Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
The first Old Firm league clash of the season takes place in Govan on Sunday lunchtime, with Rangers welcoming local foes Celtic to Ibrox. Both clubs were boosted this week by results in Europe, with both managing to reach the group stages of the Europa League. Celtic overcame Swedish side AIK 6-1 on aggregate, while the Gers recorded a 1-0 aggregate win over Legia Warsaw.
Both teams are unbeaten in the Scottish Premiership so far. Last weekend, Rangers had to work hard to beat St Mirren 1-0 in Paisley, while Celtic had a slightly easier test when they overcame Heart of Midlothian 3-1 at Parkhead.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has insisted to the press this week that his players no longer have any fear of Celtic, after a rough run of recent results against the Bhoys. It will be interesting to see if his words turn out to be true.
Rangers vs Celtic Prediction: Gers 1-2 Celts
Rangers have managed to keep clean sheets in their last four games in all competitions, while Celtic have rattled in 15 league goals already in just three games. This looks like being a game where Rangers defence will have to cope with the Celtic attack, and it could end in stalemate. That attacking power that Celtic have will prove crucial, in our opinion, though. While Rangers will fight hard, and may take an early lead, it will be the Bhoys who narrowly triumph in the end, though they might have to leave it late. It’s a 2-1 win for the away team, in our view.
Our recommended tip: Celtic, both score
Our featured tip for this game comes courtesy of Betway, who are offering odds of 9/2 on Celtic to win and both teams to score. We think this is a good bet as the odds offer good value for a Celtic victory. We also suspect that this will be a game where Rangers’ defence, which has been very strong so far this season, will be up against Celtic’s livewire attacking line-up. We suspect that Rangers will score first and early, and that Celtic will win the game with some late goals. This bet suits that scenario perfectly.
Last season, these old foes clashed four times in the Scottish Premiership. Unusually for Scottish football, they did not face each other in either of the two domestic cup competitions. In the first meeting of last season at Celtic Park in September 2018, the home side won 1-0. The second game which took place at Ibrox in December, it was the Gers who were triumphant, winning 1-0. Celtic got their revenge in March, though, winning 2-1 at Parkhead. Rangers were victorious again in the last game of the penultimate game of the league season in May, though, winning 2-0 at Ibrox.
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Players to watch: Alfredo Morelos & Scott Brown
Alfredo Morelos can be a controversial figure, but he certainly knows how to score goals. Rangers’ Colombian striker scored in injury time at the end of the second half on Thursday night. That goal sealed the Gers’ place in the Europa League group stages, highlighting the Colombian’s importance to Gerrard’s side. He has had a habit of receiving red cards in Old Firm games, so keep an eye on his temper too.
Celtic’s midfield talisman Scott Brown remains a crucial part of Neil Lennon’s team. The veteran former Scotland international is the heartbeat of the team, especially on Old Firm days, when his capacity to wind opponents up can come in very handy indeed. Always a combative player, he is sure to get stuck into the midfield battle on Sunday. How Brown plays often determines how well Celtic play on these days. Expect him to set the tempo.