Steven Gerrard’s Rangers host Old Firm Derby rivals Celtic in the penultimate game of the Scottish Premiership season.
The Glasgow clubs sit first and second in the Premiership table with Celtic having already wrapped up another league title. Rangers, who are nine points back with two games to go, can put a damper on Celtic’s title parade with a win at Ibrox.
Rangers have looked more like the club of old this season and expectations should be high going into next term. Gerrard will want to build momentum on Sunday when Celtic make the journey to the blue side of Glasgow.
The Old Firm rivals have meet three times this season with Celtic winning both games at home. Rangers did pull off a 1-0 victory at Ibrox when the teams met in late December. Ryan Jack’s first half goal held up giving Rangers their first win over Celtic in 15 games in all competitions.
Neil Lennon’s Celtic have won two games on the bounce. They defeated Kilmarnock 1-0 before thrashing Aberdeen 3-0 int their most recent Premiership fixture.
Rangers have been on a roll as well. Gerrard has watched his team win five straight matches by a combined score of 12-1. Four of the five matches ended in clean sheets for Rangers.
In 11 of the last 19 matches between Rangers and Celtic, only one team has scored in the game. Clean sheets have been a common occurrence in recent Old Firm Derbies. Two of the three derbies this season have seen just one team score.
Gerrard has confirmed three first-team players will miss out on Sunday’s game. Kyle Lafferty, Lee Wallace, and Eros Grezda are all set to miss the fixture. In addition, the previously injured Gareth McAuley will also sit out the derby.
Lennon is set to be without Kieran Tierney, Ryan Christie, and Dedryck Boyata. All three have been long-term absentees.
The hatred runs deep between Rangers, Celtic, and both sets of supporters. The bad blood means Rangers will not give Celtic the traditional guard of honour prior to the game.
Glasgow police claim doing so would add even more fuel to the fire of hate between the clubs’ fans.
Rangers’ clean sheet home win against Celtic earlier this season will be the blue print for the game. Gerrard will set his team out to win and to show Celtic what is to come next term.
Like their last game at Ibrox, there will be under 2.5 goals scored as Rangers pick up a victory to even the season series against Celtic at two games apiece.