The Glasgow Rangers are yet to defeat Celtic so far this season. They were close to doing so last month, but a late equalizer from Kyogo Furuhashi spoiled their party at Ibrox. Both the Old Firm rivals have accumulated identical results in the aftermath of the winter break. However, it remains to be seen who blinks first when these two heavyweights clash heads at Hampden Park with a view to conquering the Scottish League Cup silverware.
Celtic, the defending champions, were denied a domestic treble last season following a Scottish Cup semifinal defeat against the Light Blues. The latter went on to win the trophy defeating Hearts in the final and they could attain another Cup glory on Sunday evening even though the Hoops hold an edge for their depth as well as quality across the pitch.
Rangers vs Celtic: Talking Tactics
Despite sticking to Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s 4-2-3-1, Gers chief Michael Beale has changed the approach from defence to attack. The Dutch boss used to face criticism for his defensive approach, but his successor is working towards implementing a free-flowing, aggressive and eye-catching football. They must not alter their strategy against the Glasgow rivals.
Celtic, on the other hand, are relentless in domestic competitions. They are firm favourites to win the league, also their swift passing game under Ange Postecoglou deserves a lot of plaudits. The Aussie chief should deploy his men in a 4-3-3 set-up, a formation that suits his style of play where the defenders play it out from the back and the midfielders carry the ball forward from the deep with swift one-twos and passing variation.
Rangers have a triple injury blow ahead of the clash. It was initially thought that John Lundstram, Ryan Jack and Malik Tillman would recover in time, but they are now facing a race against the clock to be fit for the final showdown. Filip Helander, John Souttar, Ridvan Yilmaz and Tom Lawrence are working on regaining match fitness, and so is Scott Arfield, who remains sidelined with a fitness issue. Steven Davis is ruled out for the season after rupturing his cruciate ligament.
Rangers Predicted XI
McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Davies, Barisic; Raskin, Kamara; Sakala, Cantwell, Kent; Morelos.
The Celts were sweating over the availability of Aaron Mooy and David Turnbull who missed their recent win against Aberdeen. But the pair should return to action as revealed by Postecoglou. They do not have any significant absentees apart from the forgotten man James McCarthy.
Celtic Predicted XI
Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor; McGregor, Mooy, Hatate; Jota, Maeda, Furuhashi
Skipper James Tavernier must lead by example with his marauding runs, crosses, set-piece expertise and attacking attributes. Todd Cantwell needs to step up and meet the expectations, also Ryan Kent should cause menace in the Celtic defence with his flair, prowess and dribbling trait.
Kyogo Furuhashi has troubled the Gers time and again since his arrival at Parkhead. Also, the creative spark of Aaron Mooy, the work rate of Reo Hatate and the composure of Callum McGregor should help them dominate the midfield battle.
Rangers vs Celtic: Streaming Links
|United Kingdom||Sky Sports|