Celtic and Rangers will lock horns this Saturday in the first Old Firm Derby of the season. One of the biggest cross-town rivalries in world football, the Old Firm derby is one of the most exciting derbies in world football. Scottish Premiership missed this blockbuster fixture for four long years as Rangers were absent from the top tier since their liquidation which adds further attraction to this game.
Celtic are clear favourites for the game having real momentum heading into the game. The Hoops have won all their three Premiership fixtures so far leading the table with nine points. On the other hand, Rangers are still unbeaten this season with two draws and two wins but will be underdogs for the game. Mark Warburton must consider changes to his tactics if Rangers have to stop Celtic from cruising towards victory.
Outnumber and overwork Celtic in midfield
Celtic play a possession-based attacking game under Brendan Rodgers. They are direct and front-footed and the only way Rangers can stop them is to dominate the midfield area. For that, Jordan Rossiter’s young legs could prove to be a big weapon. Joey Barton, with his huge experience and passion for the game, is also an assured starter. The two needs to work their socks off to stop Celtic from dominating possession. Rossiter and Barton both are very energetic and can win the ball and they have to ensure that Tom Rogic cannot do the damage with his intelligent passing and movement.
Use Celtic’s vulnerability from the right-hand side
Young Barrie McKay will be a key player for Rangers as Celtic’s biggest vulnerability is the right-back position. Mikael Lustig is not the fastest of players and is often caught off-guard and McKay has to make sure he utilises the opportunity when presented to him. Niko Kranjcar is a player who has to start the game or else Rangers will lack the creativity they need to do the damage to Celtic. With the Croat drifting onto the left-hand side, McKay can out do Lustig and create chances from the left flank.
Keep belief in the centre-back pairing of Kiernan and Wilson
Kiernan and Wilson should be the preferred centre-back pairing for the game considering that they are both young and have the legs to deal with the pace of Leigh Griffiths. Warburton might feel the temptation of fielding new boy Senderos or Clint Hill due to their immense experience at the top level but it won’t be a smart move. Kiernan and Wilson need the faith of the boss and can do enough to stop dangerous Leigh Griffiths from scoring.