Although Rangers are in excellent form under Steven Gerrard, Celtic, their Old Firm rivals, have always been one step ahead even after Brendan Rodgers’ sudden exit. They completed a historic treble ‘treble’ under Neil Lennon and have beaten the Gers twice already this season including the League Cup final.
The Hoops have a marginal lead at the top of the Premiership standings. However, a derby win at Parkhead on Sunday lunchtime would widen the gap, potentially drawing an end to Rangers’ title dreams. They have a squad more experienced as well as flexible, and therefore, are holding a firm advantage to secure a result in front of the home crowd.
Celtic Team News vs Rangers
The Bhoys continue to miss out three of their key stars in Jonny Hayes [shoulder], Hatem Abd Elhamed [groin] and Mohamed Elyounoussi [foot]. They are closing in on match fitness, but the game against the Bears would be too early for them to recover and be available for the selection.
Fringe stars in Daniel Arzani [knee], Jack Hendry [hamstring], Jozo Simunovic [knee], Kouassi Eboue [ACL] and Scott Bain [thumb] continue to be sidelined with their respective concerns.
Celtic Formation vs Rangers
Lennon has tried out various set-ups but settled for a 4-2-3-1 eventually that has brought him some exquisite success both at home as well as abroad. The versatility of Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie has allowed the Northern Irishman to alter the strategy depending upon the status of the match.
Fraser Forster’s heroics denied Rangers from attaining the League Cup glory despite being superior earlier this month. The 6 ft 7 in Englishman is tipped to frustrate the likes of Alfredo Morelos, Ryan Kent and Jermain Defoe once again from between the sticks.
Despite an array of injury woes, Celtic have a pretty young yet stable backline consisting of Christopher Jullien (whose header helped the Bhoys conquer the League Cup glory) and Kristoffer Ajer as the central defensive pairing. 19-year-old Jeremie Frimpong received a marching order against the Light Blues, but the impact he has made from the right-hand flank has earned him the limelight ahead of the more experienced individuals. Left-back Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo is set to retain his place due to the calmness, composure and discipline he offers in his game.
Skipper Scott Brown will be a vital cog in the middle of the park with his experience and destructive approach. Callum McGregor would feature as the chief ball carrier from the deep. Olivier Ntcham, having regained a starting role following an array of towering outings, is likely to operate from an advanced slot behind Odsonne Edouard. Ryan Christie has been productive from the right, so is James Forrest, who has been equally impressive down the left-hand flank.
Lennon is highly reliant on Odsonne Edouard in the attacking third, and the Frenchman has been exquisite while spearheading the Hoops’ frontline. He has troubled the Gers time and again and would look to replicate a similar show this weekend.
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