'Celtic look capable of turning it on when they want': Journalists' predictions for the Betfred Cup final

Ryan Christie and Steven Davis compete during the Old Firm game in September.
Ryan Christie and Steven Davis compete during the Old Firm game in September.
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Our online team try to predict the correct result of the Betfred Cup final between Celtic and Rangers on Sunday at Hampden.

Patrick McPartlin

Rangers have got to win some silverware sooner or later, surely? They look to have all the components this season and - on their day - are capable of blowing teams away with great gusto. But, barring one or two matches, Celtic appear to be their Kryptonite. Even when most were backing Steven Gerrard's side to beat Celtic earlier this season, the Hoops came out on top. Whatever Neil Lennon says to his team before they face Rangers seems to do the trick. The midweek action, too, may have a telling impact on Sunday. Celtic's last-gasp victory after conceding a 90th minute equaliser, and Rangers throwing away a two-goal lead at Aberdeen will undoubtedly have had a galvanising effect for the green and white half of Glasgow, while failing to win at Pittodrie could play on the Rangers players' minds. Ultimately, Celtic look capable of turning it on when they want, and no matter how well Rangers play, it may not be enough. Prediction: Celtic win

Craig Fowler

Sunday's match may be decided by which one of two key players misses the Hampden showdown. For Celtic a question mark remains over the fitness of leading striker Odsonne Edouard, despite the confident noises coming from Neil Lennon. The Frenchman has missed the last three matches with what is thought to be a hamstring injury. Rangers, meanwhile, may be without Borna Barisic after the Croatian left-back was absent from the trip to Aberdeen on Wednesday. Edouard's goals are obviously hugely important for Celtic, but Barisic has been in terrific form in recent weeks and his crossing ability from the left is a key aspect of the Rangers attack. With Jon Flanagan or Andy Halliday in the role, the same threat just isn't there. As it stands, Edouard looks more likely to make it than Barisic, and even if he doesn't Leigh Griffiths could be in line to start after working his fitness up in a series of substitute appearances lately. Rangers don't have that same quality in reserve for left-back, and I'll go with that as the slimmest of margins to separate the sides. Prediction: Celtic win

Moira Gordon

It would be ridiculous to write off Rangers given they continue to nip at Celtic’s heels in the league and have shown grit and ability to raise their game in Europe. But it would also be folly to assume that just because the Ibrox side have improved, Celtic don’t have the fire in the belly or the quality to rise above that challenge. Neil Lennon’s side emerged victorious when the sides met in the league earlier in the season. Whether in Europe or, even on midweek duty against Hamilton, Celtic have shown they have the will and several ways to win games and have not grown tired of doing so when it really counts. Prediction: Celtic win

Andrew Smith

Across Celtic’s seemingly never-ending run of cup tie success (30 wins in a row), they have never faced a challenge as real and present as Rangers ought to pose on Sunday. Therein lies the good news for Steven Gerrard’s men. The bad news is the 11 consecutive victories the treble treble winners have racked up in the past two months. Celtic are in fine fettle but were Odsonne Edouard to miss out through injury, the potency of Neil Lennon’s side certainly would be affected. Yet, the fact is that Celtic possess greater heft both in defence and midfield so should Ryan Christie or Lewis Morgan be required to fill in for the Frenchman, Rangers are likely to be vulnerable to the champions’ multi-pronged attack. Prediction: Celtic win

Alan Pattullo​

Rangers can still appear fallible, as they proved in midweek at Pittodrie. Celtic, meanwhile, are very much in the groove and while a last-minute win against Hamilton Accies might not be anything to boast about, its significance and the manner in which they secured the three points can only boost confidence. They are finding ways to win. Rangers are not exactly doing badly on that front even given the events in midweek. But Pittodrie might be a timely reminder that they are not yet the real deal. Nothing good will come from backing off against Celtic. Much of course rests on Alfredo Morelos and whether he can break his duck in this fixture. I think he will but take Celtic to eke out a narrow win. Prediction: Celtic win