Free-scoring Celtic have won all their games so far in the Premiership. A 9-0 triumph against Dundee United at Tannadice is a statement of their supremacy in Scottish football, but they won’t have it easy on Saturday afternoon in the season’s first Old Firm derby at Celtic Park.
Rangers, being the prime challengers, must be desperate for a result against their bitter rivals. This high-profile clash decides the title in Scotland and the Hoops, who dominated the fixture last term, went on to conquer the silverware by a four-point margin.
But the Light Blues are now a rejuvenated force under Giovanni van Bronckhorst. Although they are capable enough to reclaim the Scottish crown, a defeat on the road would be a major blow as it will allow the home side to stretch their lead to five points early into the campaign.
Celtic vs Rangers: Talking Tactics
Ange Postecoglou should rely on his 4-3-3 formation that has worked spectacularly in domestic competitions. He has brought in players who fit in ‘Angeball’ and the gaffer is likely to apply his swift attacking style of play to frustrate the visitors.
Rangers, on the other hand, must maintain their defensive composure against the flair of the Celtic attack. But they must dominate the show in the middle of the park with their Dutch boss expected to field a ‘double pivot’ in his 4-2-3-1 set-up. They lost it in midfield back in February and the manager must not repeat the same mistake when these two Glasgow giants will lock horns on Saturday lunchtime.
The Bhoys do not have major injury absentees except for Yosuke Ideguchi. Joe Hart Joe had a few stitches in his head following an injury versus the Tangerines, but the veteran custodian should be fine to protect them between the sticks.
Celtic Predicted XI
Hart; Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor; McGregor, O’Riley, Hatate; Jota, Maeda, Furuhashi
Rangers will have Alfredo Morelos back in the matchday squad, but the absence of Tom Lawrence is a significant setback given his form and finesse as an attacking midfielder. Ianis Hagi remains a long-term injury, and the likes of John Souttar and Filip Helander are still recovering from their respective problems. Kemar Roofe is close to full training, whereas Ben Davies has trained of late after missing the past few games.
Rangers Predicted XI
McLaughlin; Tavernier, Goldson, Sands, Barisic; Lundstram, Kamara; Wright, Tillman, Kent; Colak
Celtic have a lethal attacking third, but the primary focus will be on Kyogo Furuhashi and Filipe Jota. Skipper Callum McGregor must pull the strings from his deep-lying midfield role and the relentless runs, as well as the pressing game of Reo Hatate, might frustrate the Gers in the centre of the pitch.
Skipper James Tavernier must exhibit his mastery down the wide. Antonio Colak is in sublime form while spearheading the attack, also the driving runs of John Lundstram must be nullified by the Celtic midfield. The swift footwork and directness of Ryan Kent could be menacing from the left-hand flank.
Celtic vs Rangers: Streaming Links
|United Kingdom||Sky Sports|