5th of April 1998, I was 14 years old and about to experience the excitement of my first ever Old firm derby. It was an early evening kick off and Rangers traveled to Parkhead for the Scottish cup semi, after a toss of the coin had decided the neutral venue.
I excitedly travelled down with my friends on the Fort William Rangers supporters club, spirits were high. I had a ticket next to ‘big’ Duncan Johnstone, Pads as better known by the FW loyal. We were in restricted view behind a big pillar in the main stand.
I was confident, I always am when I watch Rangers. The 90 flew in as Rangers recorded a famous 2-1 victory, with goals from Coisty and the Hammer. It was as close to footballing ecstasy as I had ever come and it was that moment that I was hooked on this particular fixture.
Almost 20 years on Rangers once again face Celtic as we head to Hampden on Sunday. Fresh from defeat in the same fixture only a few weeks ago, Rangers must put that behind them and focus on the good things they did do.
We created chances and we hurt our opposition, there is positive things to concentrate on. They hurt us through our own mistakes and we must strive to cut them out.
The selection must be right and we must tighten up in Midfield, even during last weeks victory against Dundee there were times we were more open than ever before.
Graham Murty must listen to his assistant Jimmy Nicholl and trust the advice given, failure to tighten up will leave us once again facing an uphill battle.
Positively for Rangers we do have different options, not least the returning Ross McCrorie. It was his presence in defence to partner Russell Martin which was much more reliable last week, Ross is solid in the challenge and with a turn of pace able to compliment Martin.
Murtys selection will go a long way to deciding just how this game goes from a Rangers perspective. It is naive to not recognise the strength our opponents have, they have an excellent midfield and attack, if they are allowed freedom they will hurt us.
Everyone will have a different opinion on personnel but if we start with 2 sitting midfielders versus a 3, I can only imagine we will be overrun once again.
For me we must be tight and press the game, the second half at New Year being our blue print for success. But we must go in it with confidence and a belief that we can hurt them.
As above, Rangers do have options and Ross McCrorie is fit to play having trained all week without issue. Whether Josh Windass and David Bates make it is up to debate, but both will be in and around the squad if they do make it, this again providing more options.
Graham Murty will go into this game with a relaxation of his own position. Indeed the manager position can now only be won and it would take a massive turnaround for that to be the case.
Dave Kings statement, ill timed or not, points to a new manager coming into the club and his comments confirming what I have long since blogged about. Whether King was right to say what he did and when is debatable.
Our board remain committed to returning our club to the top and will not consider it complete until then. The managers position is the vital component they have failed to deliver on so far. With Douglas Park set to become new deputy chairman, the board continues to work for the future.
Rumours have been in overdrive in the last week with Frank de Boer the apparent front runner for our manager position. It is more likely that speculation is just that, what we do know is Mark Allen is talking to many candidates. But it is all indeed just speculation, when we will know for certain is debatable.
As we touched upon last week the appointment is absolutely vital and the board must get it right.
But that is immaterial as we descend upon Hampden this Sunday, with one last chance to salvage something this season.
20 years on from my very first experience I can only hope we can pull it out the bag, as a support we really do deserve it.
I believe we can win on Sunday but we must get it right before a ball is kicked, just as Walter did 20 years ago.
Ignore the nonsense, the Irrelevant and the noise