FORMER Celtic striker John Hartson thinks it is “just a nonsense”.

Brendan Rodgers, the ex-Parkhead manager, disagrees. He feels his old club should show “humility and class”.

John Hughes, the Ross County head coach who spent a season in the East End of Glasgow during his playing days, concurs with Rodgers. He believes it is an “unwritten rule”.

Glasgow Times:

It is fair to say whether Rangers should be given a guard of honour by their city rivals on Sunday when they take to the field in the Old Firm game, their first domestic outing since winning the Scottish title, has sharply divided opinion in the game.

Standing and applauding opponents who have just be crowned champions before kick-off is a tradition in football.

The players who form two lines to clap their adversaries onto the pitch may not always especially enjoy the experience.

Glasgow Times:

Gary Neville, the former Manchester United and England defender who is now a pundit for Sky Sports, certainly wasn’t a particular fan of the gesture.

He was one of those who formed a guard of honour for Chelsea at Old Trafford in 2005 after Jose Mourinho’s team had lifted the Premier League.

READ MORE: Why Steve Clarke didn't ask on-form Allan McGregor to rethink Scotland retirement - or call up Nathan Patterson

"It’s like your Mrs leaving you . . . and being asked to hang the new bloke’s clothes up in your old wardrobe,” he once posted on Twitter.  

However, it is considered by many to be an act of sportsmanship, a sign of respect, an integral part of football.

Glasgow Times:

In Glasgow, of course, nothing is ever straightforward.

When Celtic played at Ibrox eight days after clinching their eighth successive top flight trophy two years ago their hosts declined to recognise their achievement in the time-honoured fashion.

READ MORE: Why Celtic must hand their new sporting director a seat on the Parkhead board - and may promote Nick Hammond

They had clapped Hearts onto the pitch in Govan after the Tynecastle club had beaten them to the Championship back in 2015. But in 2019 there was nothing. 

Steven Gerrard, the Rangers manager, later revealed the call was made by the club hierarchy, not by him.

Glasgow Times:

For a large number of Celtic supporters, there is no way that Scott Brown and his team mates should even consider it this weekend because of that snub.

John Kennedy, the interim Celtic manager, was non-committal when he was grilled about the subject following the 0-0 draw with Dundee United at Tannadice earlier this month that handed Rangers the Premiership. "I'm not interested in that right now," he said.

READ MORE: Celtic and Rangers can't allow Scotland's under-pressure politicians to use them as convenient whipping boys

It will be fascinating, then, to see what happens at Parkhead come noon on Sunday. Kennedy will doubtless speak to Brown and his senior players about it. He could well leave the decision down to them.

But the Scot has been heavily influenced by both Rodgers and his successor Neil Lennon during the time that he has spent in the dugout as a coach and assistant at Parkhead. And the Northern Irishmen are both in favour.

Glasgow Times:

“It’s a break from tradition,” said Lennon after the Rangers game at Ibrox two years ago. “I think we would have done it if the shoe had been on the other foot. But it’s not a major issue.

“It would have been a touch of class if they did it. I’m disappointed they are not. Celtic would have done it.”

READ MORE: Fergal Harkin 'well-equipped' for Celtic sporting director job after 'unique' Manchester City role

Kennedy could potentially be wary of a backlash among fans. He is one of those who has been tipped to be appointed manager on a permanent basis this summer. He may be concerned about it turning some season ticket holders against him and harming his, albeit slim, chances.

Yet, a fair few of their less partisan devotees will, at the same time, doubtless approve. It is a quandry the former defender could do without as he prepares to take charge of a side in a Glasgow derby match for the first time.

Glasgow Times:

There is no doubt that Rangers followers, still on a high after Steven Gerrard’s team ended 10 years without a major honour, will wallow in the moment if Celtic do lay on a guard of honour.

It will, too, be painful for supporters of the quadruple treble winners, whose 10-In-A-Row hopes ended in bitter disappointment in the 2020/21 campaign, to witness.

However, it would also give them the chance, after eight thoroughly wretched and miserable months, to lord it over their counterparts a little as well, to claim the moral high ground, to secure bragging rights before a ball has even been kicked.    

Glasgow Times:

You can imagine the comments. We’re a classy club even if you aren’t. We know how to conduct ourselves in a dignified manner even if you don’t. We might have lost the league but we’re still superior to you. One-upmanship is king when it comes to the Old Firm.  

Should Celtic bring their three game losing run in the world-famous fixture to an end thereafter they will, despite relinqushing their grip on the Premiership trophy and missing out on the chance to make Scottish football history, have plenty to gloat about on Sunday evening.