Rangers vs Celtic preview, team news, stats, prediction, kick-off time
Scott Arfield and Ryan Jack to miss out for Rangers; Celtic expected to be without Christopher Jullien for Old Firm derby; follow Rangers vs Celtic on Sky Sports Football and Main Event from 11.30am on Saturday; kick-off 12.30pm
Saturday 2 January 2021 00:12, UK
Team news and stats ahead of Rangers vs Celtic in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 12.30pm.
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard is confident he has the midfield reserves to handle Celtic in Saturday’s Old Firm derby despite missing both Scott Arfield and Ryan Jack.
The Ibrox boss confirmed Arfield (ankle) is set to miss at least the next three matches, while Jack (knee) is still not ready to return, meaning Steven Davis, Glen Kamara and Joe Aribo are set to start against the Hoops, with Bongani Zungu available to provide fresh legs off the bench.
Gerrard’s only other absentee is long-term knee casualty Nikola Katic.
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Christopher Jullien is a major doubt for Celtic as they prepare for the second derby clash of the campaign.
The French defender had to be taken off on a stretcher after a painful collision with the post during Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Dundee United at Parkhead. Winger James Forrest remains out following ankle surgery.
How to follow
Rangers vs Celtic will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event from 11.30am on Saturday; kick-off at 12.30pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Free highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms later on Saturday evening.
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Scottish Football Podcast: ‘Title race over if Rangers win’
Sky Sports pundit Andy Walker:
“If Rangers do win it, you’d have to say it would all but seal the title. Celtic surely couldn’t come back from that gap, and this is the one and only time that Celtic can affect Rangers. The level of consistency they’ve had, just drawing twice in the league campaign, is truly remarkable.
“Everyone at Celtic has been really surprised so they can’t afford to lose the game. If they do, the league will be over. Rangers would have such a big cushion and they could then afford the odd mishap, but it doesn’t look likely. Celtic have to go there and win.”
Gerrard: I don’t pick teams on sentiment
Steven Gerrard has warned Ryan Kent he will not let sentiment sway him as he prepares to pick his Rangers line-up for Saturday’s Old Firm clash with Celtic.
“Yes (I’ve got a selection dilemma) but I’ve had a selection dilemma since the first game of the season,” said the Ibrox boss. “We’ve got good players all fighting for positions. There are good players not getting on the pitch who have been doing well.
“That’s the squad you need at Rangers. My job is to pick the team. I don’t pick it on sentiment, I pick it on players I think will get the job done.
“I’ve got tough decisions to make at the weekend but I’m not the first Rangers manager to have tough decisions going into an Old Firm match.”
Lennon refuses to contemplate Old Firm defeat
Celtic boss Neil Lennon says he is “not even contemplating losing the game” as he looks ahead to Saturday’s Old Firm match with Rangers at Ibrox.
“You don’t want to lose it, you want to get a positive result, either three points or a point,” he said. “We are not even contemplating losing the game, we are going there with a positive frame of mind and we have to play, and we have to play a lot better than we did here in October.
“We have Christie, Edouard, Griffiths, Turnbull, Soro, they are all available to play so hopefully that will give us a real spark going into this game. We are playing well, everybody is fit, available and there is good competition for places.
“We are creating a lot of chances which we hadn’t been doing in that [poor] spell and we have been looking a lot more assured at the back, so the players have found their rhythm.
“I wouldn’t say I am relaxed about it, you never are going into a game like this, but we are looking forward to it.”
- The side playing away from home has won each of the last three Old Firm derbies in the Scottish Premiership (2x Rangers wins, 1x Celtic); the home team had won five such meetings in a row before this.
- Rangers have won both of their last two league meetings with Celtic, last winning three in a row from March 2007 to March 2008 (a run of four under Walter Smith).
- Celtic have won five of their last seven away league games against Rangers (L2); before this, they had won just four of their previous 16 such visits (D2 L10).
- This will be the first time Rangers and Celtic will play their first league match of a calendar year against each other for exactly 10 years (2nd Jan 2011) – which was Neil Lennon’s first league Old Firm derby at Ibrox as Celtic manager. He led his side to a 2-0 win courtesy of a Georgios Samaras brace, which remains the last time a Celtic player scored more than once in an away league match against Rangers.
- Rangers have won each of their last 13 league games, scoring 39 goals while conceding only three in this spell. It’s their best top-flight winning run since another 13-game streak between December 2007 and March 2008 under Walter Smith.
- Celtic are unbeaten in 19 away league games (W15 D4) since a 0-2 defeat at Livingston in October 2019.
- Celtic are one of just two sides Rangers forward Alfredo Morelos has appeared against in the Scottish Premiership without scoring (also Dundee United in two apps), facing them 11 times in the competition and attempting 22 shots (eight on target) without finding the net.
- Since his first league appearance against Rangers in March 2018, Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard has both scored (six) and been directly involved in (eight – six goals, two assists) more goals than any other player in Scottish Premiership Old Firm derby matches.
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