Celtic welcome Rangers to Parkhead on Sunday lunchtime for the last league Old Firm derby before the Scottish Premiership splits. Bhoys gaffer Neil Lennon has stated this week that he believes a victory would almost certainly seal an eighth successive league title for his club. That fact alone should provide plenty of motivation for Rangers, even though Steven Gerrard’s side trail the Celts by 10 points. Even slightly delaying the Celtic celebrations would be something for the blue hordes to celebrate.
Celtic will have to do without Kieran Tierney, who has a calf injury. Olivier Ntcham and Tom Rogic have been training this week, and could be in contention for selection on Sunday. For Rangers, Gareth McAuley is available again after recovering from a hamstring problem, and Ryan Jack and Scott Arfield are also set to return to action.
Celtic vs Rangers Prediction: Celts 2-1 Gers
Our prediction for this game is that Celtic will edge closer to yet another Scottish Premiership title with a narrow 2-1 victory. Rangers are without a win in four games in all competitions, and were recently knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Aberdeen at the quarter-final stage. The Light Blues’ season seems to be unravelling a little right now, and it is hard to see Gerrard’s team having the spirit and cohesion required to win at Parkhead this weekend. It will be close, as most Old Firm games are, but in the end the Celts will do just enough to win it.
Our recommended tip: Celtic, both score
Our featured tip for this game comes from Coral, who are offering a price of 3/1 on Celtic to win and both teams to score. This bet matches our prediction of a 2-1 win for the Bhoys, whilst also giving you a little bit of flexibility when it comes to the actual final score. Rangers will push their old rivals all the way on Sunday, and may take the lead, but we do not think that they have quite enough quality as a side to overcome Celtic at Parkhead. Celtic may have to leave it late, but they will win in the end.
This will be the third time that these two sides have met in 2018/19. Both previous games have been in the Scottish Premiership. The first game was at Celtic Park on September 2 last year, with the Bhoys emerging as 1-0 victors. The game’s only goal was scored by Olivier Ntcham in the 62nd minute, and it inflicted Steven Gerrard’s first defeat as Rangers manager.
The second game was at Ibrox on December 29, in the last game before the winter break. This time it was Rangers who came out on top. The Light Blues won 1-0, thanks to a 30th minute strike from midfielder Ryan Jack.
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Players to watch: Callum McGregor & Alfredo Morelos
Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor captained Scotland for the first time in the recent international break, donning the armband against Kazakhstan. Although that game did not turn out well, it is a mark of how McGregor has matured and progressed as a player in recent years. He has told the media this week that he is out for revenge for the last Old Firm defeat to Rangers, so it will be interesting to see how he performs on Sunday.
When picking out a key man for Rangers this season it is hard to look beyond Colombian striker Alfredo Morelos. The forward netted his 29th goal of the season against Kilmarnock in Rangers’ last league game, with his goal rescuing a point for the Teddy Bears. The Colombian thrives on the kind of atmosphere you find at Old Firm games, but there is always a risk that he will lose his temper and do something daft.