Celtic v Rangers late team news, predicted XIs: Key men out as both managers face major dilemma

Celtic take on Rangers today in a match that could decide the Scottish Premiership title race.

Ange Postecoglou’s side can move into an almost unassailable lead with a victory at Celtic Park as it would leave them nine points clear of Rangers with a vastly superior goal difference with just three games remaining.

While Rangers need to win to keep their feint title hopes alive, the fixture comes amidst a Europa League Cup semi-final, just three days after a 1-0 defeat to RB Leipzig in the first leg in Germany ahead of the second leg at Ibrox this coming Thursday.

Rangers won the last Old Firm clash in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden just two weeks ago with a Carl Starfelt own goal in the second half of extra-time securing a 2-1 win after Scott Arfield had cancelled out Greg Taylor’s opener in normal time.

Celtic have edged the league head-to-heads having won the last two fixtures, coming from behind to claim a 2-1 win at Ibrox last month after a 3-0 win at Celtic Park in February, while Rangers edged the first encounter of the season 1-0 at Ibrox in August.

Celtic team news

Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton will be back available in a boost to the home side’s midfield options. The Israel international has sat out recent games with a fitness issue but he returned to training on Friday.

Celtic have suffered a blow in defence, though, with right-back Josip Juranovic ruled out with the injury he picked up in the recent Scottish Cup defeat by Rangers at Hampden.

Rangers defender Calvin Bassey Celtic winger Jota in action during the Scottish Cup semif-inal at Hampden Park on April 17. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Ange Postecoglou’s main selection dilemma centres around who starts up front. With his two main strikers fully fit together for the first time, the Celtic boss must decide whether to utilise Kyogo Furuhashi, or Giorgos Giakoumakis, or both in the starting line-up.

Rangers team news

Gers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst will assess his squad ahead of the trip to Celtic Park.

The Light Blues are in recovery mode since the 1-0 defeat by RB Leipzig in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final on Thursday night.

With the Germans visiting Ibrox on Thursday, Rangers could look to rest some players and make sure they are as fresh as possible for a rare chance to reach a European final.

Rangers attacking options are once again limited with striker Kemar Roofe (knee) and midfielder Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) remaining out, while Alfredo Morelos (thigh) and Ianis Hagi (knee) are out for the season.

It leaves van Bronckhorst with a tricky decision over who to play through the middle. Joe Aribo was deployed in a false nine role against RB Leipzig with Fashion Sakala and fit-again Cedric Itten the other two options.

Probable line-ups

Celtic (4-3-3): Hart; Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor; Hatate, Rogic, C McGregor; Jota, Furuhashi, Maeda.

Rangers (4-2-3-1): A McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Bassey, Barisic; Kamara, Lundstram; Wright, Arfield, Kent; Sakala.

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