Celtic v Rangers clashes get BEAUTIFUL: ‘There are no more left hooks’ – the Old Firm veteran’s shock claim
JACKIE McNAMARA escaped with a left hook in a powder keg Old Firm Clash.
But the former Celtic favorite reckons there has been a lack of penetrating power in recent derby games.
McNamara insists the on-field malice is nowhere near the level of his own playing time.
The statistics would tend to confirm his assessment, because there was no red card in any of the last eight duels between the bitter rivals.
McNamara was sent off at Ibrox but miraculously escaped an early bath during a fiery clash at Parkhead in 1997.
The defender lashed out at Mark Hateley, but ironically it was the Rangers forward who got his marching orders.
McNamara said: “I think it’s different these days. I’ve now seen games where players are down and rivals help them!
“I recently saw someone get cramps in a game and one of the opponents helped them.
“Nowadays it’s a bit nicer and maybe a bit friendlier. It might be because there are more players from outside Scotland, but it’s not quite the same.
“I remember the one with Mark Hateley. He was sent off that game and I got away with it! Nowadays there is also VAR which is a factor.
“Players know if there is anything at all, it will be noticed.
“I’m sure I would have gotten a few more red cards than I did if we had VAR.
“There are still good duels, but no more left hooks!
“There were a few early reducers back then. It was different off the pitch, but on the pitch you went to war for your team.
“The game is different now. I remember going there and getting two players sent off – Alan Thompson and Chris Sutton. I was also sent off at Ibrox.
“There’s a lot of pressure in the game, a lot of people are watching and you want to win.
“It’s about how you deal with it. Obviously, when I was younger, I wasn’t very good at it.”
Rangers make the short trip around town on Saturday knowing they must win to keep their tenuous title hopes alive.
But history stands firmly against them as they seek to mend a miserable record in the East End.
The Ibrox men have won just six times in 41 visits to Celtic Park and McNamara said: “I think Celtic to have the whole stadium for fans makes a huge difference.
“It’s just the energy, everyone is behind the team.
“They saw there without fans in the last game, they were strong.
“I’m a traditionalist. I think you should have away fans. Celtic have a great record at home and that’s because of the energy in the stadium.
“When the fans were on your side, it felt like a 12th man. I think you can see that. You know you need to raise your standards.
“You know they want you to be up front because the stakes are high. You don’t want to let people down.”
Jackie McNamara spoke at the start of the “eScottish Cup”, which takes place on 20/21. Taking place in Hampden in May, up to 75 clubs compete for a £50,000 prize pool.
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https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/sport/football/10477707/celtic-rangers-nicer-old-firm-jackie-mcnamara-red-cards/ Celtic v Rangers clashes get BEAUTIFUL: ‘There are no more left hooks’ – the Old Firm veteran’s shock claim