There wasn’t much transfer business in Scotland on deadline day and Rangers’ signing of Swiss defender Philippe Senderos remained most noteworthy transaction of the day.
The former Arsenal man was brought in as an emergency signing to shore up the Gers’ backline after Clint Hill failed to impress early on this season.
The defender has confirmed that he is fit for the must-win game and wants to play. Still, a trip to Parkhead next Saturday will be a daunting task for the Rangers.
We take a look at what can he bring on September 10th, if selected?
Firstly, you can’t ignore Senderos’ knowledge of the game. He has a solid grounding in positioning as well as the ability to get into spaces where the strikers are lurking and intercept the ball. This is a massive quality to have while visiting Celtic Park.
The main thing, however, will be the experience Premier League winner brings to the fold. He also has several international tournament appearances under his belt.
It’s fair to say that Senderos has been around the block and taken on the world’s best under the spotlight.
Having this experience will help in bringing some stability to the Rangers defence. Too often they don’t hold the same line and seem to be sporadic in their positioning in the park.
With pressure expected to pile on them at Parkhead, Senderos will be part of a back four with two holding midfielders in front of him. This should help with the lack of pace he has.
You can’t expect Senderos to keep up with the pace of Scott Sinclair or Patrick Roberts. However, it’s what he does off the ball that can help minimise the threat they will pose as he’ll be closing up the space and bringing some shape to the backline.
He will be directing everything in front of and alongside him. He’ll also bring some composure to a defence that’s been ropy all season.
That’s if he is fully fit, however.
There is another side to the coin, and that would only come into effect if Senderos is being premature about his fitness.
All players want to play, and the defender will be no different ahead of the biggest game in Scotland next weekend. So, it makes reasonable sense to consider the fact that he may not be entirely honest about his match fitness.
If this happens, he’ll only add to the long list of slow defenders in the Rangers squad who can’t defend properly. This would see Celtic run riot and show no mercy to their rivals.
Sinclair, Roberts, and Tom Rogic all have the ability to cut open the Rangers defence within the blink of an eye, as was shown against Aberdeen in the closing stages of their 4-1 thumping of the Dons last week.
They may target Senderos specifically if they sense a lack of fitness, and they’ll run all over him if so.
With Warburton under pressure to take the game to Celtic after stating his team will attack everyone in the country, Rangers will have to rely on their centre-backs being switched on at all times.
Of course, Warburton may just take the hit and play on the counter-attack, which would suit Senderos more as they would form a compact 4-5-1 and try to stifle Celtic in the midfield.
Celtic will play an expansive 4-2-3-1, which is almost like an attacking 4-2-4.
Senderos will play a massive part in stopping this pace and energy if selected, and his positioning and ability to make last-ditch slide tackles will be crucial for Rangers to get a result.