Both teams were in action on Thursday night as they battled through to the Europa League group stage. Celtic saw their six-game winning streak halted as they went down 2-1 to AZ Alkmaar, while Rangers overcome a spate of Covid-related absentees to pick up a useful draw away at Armenian outfit Alashkert, even if their hosts were reduced to 10 men before half time.
It remains to be seen which players will still be absent for this encounter, but should goalkeepers Allan McGregor and Jon McLaughlin miss out again, Robby McCrorie can except a busier night this time around.
James Tavernier and Ryan Kent are also doubts, though Nathan Patterson represents a good stand-in for the captain at right-back, while Steven Gerrard still has plenty of attacking options to pick from.
Moreover, assistant manager Gary McAllister has suggested that a number of players could return for this fixture, with John Lundstram and Kemar Roofe missing the midweek trip through suspension.
Summer recruit Fashion Sakala isn’t in the club’s Europa League squad and can return here too, so missing men shouldn’t be too problematic for the Gers.
Celtic had the harder test of the Old Firm rivals in Europe, but prevailed thanks to Kyogo Furuhashi’s seventh goal in as many starts.
The Japanese international has been a sensation so far in Glasgow, though was worryingly withdrawn late on after picking up a slight knock and will have to be assessed before this clash.
An error from Jose Hart was an unwelcome sight for Ange Postecoglou given his other options between the sticks, though the former England number one redeemed himself with a couple of crucial saves as the Hoops had to withstand some heavy pressure.
Centre-backs Stephen Welsh and Carl Starfelt were also at fault on the night, while left-back Greg Taylor was forced off injured in the first half to add to Celtic’s defensive woes.
Over 2.5 Goals
This hasn’t been a high-scoring fixture in recent times with nine of 12 meetings over the past three campaigns featuring fewer than three goals, though the most recent encounter saw five as Rangers ran out 4-1 winners and both teams look well-equipped in attack.
Celtic may have registered four clean sheets in their last five appearances, though they’ve ridden their luck at the back and it’s at the other end where they’ve really sparkled.
Rangers were virtually impregnable at the back last term, though cracks have appeared in the new campaign and their only clean sheets across their past seven fixtures have come against Alashkert (twice) and Dunfermline Athletic in the League Cup, who start the weekend strapped to the bottom of the Championship.
Rangers To Beat Celtic
Although Celtic are undoubtedly in a better place than they were last year, it’s hard to ignore Rangers’ stellar record in this fixture in recent times.
They’ve won five of six unbeaten head-to-heads now, with the exception coming on the road, while they’ve won all 20 league outings at Ibrox since the start of last season.
OVER 2.5 GOALS
RANGERS TO BEAT CELTIC