I’ve played in eight Old Firm games and won seven, says the Rangers hero – but the day we let Celtic off the hook still pisses me off

RANGERS’ recent record at Parkhead is brutal – but Kevin Thomson knows better than most how to buck a two-decade trend.

The Ibrox side have won just SIX of their last 41 visits to the east side of the city.

Kevin Thomson takes on Shunsuke Nakamura as Rangers won 4-2


Kevin Thomson takes on Shunsuke Nakamura as Rangers won 4-2Photo credit: SNS
Kevin Thomson was a cult hero in this game


Kevin Thomson was a cult hero in this gameCredit: Kenny Ramsay

However, former Gers midfielder Thommo was involved in two of those triumphs, so he is as qualified as anyone to speak about what it takes.

Thomson played a surprising 1-0 win in March 2007 when Ugo Ehiogu scored a stunning overhead kick.

He was also a key man the following year as Walter Smith’s side gave the Hoops a 4-2 hammering.

But 15 years later, it still annoys him that Rangers didn’t win by a bigger margin that day.

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He told SunSport: “I played in eight Old Firm games and was lucky enough to win seven of them.

“Pedro Mendes pulled off an absolute screamer in the 4-2 game and Kenny Miller also scored twice. Big Daniel Cousin also scored that day and went on a rampage.

“He was sent off in the second half and if he had stayed in the park there would have been a few more for sure.

“Unlike the 2007 game, when we were lucky enough to win, we completely dominated Celtic.

“It was one of those days when everything clicked and the score should have been even clearer.

“I remember Shunsuke Nakamura scoring a consolation in the last minute to make it look a lot closer than it was.

“I still feel like we let them off the hook that day. It’s not very often that you go there and totally dominate.

“The key to winning an Old Firm game is faith, and there was no shortage that day.

“But certainly no Rangers player in their right mind would ever show up there not believing they can win the game.

“It’s about believing in yourself, even when nobody else does.

“Likewise, one should never have any illusions about how difficult it will be there.

“Teams like Barcelona and Manchester United have found in the past that it’s not easy to win at Celtic Park.”

Circumstances surrounding tomorrow’s derby echoed as Gers made the 2007 tour of the city.

The Celts already had the title firmly in their pockets and the Ibrox men were written off as hopeless three days after a 1-1 Uefa Cup draw against Osasuna.

Thomson recalled: “Ugo scored a wonderful goal but honestly it was a blast.

“We were in transition at the time as Walter Smith had just returned to Ibrox. Celtic were the better team that day but we just found a way.

“It was about finding a way to break their stranglehold as they were dominant at the time.

“That’s true again this weekend and although Rangers aren’t a million miles behind Celtic are still ahead. They are the better team at the moment.

“For Mick Beale and Gers it’s about building momentum and making sure you still have a chance in the league.

“Obviously it’s a long road and the chances of Celtic moving up any further are slim. But as a player, you can’t afford to think like that.

“There’s also a huge Scottish Cup game coming up and Rangers don’t want to go into that after losing.”

Thomson had an 87.5 percent win rate in his matches with the hoops.
But it was the only loss, a 2-1 defeat at Parkhead in May 2010, that stuck in his memory more.

He added: “We had the league in our pockets weeks before but that defeat still hurt

“Celtic did a victory lap after the game and I remember sitting on the team bus after feeling so down.

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“On the bus you could hear a pin drop because we all knew that losing an old firm game anytime even if we were champions is not acceptable.

“It’s the kind of mentality you need if you want to get the upper hand against Celtic most of the time.”

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