Despite frequent clashes throughout the season, an Old Firm derby between Celtic and Rangers never disappoints football fanatics across the globe. The Hoops have a nine-point cushion at the top of the Premiership standings and a result at Parkhead on Saturday lunchtime would make them outright favourites to conquer successive league crowns.
Celtic are eyeing a domestic treble under Ange Postecoglou. They defended the League Cup silverware by defeating Rangers earlier this year, also a win in the forthcoming Scottish Cup semifinal would restore supremacy over their bitter rivals. That said, the focus must remain on the weekend’s encounter to maintain their exquisite unbeaten run post-World Cup break.
Predicted 4-3-3 Celtic Lineup To Face Rangers
Joe Hart has been vulnerable at times while playing it out from the back, but he made some crucial saves in recent games where the Bhoys were forced to work hard to grind out victories.
Alistair Johnston has shown has qualities since replacing Josip Juranovic as the right fullback. He has grabbed the starting role ahead of Anthony Ralston and is expected to feature given the fitness woes of the young Scotsman. Greg Taylor is irreplaceable down the left, but a late fitness test would certify his availability in the aftermath of a fresh injury picked up against Ross County. Alexandro Bernabei would step in if Taylor fails to recover in time, but the central defensive pairing of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt should stay as it is, even though Yuki Kobayashi and Stephen Welsh are waiting for their opportunities.
Aaron Mooy is back in team training after a brief injury stint, but the gaffer might have to rely on Matt O’Riley as the other ‘number 8’ with Reo Hatate yet to rejoin the group following his pre-international break injury. Celtic have ample options in the centre of the pitch, however, the pace, flair, swift movements and link-up play of the Japanese ace would be sorely missed. David Turnbull and Tomoki Iwata could get involved as ‘super subs’, but skipper Callum McGregor must exhibit his midfield mastery as the deep-lying playmaker.
Although James Forrest and Liel Abada are out injured for the Saturday lunchtime fixture, Postecoglou is blessed to have Daizen Maeda, Filipe Jota and Sead Haksabanovic among the other wide attacking options. Jota and Maeda must operate from the flanks as they are set to whip in crosses and create chances for Kyogo Furuhashi in the attacking third. The Japanese hitman has a majestic scoring record against the Gers and his poaching traits might once again frustrate their noisy neighbours.