Celtic versus Rangers
There is no such game in British football. In fact, the Old Firm Derby has another advantage. It’s more than a soccer game. It is an exhibition of all the religious, political and social divisions that have divided Glasgow, and this Saturday’s game promises to be the most compelling of recent times.
Of course, the lead of this particular Old Firm derby is somewhat clouded by the lack of fans in the stands due to the current Covid-19 regulations, but there is still a lot at stake for Celtic and Rangers. Indeed, one could argue that there has not been so much at stake for either side in a generation.
The Rangers impressed as Borna Barisic, Ryan Kent and James Tavernier reached new heights. Steven Gerrard’s side have lost points at Hibernian and Livingston but have found top form in sweeping wins against Dundee United, Motherwell, St. Johnstone and St. Mirren.
Gerrard has previously lamented his team’s lack of killer instinct, but they seem to be sharper on that this season. Celtic, on the other hand, has worked through almost every match they have played. Neil Lennon had to wait until the 90th minute to break through against St. Johnstone in his team’s last game before international break, and this wasn’t the first time Celtic left it late to get the job done.
Injuries and self-isolation spells have bothered Celtic, but Lennon and his players are nervous at the moment. It was similar last season when the hoops waited until after Christmas to be in top form, but the longer they work through the games, the greater the discomfort at the club.
One of Gerrard’s greatest successes as Rangers boss so far has been breaking down the mental barrier of the Ibrox team when playing against Celtic. Last season, for example, the Rangers took their first league win at Celtic Park for nine years. In the previous season, they got the title race under control with a derby win before the winter break.
Celtic v Rangers Betting Tips
Kent found the net in the last Old Firm derby and with the English winger in good shape this season (four goals in 10 games) he is a good bet to score at 14/5 this Saturday (anytime). Tavernier also comes into this derby with eight goals in his last eight games. The Rangers captain is 7/2 to make those nine out of nine.
Celtic have inflicted some humiliating derby defeats to their fiercest rivals in recent years, but those days seem to be in the past. These are two well-coordinated teams that can beat each other. Celtic have the lower roster but Rangers have shown a balance this season that has escaped their rivals.
Despite all of their recent troubles, Celtic have still scored at least three goals in their last eight home games and scored three or more goals 9/2 on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Rangers win 4-1 against zero, which Gerrard’s side have done seven times out of ten in the Scottish Premier League this season.
A close game favors the Rangers while Celtic will certainly hope for an open, free-flowing encounter. Ryan Christie’s absence could prove costly to the Hoops as the 25-year-old is one of the few consistent sources of creativity this season. The responsibility rests with Mohamed Elyounoussi and maybe even David Turnbull to make a difference.
This is going to be an Old Firm derby like no other, but with Celtic chasing a historic 10-in-a-row and Rangers being the only ones who can stop them, there’s more than normal to keep interest. There may not be fans at Celtic Park, but the result of this derby will still make a lot of noise.
Forecast: Celtic 1-1 Rangers (Sky Bet Quoten: 11/2)
James Tavernier Anytime Goalscorer – 7/2
Both teams score one goal and under 3.5 goals in the game – 2/1
Leigh Griffith’s final goalscorer – 5/1
Odds correct at 1530 BST (10/14/20)
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