Rangers team v Celtic: Old Firm priorities laid bare as Giovanni van Bronckhorst names strong side despite Europa League semi-final looming for champions
There’s no such thing as a meaningless Old Firm derby but Rangers can be forgiven for being slightly distracted at Parkhead this afternoon.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side are halfway through a two-legged semi-final for the Europa League against RB Leipzig and are very much still in the tie, but very much stretched in personnel.
Without established striker Kemar Roofe and Alfredo Morelos and headline signing Aaron Ramsey the champions have a threadbare squad some fans want wrapped in cotton-wool ahead of their Ibrox clash on Thursday. It all leads to a selection dilemma for the Dutch boss and he has set out his priorities with a team selection which has factored in the siginficance of their Sunday afternoon showdown across the city, with the risk and reward of overturning a 1-0 deficit to Leipzig in midweek.
Celtic could begin to have green and white ribbons tied to the trophy with a win, which would stretch their lead to nine points with nine remaining available – a scenario the returning away support at Parkhead will be keen to avoid. A draw will prolong the title race while Rangers could turn the pressure on the leaders with a win cutting the gap to three points.
It’s a difficult balancing act with many aspects at play in a crucial week on Edmiston Drive, and here is how Giovanni van Bronckhorst has decided to approach the fifth and final meeting of the Glasgow rivals this season, setting out a team to take something back across the city this afternoon.