What will precede it is likely to be a battle fought through tactical nous and quick thinking rather than blood, sweat and tears. The two men share a footballing philosophy, keeping the ball, passing and moving, allowing the beautiful game to live up to its name. It is a mindset that both have attempted to implement in the opening weeks of the campaign.

Mowbray, the Celtic manager, has guided his new side to the summit of the SPL while Motherwell’s Gannon has remoulded a depleted squad into potential Europa League challengers. Having built a reputation as a meticulous planner and stout tactician, the new Fir Park incumbent watched with interest as Dundee United left Glasgow with a creditable point last month and has drawn up his own set of blueprints as he attempts to secure a memorable victory over the league leaders.

“We have to stay in the game and manage the match rather than the occasion,” Gannon said. “It is a great experience for them [the players], obviously some of the older boys will be able to share their experiences of playing at Parkhead in that kind of atmosphere. For our players, it’s about how we want to play and we showed against ­Rangers that if we play the game and we play our game that we have got a real chance of being successful.

“It is not just the way that Dundee United, who probably had more experience of how to get results at Celtic Park, approached the game and the manner in which the emotions of the game go. Celtic have a very passionate group of fans but it was interesting to see the reaction to the fact that their team weren’t winning. That will be part of what we will set out to do, try to keep the crowd quiet. The only way we can do that is to make sure we are in the position where we are winning.”

The journey along the M74 to Parkhead will be a special one for Gannon who left 
London as a young boy to go to Ireland with his family. The 41-year-old earned his footballing stripes in the eircom League with Dundalk and returned in 2001 to help ­Shelbourne secure two league titles. The former Stockport County manager will add to his small list of visits to Celtic Park tomorrow and is eagerly anticipating the matchday experience.

“I’m a working-class Irish Catholic so it is natural enough that there is a tendency to be a Celtic fan. It is a great club with great tradition and it is going to be a great place for me to experience managing my team.”

While the blood may be rushing through his veins come kick-off, the Motherwell manager knows he must focus his players and help them to channel the emotion of the big game into a winning performance.

“I felt going into the Falkirk game it was important we didn’t overestimate ourselves or underestimate the opposition and that we motivated the players. That aspect of your pre-match build-up is not required in this game. The whole emotion of the game, the magnitude of the task for the players, they know they have to be up for it so that side looks after itself. But I have to make sure that within that emotion and that adreneline they are able to concentrate on what they have to achieve on the pitch and that is what I am going to be focusing on most.”