WRITING the Thursday for Friday column is often a dangerous enterprise, given the propensity for our football teams to be involved in Europa League football. Hence, I am writing this a little blind prior to knowing the outcome of Rangers’ quarter-final second-leg against Braga.

So, if Giovanni Van Bronkhorst has led Rangers to victory, it may seem a little strange on the face of it for anyone to argue that a manager with a team in the semi-finals of the Europa League should be under pressure.

Regardless of victory in Europe though, that is exactly the situation Van Bronckhorst will find himself in come Monday morning should his team lose to Celtic at Hampden the day before, even though the Europa League remains a potential route to silverware.

There is more than bragging rights on offer in Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final clash between the Glasgow sides, or even simply a place in the final, for both managers. But for very different reasons.

If Rangers were to lose their second derby game in a fortnight, it would be an even more calamitous state of affairs than would normally be the case, given the context. The first of those defeats effectively ended Rangers’ title defence, while the second would definitely end their hopes of lifting the Scottish Cup to salvage something from the domestic season.

More pertinently, perhaps, it would also leave the road open to a domestic Treble for Celtic. With respect to both Hibs and Hearts, Ange Postecoglou’s men would be firm favourites to then go on and add the Scottish Cup and Premiership title to the League Cup that already resides in the Celtic Park trophy cabinet.

From Postecoglou’s perspective, the reward then on offer on Sunday can hardly be overstated. A place in his club’s history, no less, after his first season in charge, elevated further still from the demi-god status he already holds among the Celtic faithful.

Postecoglou won’t be counting any chickens just yet, and there is pressure on Celtic, too, of course. But it is of a different sort. If they lose the game this weekend it will be a huge disappointment, and take a little of the sheen off a still successful season.

The key point to remember though is that this campaign has already surpassed all expectation from a Celtic point of view, with many speculating that Postecoglou wouldn’t even see the season out, let alone be standing at the end of it with a title and a cup alongside him.

If he were to add the Scottish Cup to that haul it would be beyond the wildest dreams of any Celtic fan had you asked them what was possible last summer, with a squad stripped of its main assets and a hitherto unheard of manager (at least, here in Scotland) coming in from Japan charged with plugging the gaping hole beneath the waterline.

The only way may have been up from that low point, but few would have predicted Postecoglou could lead Celtic to the heights he already has, let alone perform a clean sweep. The Scottish Cup therefore would be the cherry on the icing on top for Celtic, while for Rangers, it is the whole cake.

Would a defeat to Celtic on Sunday prove fatal for Van Bronkhorst at Rangers? Not quite yet. Not in the short term in any case. But even though I fancy he would be given the summer to fully put his own stamp on the side and perform the probable rebuild required to redeem the situation, redeeming his reputation among the Rangers support would be quite another thing altogether.

The contrast between the situation Van Bronckhorst inherited and the one Postecoglou did is stark.

When the Dutchman replaced Steven Gerrard, the Ibrox team may not have been quite as settled and performing as hugely impressively as they were last season, but it was still a team that had been together for some time, and were four points clear in the Premiership.

And even as a former player, if he thought he might get some time to settle in before fans would rush to judgement he found out quickly that wouldn’t be the case, copping criticism for not intervening in the League Cup semi-final defeat to Hibernian when he was at Hampden on a watching brief.

If that was harsh, it was nothing compared to the glare of scrutiny that came his way after the calamitous thumping at Celtic Park in February that ceded top position in the table, with Rangers blown off the pitch in the first half by their rampant rivals.

There were some impressive results before the next meeting with Celtic, such as the defeat of Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League and a 5-0 thumping of third-placed Hearts, but there were also draws against Motherwell and Dundee United that left Rangers three points adrift of Celtic, and needing to win that next encounter between the teams to have a realistic chance of winning the title.

They lost at Ibrox, and this being Glasgow, it is those defeats to Celtic that will be remembered when it comes to the dissection of the death of their reign as champions.

Lose a third game to Celtic in succession, in a little over two months? That is the sort of record that reads like the epitaph of a Rangers manager.

The game this weekend may be taking place on Easter Sunday, but it would take an almighty miracle to resurrect Van Bronckhorst’s prospects in the Ibrox dugout should that scenario come to pass.