Celtic vs Rangers
Time – UK: 12.30 PM, India: 5.00pm (Saturday)
Venue: Celtic Park
Referee: John Beaton
It’s time for club football to return this weekend following the international break. The players are gradually returning to the respective club training grounds as they prepare to get back to action.
It is a game that gets the pulses racing for each and every Scottish football fan, no matter which club they support.
Since Rangers’ return to the top flight, they haven’t had significant success against their bitter rivals. However, the Gers fans and the players always roll up their sleeves whenever it comes to facing Celtic.
The Hoops, on the other hand, exude confidence every time they get on the pitch to lock horns against Rangers. However, that doesn’t mean they take the Glasgow derby easy in any way.
It will be somewhat different this Saturday at Celtic Park because of the absence of the fans. However, battles will be fought inside drawing rooms and the heat of which will be felt inside the empty Paradise.
So, without further ado let us preview the season’s first Glasgow derby.
Celtic vs Rangers: Recent form
Both sides have been in red hot form of late, losing none of their matches in the Scottish Premiership so far this season. And that makes the Glasgow derby even more exciting as neither Celtic nor Rangers will be particularly eager to concede that momentum they have built over the course of the last two-and-a-half months.
While Rangers are currently top of the standings with 26 points from 10 games, Celtic are just a spot and a point behind, having played a match less.
Celtic vs Rangers: Head-to-head
Total matches: 420
Celtic wins: 159
Rangers wins: 162
The last meeting between the two sides took place on the final day before the winter break last season, with Rangers coming away 2-1 winners from Celtic Park.
Ryan Kent and Nikola Katic were the scorers for the winning side, while Odsonne Edouard scored the only goal for the eventual champions.
Celtic vs Rangers: Team news
Odsonne Edouard, Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed have all tested positive for COVID-19 following duties with their respective international teams while Ryan Christie has been forced into self-isolation after coming in contact with former Celtic star Stuart Armstrong.
It will deplete the strength of the Celtic squad quite significantly ahead of their acid test against Rangers.
Albian Ajeti also remains a doubt after picking up a hamstring injury.
Besides Nikola Katic, who is a long-term absentee, there is no major injury news for Rangers. Left-back Borna Barisic came away unscathed from international duty, in spite of missing two games for his country Croatia.
Goalkeeper Allan McGregor and strikers Kemar Roofe and Joe Aribo remain major doubts for the match, but given the nature of the game, Steven Gerrard might look to a gamble and include Roofe at least in the squad.
Celtic vs Rangers: Predicted line-up
Celtic: predicted line-up (3-5-2): Vasilis Barkas; Christopher Jullien, Shane Duffy, Kristoffer Ajer; Jeremie Frimpong, Olivier Ntcham, Scott Brown, Callum McGregor, Greg Taylor; Mohamed Elyounoussi, Leigh Griffiths
Rangers: predicted line-up (4-2-3-1): Jon McLaughlin; James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Leon Balogun, Borna Barisic; Ryan Jack, Steven Davis; Ianis Hagi, Glen Kamara, Ryan Kent; Alfredo Morelos
Celtic vs Rangers: Where to watch
Sky Sports possess broadcasting rights for the match with live coverage starting an hour before the match. It will be shown both on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football.
Sky Sports’ partnership with NowTV will also allow the fans to watch the game even if they don’t have a Sky subscription.
Celtic vs Rangers: Prediction
Given the fact that this is the season’s first Glasgow derby and both sides being in such good form, they might look to play safe and preserve energy ahead of their respective Europa League ties in midweek.
An empty Celtic Park might also have a role to play in how both the teams approach the game. However, one thing the fans can be sure of – goals and quite a few of them.
Celtic vs Rangers predicted scorelinet: 1-1
Also Read: 5 matches to look forward to this weekend