Date: 23rd September 2017
Kickoff: 12pm UK/ 1pm CET
Venue: Ibrox Park
Rangers host Celtic this Saturday in what is one of the most anticipated matches in Scottish Football. After a busy summer, both Rangers and Celtic will have their eye on the SPL title this year.
Celtic are the current leaders of the SPL and a win for them would keep them top. A loss, however, could see 2nd place Aberdeen overtake them.
Rangers are currently third and a win for them could see them move to 2nd in the league. A loss could also see them move as low as 7th.
Rangers had a huge overhaul of their squad in the summer. They signed over 10 first team players and let go of nearly as many.
However, despite the huge change in personal Rangers are already behind Celtic in the table. They have already lost this season and find themselves five points behind league leaders Celtic.
Despite the point gap, Caixinha believes his side can beat Celtic on Saturday even with the injuries they have. Saturday’s game is also not Caixinha’s first Rangers match vs Celtic. He was the manager when they were smashed 5-1 by Celtic at the end of last season.
However, Caixinha believes he has learnt since then and has stated he will not be using the diamond formation in midfield that saw them get destroyed last time out.
What is clear though is Rangers have signed a lot of new talent this summer and if they do truly want to challenge for the title, they need to beat Celtic on Saturday at home.
One player who will be key to beating Celtic is Alfredo Morelos. Morelos has scored eight goals in 10 appearances for Rangers this season and will be a big threat vs Celtic.
Injury news: Rangers Captain Lee Wallace is out with a groin injury and will miss the game. Bruno Alves and Declan John are also doubts.
Celtic will be going into this game much more relaxed than Rangers. Mostly because they are now 56 domestic games unbeaten after they saw off Dundee in the cup earlier this week.
Celtic have a plethora of dangerous players they can deploy against Rangers. Including the likes of Scott Sinclair who has nine goals and six assists in 13 appearances for Celtic this season. Another potential threat for Celtic could be James Forest who has three goals and one assist in the league this season. Forest also put two past Dundee in the cup earlier this week which shows he is certainly on form.
As mentioned above Celtic could face problems from Rangers Morelos. But Brendan Rodgers believes that Morelos has a bit of an anger problem and when asked if Celtic players would take advantage of that he told reporters ‘I don’t think he needs any help in that, watching the game the other night against Partick,” said Rodgers. “We really concentrate on ourselves’. This shows Rodgers thinks Morelos will not be too much of a threat as he will become to angry. However, Celtic should not underestimate the goal scorer on Saturday.
Injury news: As far as injuries go far Celtic, Jozo Simunovic faces a late fitness test before Saturday’s clash. Recently returned Moussa Dembele also sat out midweek in the cup. But Rodgers has said he will be ready for the trip to Rangers.
Head to head
In the clubs full histories, the two sides have met a total of 408 times. Rangers have won 159, Celtic 151 and the reaming 98 were draws.
Last time the two sides met was April 2017. Celtic won 5-1 that day. That was also the last time the two sides met at Rangers ground.
The last five competitive matches between the two sides have gone heavily in Celtics favour. They have won four and drew one.
Rangers XI: Foderingham, Tavernier, Cardoso, Wilson, Hodson, Candeias, Dorrens, Jack, Windass, Miller Morelos
Celtic XI: Gordon, Ralston, Lustig, Bitton, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forest, Rogic, Sinclair, Griffiths
Rangers: L D W W D
Celtic: W W D W W
Rangers have improved a lot of the summer and should give Celtic a much better challenge than they did last season. However, Celtic just currently seems a class above everyone else in the SPL and will likely beat Rangers once again.
But it should be a close game and Rangers could come close to nicking it if Morelos is on form and Bruno Alves is fit.
Final score prediction: 2-1 Celtic