Despite having a miserable 2016-17 Premiership campaign in their return to the top-tier, Rangers were believed to reignite the title battle this term and compete for the famous rivals Celtic for the long-lost throne. But the things turned out quite the opposite as they failed miserably under Pedro Caixinha and even his dismissal did not help the Gers to revive much despite a late resurgence under Graeme Murty. Murty has brought back the stability to some extent but remained inferior in the derby clashes when these two sides locked horns in several domestic competitions and Rodgers’ juggernaut had the last laugh time and again.
These two famous opponents will now be competing against each other for one last time this season and a win will ensure Celtic’s incredible seventh successive Premiership title. Their last week defeat to former gaffer Neil Lennon’s Hibernian has made this derby occasion even more special as being crowned as the champions defeating Rangers will be the icing on the cake for the Parkhead giants.
Rangers, currently eyeing a runners-up place, are facing a tough contest from Aberdeen and Hibernian. They, therefore, will be seeking a favourable outcome at Celtic Park in order to retain their European hopes alive for the upcoming campaign.
The Gers will be without centre-back David Bates who suffered an ankle injury during these two sides last month’s meeting whereas midfielder Ryan Jack is unlikely to feature again this term following his knee injury. Custodian Wes Foderingham is a doubt due to a shoulder strain so is veteran centre-back Bruno Alves with a knock. Captain Lee Wallace and veteran Kenny Miller have been suspended by the club indefinitely due to internal disciplinary concerns following their derby disaster a couple of weeks back and are unlikely to feature again in Rangers colours.
Murty has not experimented much with team set-ups and likely to line the Gers up in a 4-2-3-1 pattern at Celtic Park.
Wes Foderingham is a major doubt for the weekend trip with a shoulder injury and Jak Alnwick is likely to be retained in the goal similar to last week’s Hearts tie. The Light Blues clinched an edgy yet comprehensive 2-1 victory at Ibrox and the custodian maintained his composure between the sticks throughout the game.
The injury of David Bates and Bruno Alves will see young Ross McCrorie and veteran Russell Martin occupying the central defensive roles. James Tavernier has been consistent in his right-back slot and young Welshman Declan John will continue to feature on the opposite flank of Rangers’ ‘back four’.
The likes of Sean Goss and Greg Docherty formed an impressive central midfield partnership a few weeks back, but the return of veteran Graham Dorrans saw him slotting in his usual holding role and the impressive display of Jason Holt versus Hearts might lead Murty handing a start to the duo against the Hoops as well. Daniel Candeias and Jamie Murphy will continue to feature on their wide midfield roles whereas Josh Windass is set to operate as a midfield attacker or the ‘number 10’ on Sunday afternoon.
Although Alfredo Morelos is in contention of becoming league’s top scorer, the recent form of Jason Cummings might see the young Colombian coming off the bench later on similar to their last weekend encounter.