Celtic focus their attempts onto seeing off their local rivals on Saturday after fairly turbulent times on their European travels recently, however, their neighbours won’t be push overs in this fiery Glasgow encounter. Can Gerrard and his men avoid being leapfrogged in the table? Will Lancaster offers his betting tips and predictions for Saturday’s derby clash.
Who is playing?
Celtic vs Rangers
What competition is it?
What time is Celtic vs Rangers?
12:30 GMT, Saturday 17th October 2020
Which stadium is hosting Celtic vs Rangers?
Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland
What channel is Celtic vs Rangers on?
Sky Sports Main Event
Celtic vs Rangers Summary
Celtic’s quest for ten titles in a row has come down to the final furlong. After bitter city rivals Rangers came ever so close to completing the feat in the 1990s, the Bhoys in Green will look to one up their arch enemies and gain the bragging rights they have been pushing so hardly towards for the last decade.
However, they will face up against arguably the strongest Gers’ side since their period of domination ended with administration. After dropping just six points from a possible fifty-four between them, this promises to be the first real indicator of which club is better suited to winning the title.
Celtic Team News and Form
Neil Lennon’s men come into this game in a rich vein of winning form having taken 25 points from 27 in the league; however, they haven’t been their usual free scoring selves for most of the season. Despite some dominant performances, such as the 5-1 and 5-0 wins over Hamilton and Ross County respectively, they have frequently relied on late goals to see them through games. In the last month, they were knocked out of the Champions League in a shock defeat to Ferencvaros, and since have only scraped late 1-0 wins against Latvian-based outfit Riga and Bosnia’s Sarajevo on their Europa League travels – games which they would have won comprehensively in seasons gone by.
Their league scoring form hasn’t been brilliant either; the Hoops’ had to rely on a Leigh Griffiths header to bail them out in stoppage time at St. Johnstone before the international break and weren’t entirely convincing against Dundee United in the early knockings of the season. However, they have shown in previous seasons that they always turn up in the Old Firm Derby and will be favourites for this encounter.
The Hoops’ are under somewhat of a virus crisis at present. Israeli defender Hatem Abd Elhamed was told to isolate at the start of the week as a COVID-19 precaution, following the positive test result of fellow countryman and Celtic player Nir Bitton. Star striker Odsonne Edouard also tested positive on France Under-21 duty, whilst playmaker Ryan Christie must isolate after being deemed a close contact of former Hoops’ teammate Stuart Armstrong. In terms of injuries, Christopher Jullien continues to miss out following a back problem; although Albian Ajeti returns to the fore.
Rangers Team News and Form
Rangers’ European form has been much better than their second city counterparts; despite not being in the Champions League, they entered the Europa League in style as they knocked out Turkish giants Galatasaray in a controlling 2-1 win at Ibrox, following an impressive 4-0 win away at Willem II in Holland a week before, in which star man James Tavernier excelled by scoring from the right-back berth in both.
Their league form has been good mostly, too; they didn’t concede a goal in the SPFL for seven games before salvaging a point in a 2-2 draw at Hibernian; however, this and a disappointing 0-0 draw at league minnows Livingston has marred what would be a 100% record after 10 games – and Celtic will look to capitalise on this at Parkhead.
Steven Gerrard’s men have been given an injury boost as Borna Barisic returned to Croatia’s starting line-up on Wednesday night, after he missed 2018 World Cup finalists’ previous two games over the course of the international break. However, the Gers’ injury list still looks lengthy – Nikola Katic is out for the foreseeable, with Gerrard also expressing doubts over the fitness of Allan McGregor, Joe Aribo and Filip Helander and summer signing Kemar Roofe. Alfredo Morelos should be available, however he won’t be back until later in the week after being selected for Colombia.
