Sunday 24 March 2019

Riseth: 'Celtic have a chance to erase memories of '99'

Rangers players look on before their 1999 SPL clash at Parkhead, which they won 3-0 to lift the title
Rangers players look on before their 1999 SPL clash at Parkhead, which they won 3-0 to lift the title

Vidar Riseth says Celtic can grab revenge for the Old Firm nightmare inflicted on his side by Rangers two decades ago by clinching a seventh straight title against them on Sunday.

The retired Norway international was part of the Hoops team beaten 3-0 in 1999 as Rangers won the Scottish crown at the home of their bitter rivals.

Riseth was one of two Celtic players sent off on a day of shame for the Scottish game, with referee Hugh Dallas struck by a coin amid ugly scenes at Parkhead.

So fearful have the game's authorities been of seeing those violent pictures repeated, Scottish Professional Football League chiefs have desperately tried to avoid scheduling an Old Firm clash with the title up for grabs.

But Celtic's defeat to Hibs on Saturday means they will now host the Light Blues needing only a draw to wrap up yet another championship.

And Riseth believes that will finally erase the pain caused by his team's notorious defeat.

The former midfielder said: "There was a lot of pressure on us that day with Rangers looking to win the title on our ground.

"In the end we could not stop them and it was a horrible feeling. It was the worst nightmare you could imagine for Celtic.

"Losing at home to Rangers is really bad on any normal occasion, but this was a hundred times worse.

"There was a lot of shame after that match. It wasn't a good performance from us and that is the worst thing you can do when you are playing Rangers at home.

"I remember it so well because I also got a red card. It was just a nightmare.

"After I got sent-off I just wanted to go straight to the shower and stand there for half an hour because it felt so bad knowing they were out there celebrating on our pitch.

"Afterwards I went straight home and just tried to think about other things because what happened was the worst thing ever.

"But thankfully that was a one-and-only. It's not going to happen this weekend.

"The boys can get some revenge for all that by winning on Sunday and creating better memories." Rangers are a shadow of the star-studded outfit that swept to a domestic clean sweep in Dutchman Dick Advocaat's first season in charge.

Now Brendan Rodgers' team are the dominant force as they look to complete an unprecedented double treble.

And Riseth says the Ibrox side have no chance of causing an upset on Sunday.

"Rangers won at Celtic Park back in '99, but that's not going to happen this time," declared the 46-year-old. "Celtic are definitely going to win, so that's good.

"Celtic at this moment is much, much better than Rangers.

"I see almost every Celtic game as I have Sky Sports at home and it's always good to see how well they are doing right now.

"These derbies are always tough games and you never know what is going to happen."

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