Celtic vs Rangers: Preview and Prediction

Celtic will welcome Rangers to Celtic Park in yet another Old Firm Derby, with the Scottish Premiership title race in the balance.

Celtic are gearing up for a crucial Old Firm derby clash against arch-rivals Rangers at Celtic Park this Saturday, aiming to take a significant step towards clinching their third consecutive Scottish Premiership crown.

Currently leading the Premiership table by three points, Celtic are on course to retain their title for another season. Meanwhile, Rangers see this weekend’s clash as their final realistic chance to narrow the gap to their Glasgow rivals.

Having secured back-to-back wins since the post-season split in mid-April, Celtic are determined to secure their third successive Premiership title under the management of Brendan Rodgers, who returned last summer. Their recent 3-0 victory over Hearts showcased their dominance, with Kyogo Furuhashi and Matt O’Riley leading the charge.

With three matches left in the Premiership campaign, including the Old Firm derby, Celtic are sitting comfortably at the top, three points ahead of Rangers. Their impressive record at Celtic Park, winning all three league matches since March, further bolsters their title aspirations. Another win on the night will more or less secure them the title.

On the other hand, Rangers have bounced back from a winless run with recent victories over St Mirren and Kilmarnock. Points dropped to Celtic, Dundee United and Ross County have severely handicapped Rangers’ efforts to securing the title.

While injuries have plagued Celtic throughout the season, Rangers have yet to overcome their rivals in their previous encounters this term. With their last four visits to Celtic Park ending without a victory, Rangers face a daunting task as they look to reignite their title ambitions. The Hard Tackle delves into the potential elevens and tactics for this highly-anticipated clash.

Team News & Tactics


Celtic are heading into the penultimate Old Firm Derby of the 2023/24 season with nearly a full squad available, as only James McCarthy remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Callum McGregor, who has been in impressive form since returning from an Achilles injury, is set to once again play a key role on the night. Brendan Rodgers will also have decisions to make in attack, with his frontline firing all cylinders.

Celtic Park will be buzzing and the opportunity to beat their hated rivals while securing the title will be enough incentive to fire the home players. Rodgers is likely to go with his flexible 4-3-3 formation and will aim to take the game to his opponents.

Joe Hart should start in goal behind the back four of Alistair Johnston, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Liam Scales and Greg Taylor. Skipper Callum McGregor should act as the midfield anchor with Matt O’Riley and Reo Hatate alongside him in the middle of the park.

Daizen Maeda scored in the last Old Firm Derby and should return to the playing XI, alongside an in-form Kyogo Furuhashi and Nicolas-Gerrit Kuhn. James Forrest can always be brought on if needed from the bench.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor; O’Riley, McGregor, Hatate; Maeda, Furuhashi, Kuhn

Celtic vs Rangers: Preview and Prediction.


Abdallah Sima, who scored a late equaliser against Celtic last month, will be unavailable this Saturday as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

Rangers are also facing defensive challenges, with centre-back Connor Goldson ruled out for the rest of the season due to a knee problem. Leon Balogun was taken off at half-time against Kilmarnock and might be unavailable to make it to the first XI on the night.

Rangers know nothing less than a win will do and will aim to start on the front foot. The visitors are likely to deploy in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Jack Butland in goal.

The former English international should be protected by the backline of James Tavernier, Ben Davies, John Souttar, and Borna Barisic. John Lundstram and Mohamed Diomande should hold the fort in the middle of the park and will aim to secure control of the middle of the park.

Dujon Sterling and Fabio Silva should be deployed out wide, with Tom Lawrence replacing Todd Cantwell as the number ten. Cyriel Dessers should be a shoo-in upfront.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Butland; Tavernier, Davies, Souttar, Barisic; Diomande, Lundstram; Sterling, Lawrence, Silva; Dessers

Celtic vs Rangers: Preview and Prediction.

Key Stats

  • Rangers are winless in their last four visits to Celtic Park.
  • Celtic are the most prolific side in the SPL this season, having netted 85 goals in 35 matches so far.
  • Rangers have the most potent defence in the SPL, having let in only 25 strikes in 35 games so far.
  • A win on the night will see Celtic defeat Rangers three times in a season for the first time ever.
  • Rangers are the only side to deny Celtic a SPL title in the last 13 campaigns.

Player to Watch

Cyril Dessers

Embed from Getty Images

Rangers cannot afford to be wasteful and will be dependent on their ace striker to secure them all three points on the night. With 14 strikes in the SPL this season, Dessers has impressed but the clinical edge is lacking on a consistent basis.

Celtic’s strength lies in their attack and playing at home, they will push forward. This should leave holes at the back that Rangers can try to exploit. As long as Dessers is at his prolific best, the visitors could reignite their title hopes.


Celtic 3-2 Rangers

We should once again be entertained to a goal fest with neither side backing down. There should be no love lost between the teams in what should be a feisty encounter. The home side, however, have the edge and should strengthen their grip on the title once again with a close win.

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