|Venue: Ibrox Date: Monday, 2 January Kick-off: 12:30 GMT|
|Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio Scotland, live text updates on the BBC Sport website & app, highlights on Sportscene|
There's no question that the Rangers boss is a champion talker, even if it's not clear if he is a champion manager. Excellent and fascinating. It must have been too much of a conversation by now. There is no more time for yapping. The league is as good as over if his team loses to Celtic.
The majority of the heat is on Rangers. He spent a lot of time love-bombing Celtic in his press conference. Make yourself the favorite. He has to try something, it's not new-age mind games.
There is no safety net for Beale's team as they trail by nine points and by a goal difference of 10 points. They are done if they lose. They're probably done withdraw and that's it. When you've got doubts about where your own team is at, and when the team you're trying to chase has won 18 of their 19 league games, a nine-point gap is a chasm.
The Brendan Rodgers team won 18 of their first 19 games. 13 years ago, Martin O'Neil's side did the same thing. Jock Stein and his band of immortals who won every trophy they played for in 1966-67 are the only other Celtic managers with the same record. The Bhoys had the ability to make things happen. If he'd decided to ride the winner of the Derby that year, he would have done it.
The people are slackers.
The Rangers folk have not been affected by the losses this season. The ones where Celtic were about to drop points and offer hope to the chaser across the city, the ones where they've toiled only to strike late and deliver another victory.
Two goals in the last six minutes to beat Ross County, a 90th-minute winner against St.
Since the first Old Firm game, Rangers have mostly been outplayed in the league. The Australians have taken four points off Celtic in five games, but Livingston have a better record against Rangers.
In three games against Celtic last season, Dundee scored more goals than Rangers. In the last seven and a half hours of the game, Rangers and Celtic both scored at least one goal.
Rangers have had a lot of injuries this year. That is true. Helander, who was a first-choice international centre-half, has not kicked a ball in the league. John Souttar scored in a World Cup win for Hearts but has only played one game for his new club. Ianis Hagi is a good player, but he has been injured. Kemar Roofe scored at least 14 goals in each of the last two seasons, but he only appeared twice. Tom Lawrence has only played in five games.
Rangers need some of these guys back but they also need a new look. There is a problem. They don't have enough money to pay for it and they don't have enough sellable assets to fund it. A manager was wise to the opportunities in new markets. The most significant piece of business done at the club was the deal that brought him to Scotland.
The Rangers side needs more creativity, presence and pace to make a difference. Celtic's fast pace proved too much for them early in the season. The Rangers team that beat Motherwell last week was made up of a lot of young people. They were all in their 30's. Allan will be 41 years old at the end of the month.
You would pick Celtic all day on Monday, but there is a feeling that there is no tomorrow in the league if they lose. It's difficult to handle a rage for victory that can come from desperation.
Home advantage is one of the factors. There have been a lot of close games at Ibrox. Celtic Park has been the site of a number of hammerings, the most recent of which was the four-point win. They will win if they match that kind of energy and movement. It's a better side. It would be foolish to ignore the factors. With their backs against the wall, Rangers will have a lot of aggression.
Celtic and Rangers have an aggregate score of 10. Three of Celtic's goals were scored in the first eight minutes of the game. The players have been told. They are aware of what's going to happen. Knowing it and stopping it are not the same thing. There's going to be thunder at Ibrox. The only certainty is that.