MX23RW : Wednesday, May 15 09:21:38| >> :600:337125:337125:
May 12, 2019 at 12pm UK at ​Ibrox Stadium (Glasgow)
Attendance: 49,844
Tavernier (2'), Arfield (63')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Rangers vs. Celtic - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Scottish Premiership clash between Rangers and Celtic, including team news and predicted lineups.

Rangers and Celtic meet for the fourth and final time this season in the Scottish Premiership with Old Firm bragging rights on the line at Ibrox.

There may be nothing to play for in terms of the title race, with the visitors wrapping things up last weekend, but both teams will be desperate to get one over on their rivals in the penultimate round of fixtures.


Steven Gerrard pictured before Rangers' Scottish Premiership clash with Celtic on March 31, 2019© Reuters

The aim for Steven Gerrard this season was to push Celtic all the way in the Scottish Premiership, while also challenging for silverware in the domestic and European cups.

Rangers failed to qualify from their Europa League group and exited the Scottish League Cup and Scottish Cup at the semi-final and quarter-final stage respectively, both at the hands of Aberdeen.

Gerrard's men are guaranteed a runners-up spot in the league, though, and that has to be considered a good return for the ex-Liverpool midfielder in his maiden campaign in management.

The Gers are ending the season on a high thanks to five victories on the bounce, scoring 12 goals and conceding just one during that run, which started after a 2-1 loss to Celtic at the end of March.

Had the Light Blues defeated their bitter rivals in that most recent encounter, there may have been a slightly more dramatic conclusion to the campaign.

As it is, though, the Hoops are nine points better off with two games to go. The best-case scenario for Rangers is to finish the campaign within three points of their neighbours.

Gerrard has compiled a squad that, perhaps with one or two further additions, looks good enough to put together an even stronger title challenge in 2019-20.

Finishing second this season was, in the view of many, the highest target Gerrard could aim for. With victory over Celtic on Sunday, though, he can prove that his side have what it takes to go one better next time around.

Recent form in Scottish Premiership: LWWWWW


Neil Lennon celebrates Celtic's title win on May 4, 2019© Reuters

Last weekend's 3-0 win against Aberdeen at Pittodrie was enough for Celtic to officially get over the line and celebrate an eighth title triumph in a row.

Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic and Odsonne Edouard were all on target last Saturday, taking the pressure off this latest trip to Ibrox.

Celtic are now aiming to make it a 'treble treble' by overcoming Hearts in the Scottish Cup at Hampden Park at the end of the month, having already sealed the Scottish League Cup with victory against Rangers' conquerors Aberdeen in December.

That latest cup success came with Brendan Rodgers at the helm, but it has been all change since then following the Northern Irishman's surprise decision to leave Paradise two-thirds of the way through the season.

Neil Lennon was brought in for a second spell in charge and has gone 10 matches without defeat, most recently guiding his side to back-to-back victories over Kilmarnock and Aberdeen.

With the title wrapped up with time to spare, there was the prospect of Rangers having to hold a guard of honour for their Old Firm rivals.

However, Gerrard has confirmed that the Gers will not follow tradition. That has only added even more spice to this fixture, with Lennon accusing Rangers of lacking respect.

Celtic head into the match having not conceded a goal in their last six matches in all competitions. It is not yet known whether Lennon will retain the job beyond the summer, but should this positive run of form continue with victory over Rangers, he will be as well placed as anyone to guide the Hoops forward for the long term.

Recent form in Scottish Premiership: WWDDWW
Recent form (all competitions): WDWDWW

Team News

Jermaine Defoe pictured in Rangers gear in March 2019© Reuters

Rangers are without first-choice goalkeeper Allan McGregor after he was sent off for kicking out at Hibernian striker Marc McNulty last week.

Kyle Lafferty, Lee Wallace and Eros Grezda are all nursing knocks, seeing them join Gareth McAuley, Graham Dorrans and Jamie Murphy on Gerrard's list of absentees.

Rangers have outscored every other side in the Scottish Premiership this season, and no player has scored more than Alfredo Morelos's 17.

Jermain Defoe has chipped in with eight of his side's 79 goals since joining on loan from Bournemouth in January, including three in five since Morelos was handed a four-match ban. Despite Morelos being back available, Defoe may still get the nod on Sunday.

As for the visitors, Kieran Tierney has to undergo an operation on a double hernia at the end of the season and Lennon is monitoring his fitness until then.

Ryan Christie, Vakoun Bayo, Jack Hendry, Dedryck Boyata, Craig Gordon, Eboue Kouassi and Daniel Arzani are all definitely out, meanwhile, and Leigh Griffiths will not make his return to action this weekend.

Celtic will also have to make do without Paris Saint-Germain loanee Timothy Weah for their remaining matches as he has linked up with the USA Under-20s squad ahead of their World Cup campaign, so Edouard is almost certain to lead the line at Ibrox.

Rangers possible starting lineup:
Foderingham; Tavernier, Goldson, Katic, Flanagan; Jack, Davis, Kamara; Kent, Arfield; