Rangers v Kilmarnock
Rangers will have to pick themselves up after a sorry night in Belgium, with the 2-0 defeat to Union Saint-Gilloise leaving an uphill battle for Champions League progression. In fact, the result could have been worse, but the Gers will now be reliant on the Ibrox factor in the second leg.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst was without some key players midweek, with centre-backs Filip Helander and John Souttar, as well attackers Ryan Kent, Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe all absent. Joe Aribo was sold to Southampton this summer, so a front three of new recruits Malik Tillman, Rabbi Matondo and Antonio Colak were handed the chance to impress, though ultimately flunked their lines.
Although the early signs aren’t encouraging, Kent is expected to recover for this fixture, while Morelos is back in training. The Old Firm duo have experienced plenty of European disappointments in recent years, only to then conquer all in domestic action, so a home assignment to promoted Kilmarnock affords a good opportunity for the Gers to get back on track.
Rangers fought back on the opening day to claim a 2-1 victory at Livingston, but they’re a more reliable outfit on home turf, where they’re an impressive W33-D4-L1 in league action since the start of the 2020/21 campaign. They’re W10-D1-L1 under van Bronckhorst alone, winning without conceding on nine occasions, as the sole blemish was a 2-1 defeat inflicted by Celtic in April.
Kilmarnock claimed an opening day point hosting Dundee Utd, though snatched their equalizer in injury time after their visitors had been reduced to 10 men. However, boss Derek McInnes’ recent record against the Old Firm duo leaves a lot to be desired from his time at Aberdeen, as since April 2019, he’s lost 13 of 16 winless encounters, as his side failed to score on 11 occasions.
RANGERS TO WIN TO NIL
Ross County v Celtic
It’s been a fairly serene summer for the Hoops, whose transfer activity has mainly centred around making some loan deals permanent, but with one or two new signings sprinkled on top, they look like they’ll take some stopping. They certainly cruised through their opening day win hosting Aberdeen, with Stephen Welsh’s third-minute opener followed up by Jota’s superb second-half strike.
That brings Celtic up to 27 wins from 32 unbeaten league games going back to the start of October, as it’s clear the transformational impact that Ange Postecoglou has had. They led at both half time and full time on 24 occasions over this spell, as well as in 13 of 16 away matches. They’ve now scored inside 25 minutes in eight of their past 10 league games, as they often go for the jugular early on with a heavy focus on pressing.
Ross County lost 2-1 away at Hearts on the opening day, but while this is no major concern with their opponents finishing best of the rest behind the Old Firm duo last term, it doesn’t offer any particular encouragement of success here. The Staggies have lost 18 of 20 league meetings with the Glaswegian giants over the past three campaigns since returning to the top flight, trailing at both half time and full time on 16 occasions, with Celtic ahead inside 25 minutes in each of the past three head-to-heads.
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