Jim Goodwin has told Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst that St Mirren will be parking the bus at Ibrox on Boxing Day while joking that he means literally as well as metaphorically.
The Buddies manager had 11 players missing with Covid issues for Wednesday’s visit of Celtic but an heroic backs-to-the-wall performance by his cobbled-together side saw the Hoops held to a goalless draw.
Ahead of the final fixture against Rangers before the rescheduled winter break kicks in, Goodwin was asked if it would be more of the same from his team against the champions.
“Basically that is what we are looking for,” said the Irishman, who will have goalkeeper Jak Alnwick and perhaps two or three other players who missed the Celtic match back for the trip to Govan.
“We would all love to be able to go and be aggressive and press the life out of Celtic and Rangers when you play them and go and try to be open and expansive.
“At the best times that is not possible, when you have the best preparation sometimes that is not possible because of the quality you are playing against.
“But our lads, fitness-wise, are just not going to be as sharp or as energetic as we would like.
“So, without giving any secrets away, if Giovanni van Bronckhorst is listening, then we will be hoping for a carbon copy of Wednesday night and I will be seeing if our bus driver might be able to park up on the 18-yard line along with the rest of the boys.”
Goodwin is not enamoured at the prospect of playing in front of just 500 fans at Ibrox.
Premiership clubs voted 10-2 to postpone two rounds of fixtures but play on Boxing Day following restrictions on crowd numbers, which were announced by the Scottish Government on Tuesday.
The decision was ratified at a meeting of the Scottish Professional Football League board the following day and consequently fixtures from December 29 and January 2-3 have been put back to January 17-18 and February 1-2 respectively.
Former St Mirren skipper Goodwin said: “It could potentially be a disadvantage because anyone will tell you when you go to Ibrox or Parkhead the first thing you want to do is get the fans frustrated in the opening 10 or 15 minutes.
“We know what it is like, if Celtic or Rangers don’t get a goal in the opening 15 to 20 minutes then the crowd sometimes becomes restless.
“So I think it could potentially be a disadvantage for us but I thought the whole idea of bringing the winter break forward was because we were going to miss the fans.
“I just don’t see the point in going ahead with these Boxing Day fixtures with 500 fans in the stadium when you could push it back a little bit and hopefully get 50,000 in there.
“But it is what it is, the decision has been made, we respect it as a football club, we will go do whatever we are asked to do.
“But it will be back to that horrible time again with no fans in the stadium, nobody enjoys it.
“The supporters who are there won’t enjoy it, certainly us, as players and staff won’t enjoy it either. There is no atmosphere, it really reduces the spectacle.”