Celtic’s disastrous league run shattered their ‘ten in a row’ mission, but the 6-0 weekend win over Livingston has uplifted the spirit ahead of locking horns with Rangers at Ibrox. The Scottish Cup hands them an opportunity to salvage something from this dreadful campaign and the Hoops, thus, must seek revenge en route to a successful title defence.
Rangers, on the other hand, are still unbeaten in the Premiership. They maintained sheer supremacy over their bitter rivals and should repeat the same in this fourth round fixture. The Gers suffered a shocking League Cup exit following a defeat against St Mirren and Steven Gerrard, therefore, must improve his side’s Cup form by making further progress.
Predicted 4-2-3-1 Celtic Lineup To Face Rangers
Celtic have found some stability between the sticks with Scott Bain featuring as the ‘number 1’ ahead of Vasilis Barkas. The latter joined last summer with a big reputation but eventually lost his place following an array of erroneous outings. John Kennedy has not restored him either and the Greek international should not be risked in such a high-voltage encounter.
Jonjoe Kenny has been a smart winter inclusion and the Everton loanee must keep his place down the right-hand side of the Bhoys’ backline. The emergence of Stephen Welsh is a massive boost and his partnership with Kristoffer Ajer has brought back stability in the heart of defence. Diego Laxalt had a decent derby outing a month ago and the gaffer should bank on the Uruguayan’s experience even though Greg Taylor had a great outing against Livi.
Skipper Scott Brown is aiming a glorious culmination of his illustrious Celtic career. The veteran Scotsman would do his best to break down Rangers’ midfield dominance and the versatility of Callum McGregor should see the Hoops tweaking the set-up if needed. The duo, however, must start as a double pivot to add more depth as well as balance centrally.
The return of James Forrest has added more firepower high up the pitch and the Scotland international must feature from his usual right-hand flank ahead of Ryan Christie. David Turnbull would offer creativity from an attacking midfield slot, whereas in-form Mohamed Elyounoussi should operate from the left and partner Odsonne Edouard upfront as he did in the previous Old Firm derby.
Edouard, irreplaceable for his poaching traits, work rate and link-up play, should spearhead the attack. None of Leigh Griffiths, Albian Ajeti or Patryk Klimala has done enough to cement a first-team status and the pressure would be immense on the French hitman amid interest from Premier League hotshots over a potential summer transfer.