Celtic v Rangers predictions - Scotsman writers deliver verdict on who will win Old Firm showdown

Scotsman writers give their Old Firm predictions as Celtic and Rangers prepare for their latest Scottish Premiership showdown at Parkhead this Saturday lunchtime ...

Joel Sked: Celtic will take another step towards retaining the Premiership title. While there may be doubts over a couple of key players, Aaron Mooy's return will help bring a bit more vibrancy to the midfield after the win over Ross County. With Celtic Park completely full with home fans, I expect quite an intense start from the home side who haven't been at their most fluid best of late. This is an occasion which has seen the team really kick on, especially at home to their rivals. It wouldn't be hugely surprising if the game is done and dusted by half-time. However, Rangers are making progress and it's in these games where Michael Beale is going to be judged now having had little issue against other teams in the league. If Greg Taylor is out injured that is an avenue where they could get some joy. Once again, however, they need to have a good day and Celtic a bad day. That's unlikely. Celtic 2 Rangers 0.

Moira Gordon: There is always talk of the form book going out the window when it comes to derby fixtures but the fact is both teams go into this one in pretty convincing form. Neither side has dropped any league points since they last met, at Ibrox, on January 2. But in the most recent head-to-head, in the League Cup final just over a month ago, Ange Postecoglou’s men did come out on top and with this one at a partisan Celtic Park, with no away fans to gee on Rangers, it looks likely that they will again have too much for Michael Beale’s men. This Celtic side all but have the Premiership title (and, they hope, the second part of a domestic treble) in their grasp and they know all three points will virtually see them over the line. With their greater movement, attacking prowess, and counter-attacking speed it is hard to see how the away side could get the better of them. Celtic 3 Rangers 1.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Andrew Smith: So much suggests Celtic will sweep Rangers aside. In their home environs, Ange Postecoglou’s men have won every one of their 15 league encounters, scoring at least two goals every time. As has never happened before in the modern age. They whalloped their ancient adversaries 4-0 on their last visit to the east end, have only failed to win once in the domestic domain - the 2-2 at Ibrox - in the past six months. They proved too much for Michael Beale’s men in the Viaplay Cup fnal five weeks ago and possess the superior players. Yet, though this fixture is being presented as a possible title decider, with Celtic’s nine-point lead at the 30 game-mark the title is already decided - it is Postecoglou’s for a second consecutive season. Only a draw is required for them to rubber-stamp the fact and it is a result they would settle for. Indeed, the scenario is similar to the one last May when Rangers came to Parkhead and had to win to breathe life into the championship tussle, but departed with a 1-1 that was insufficient but represented credibility. More than anything, that is what Beale’s men will be straining for from this match-up. It is no more than a hunch that with their league form also outstanding - that derby draw their only slip in 15 outings - they could pull it off. Injury has deprived Celtic of key performer Reo Hatate which will rob Celtic of midfield drive. Greg Taylor has been declared fit but even with the Scotland full-back's presence, Fashion Sakala has been able to use his pace to good effect in recent encounters between the pair. Celtic 2 Rangers 2

Rangers' Fashion Sakala and Celtic's Greg Taylor compete for possession during the last meeting between the sides in the Viaplay Cup final at Hampden on February 26.  (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)Rangers' Fashion Sakala and Celtic's Greg Taylor compete for possession during the last meeting between the sides in the Viaplay Cup final at Hampden on February 26.  (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Rangers' Fashion Sakala and Celtic's Greg Taylor compete for possession during the last meeting between the sides in the Viaplay Cup final at Hampden on February 26. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Mark Atkinson: Rangers simply have to leave Celtic Park with all three points if they are to have any chance of overturning the nine-point gap between the two teams. Michael Beale is doing a fine job at Ibrox since his winter arrival and there is no doubt they have improved markedly under his watch. Watching Celtic's past few matches, they haven't quite been at their free-flowing best. They missed Reo Hatate and Aaron Mooy in Dingwall last weekend - the Australian should be back, the Japanese is doubtful - and their midfield isn't quite as dominating without them. Even still, at home, knowing what is at stake, Celtic will probably have enough to prevail. The pace, movement and creativity of Jota, Daizen Maeda and Kyogo Furuhashi will stretch Rangers' defence, and I'm not sure the visitors have enough ballast and goals in their armoury to respond. Celtic 2-1 Rangers.

Alan Pattullo: What are Rangers to do? Clearly they have to win but they can also ill-afford another rinsing of the sort suffered earlier in the season at Celtic Park, prior to Michael Beale's return. The three points required would surely require deploying the likes of Todd Cantwell, Fashion Sakala, Ryan Kent and Malik Tillman, the player most likely to make something happen. But Beale cannot fit them all in from the start, surely. He also has to pick between Alfredo Morelos and Antonio Colak up front, with the former likely to be given the nod. There’s little to suggest Beale is going to suddenly produce a formula where Rangers are transformed from a slightly one-paced unit with several skilled players who might or might not turn it on on the day into a side that can inflict a first defeat of the year on Celtic. Particularly at such a partisan Celtic Park. Nicolas Raskin's availability after injury is one bonus. But is it enough? Celtic 2 Rangers 1.

Matthew Elder: Michael Beale has improved Rangers enough to suggest that there should no repeat of the 4-0 hiding the Govan side endured on their last visit to Celtic Park in September. However, it is still difficult to imagine anything other than a home win that will effectively wrap up a second consecutive title for Ange Postecoglou's side and a second trophy of the season to add to the Viaplay Cup lifted in February. Celtic may have looked flat in Dingwall last Saturday, having laboured to overcome 10-man Hibs before the international break, but they have shown in previous Old Firm fixtures that they can raise their game to a level that Rangers cannot live with, particularly on home soil, where they will be backed by a racous home crowd with no away support in attendance. Celtic have better, quicker players across almost all areas of the pitch and a clear idea of their strongest starting XI, while Rangers, by contrast, are still in transition under Beale with new signings Todd Cantwell and Nico Raskin set for their first Old Firm starts after being left on the bench for the cup final defeat, while their supposed attacking talisman Alfredo Morelos is out of form and seemingly on his way out of Ibrox. For Rangers, the bigger derby awaits at Hampden at the end of the month. Celtic 3 Rangers 1.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.