box but against Celtic he was too easily dominated and didn’t get a sniff of a chance. He may sign for a Premier League one day but at this moment in his career I cannot see many teams battling it out for his services
He has been a revelation for Rangers scoring lots of goals ranging from the spectacular to tap ins and looks like a player that is far too good to stay in the SPL however against Celtic he did not perform and his first touch was way off. Like Hooper he averages better than a goal in 2 games and has had many teams having a look at him. Leicester City had a bid rejected for him in the summer but I think he can do a lot better than a team in the Championship and teams like Aston Villa or Sunderland could do with his finishing ability.