Celtic Last Five Matches (All Competitions)
- St. Johnstone (A) 2-0 Scottish Premiership win
- Sarajevo (A) 1-0 Europa League Playoff win
- Hibernian (H) 3-0 Scottish Premiership win
- Riga (A) 1-0 Europa League Third Qualifying Round win
- Livingston (H) 3-2 Scottish Premiership win
Rangers Last Five Matches (All Competitions)
- Ross County (H) 2-0 Scottish Premiership win
- Galatasaray (H) 2-1 Europa League Playoff win
- Motherwell (A) 5-1 Scottish Premiership win
- Willem II (A) 4-0 Europa League Third Qualifying Round win
- Hibernian (A) 2-2 Scottish Premiership draw
Celtic Top Scorers
James Forrest (10 League Goals in 2019/20 + 1 this season) – Due to the absence of Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie, the Parkhead faithful will look towards tricky winger James Forrest as their focal point to defeat their noisy neighbours. Forrest, 29, is a one-club man after rising through the ranks at Lennoxtown and is no stranger to this fixture, having played Rangers 23 times; scoring twice and grabbing six assists.
Leigh Griffiths (9 League Goals in 2019/20) – It has been a tough year for the Edinburgh-born talisman for personal reasons, and subsequently Parkhead favourite ‘Griff’ has had little time on the pitch. However, he showed his due worth to the squad in just a matter of minutes in Celtic’s last outing, scoring the winner after coming on as a late substitute. Like Forrest, Leigh is no stranger to the Old Firm Derby; scoring 4 goals in 15 outings against the ‘Bears’ for Hibernian and Celtic.
Rangers Top Scorers
Alfredo Morelos (12 League Goals in 2019/20 + 3 this season)–With each passing derby that comes, there is one inevitable question that always ends up on both fans’ minds – will Alfredo Morelos finally break his derby day hoodoo? The controversial Colombian has not scored in any of his 12 games against the Hoops’, and Kristoffer Ajer and co. will be determined to make it an unlucky 13. However, there is a first time for everything, and there will be no better time for Alfredo to cement himself in Rangers folklore.
Jermain Defoe (13 League Goals in 2019/20) – The veteran poacher has yet to score in this season’s Scottish Premiership campaign after making just two cameo appearances from the bench; however, the experienced Englishman showed last term that he still has goals in his locker as he led Rangers’ Premiership goal tally, and his guile and know-how could prove vital in Saturday’s showdown.
- Rangers won the last meeting between the two sides at Parkhead in December 2019, courtesy of a Nikola Katic header. However, you would have to go all the way back to October 2010 for their penultimate victory at the Green side of Glasgow.
- This will only be the first meeting between the two in 2020, having played each other an astounding fifteen times from 2017 to 2019.
- Celtic’s Greg Taylor will make his Old Firm Debut against the club that released him in 2014.
- Alfredo Morelos will look to make his 100th league appearance for the Gers – ‘El Bufalo’ has notched up 47 goals from 99 in the competition so far.
|29th December 2019||CEL 1-2 RAN||Scottish Premiership|
|8th December 2019||RAN 0-1 CEL||Scottish League Cup|
|1st September 2019||RAN 0-2 CEL||Scottish Premiership|
|12th May 2019||RAN 2-0 CEL||Scottish Premiership|
|31st March 2019||CEL 2-1 RAN||Scottish Premiership|
Will’s Betting Tips
Both sides will showcase their attacking impetus from the first minute; Neil Lennon’s side almost always score every time they play against their rivals, whilst Steven Gerrard has Rangers playing the same brand of entertaining attacking football we are all aware of from his time at Anfield and they continue to improve their productivity in final third. In a cagey affair which could create mistakes, I expect both teams to score here, and you can back this at 3/4* with Mark Jarvis.
Celtic will miss key figures from their star-studded attack – namely Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie – because of COVID-19 regulations, and despite expecting them to get on the scoresheet, I don’t envisage Jon McLaughlin picking the ball out of his net too often. This puts extra pressure on the Bhoys’ defence, and with Morelos, Kent and Hagi all threatening to combine at pace on the counter, I expect Rangers to come away from Parkhead with some point on the board. Rangers Draw No Bet is 19/20* with Mark Jarvis.
If there was ever a player to turn up and defeat Rangers at the moment, it would be Leigh Griffiths. Given his chance to start because of the situation of Celtic’s injury woes, Leigh must seize the opportunity with both hands. It is a rather fitting tale that given his troubles of the past year and dropping from the first-team, his first start back has landed on Derby Day; and he can secure his place in the Celtic hall of fame by scoring against their archrivals on Saturday afternoon. Leigh Griffiths to score anytime is 9/5* with Mark Jarvis.
*Odds as of time of writing (Thursday 15th October 2020) and subject to change.
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