The result of this Old Firm game could have huge consequences on the title race. A Celtic victory all but confirms another trophy for them. A Rangers win gives them a glimmer of hope at clawing back the gap to their rivals.
The managerial merry-go-round
It’s been carnage at Rangers over recent years, managers have come and gone but this season it looked like they had really found their man in Steven Gerrard. His first senior managerial role, and they don’t come with much more pressure than Rangers. He’s been tasked with stopping Celtic’s dominance, but could a defeat here raise more questions about his leadership?
Rangers finished in third last year and were 13 points behind Celtic come the end of the season. If they lose in Sunday’s Old Firm, they will fall 13 points behind The Hoops. If this gap was to be maintained or even increased then surely Gerrard will come under fire?
They started the season in electric form and have had stints at the top of the table but as the season has gone on they’ve laboured to several disappointing draws which has lost them ground on Celtic. Particularly since the new year when Celtic have been absolutely devastating. After a promising start in Europe, Rangers crashed out at the group stage and everything has gone rather pear shaped for Gerrard.
It hasn’t been plain sailing for Celtic either; their dominance and consistency in recent years has been under the stewardship of Brendan Rodgers who was arguably on the cusp of becoming one of their greatest ever managers as he bid for the fabled ’10 in a row’. However he left to take up the managerial role at Leicester City, leaving the door open for the return of Neil Lennon. Nobody knows more about what the Old Firm means than Lennon himself.
Celtic are the firm favourites at 1.73, with Rangers out at 4.5 to get the win.
Both sides have now gone eight games without a loss. The difference has been Celtic’s ability to grind out wins, whereas Rangers have huffed and puffed to laborious draws against Kilmarnock and Hibernian, Celtic have won seven of those eight matches and have found the extra gear when required, demonstrated by their late winner away at Dens Park.
Rangers have to take the game to their opponents. The pressure is on them to make up the ground but also to regain some pride by getting a win at Celtic Park for the first time in a very long time. They need to be fired up and ready to battle for every ball, like they were in their success earlier in the season at Ibrox. Alfredo Morelos was instrumental that day, but the Colombian hitman is yet to find the net against their arch rivals, he’s priced at 3.1 to break the mould and find the net anytime in the game.
Odsonne Edouard is the bookies favourite for a goal at a price of 2.4 anytime. The value lies in Scott Sinclair and Ollie Burke, priced at 3.4 and 2.7 anytime, respectively.
There is always drama
Celtic don’t have to win this game so it may be a little more tentative than other Old Firms as the hosts look to coax Rangers out and use that to hit them with pace on the counter attack, something we’ve seen Celtic do to devastating effect since the turn of the year when they added a plethora of pacey attackers to the squad.
Booking points is always a tempting market in an Old Firm and definitely in this game. Especially with the pressure on the visitors, if they go down they may get desperate to get back in to the game and we’ve seen plenty of players lose their heads in these games. A red card in the match is available at 3.2, or if you want to venture in to booking points – what about over 60 at a price of 2.1?.
Celtic to win @ 1.73
Over 1.5 goals @ 1.29
Over 60 match booking points @ 2.1
Both teams to score @ 1.85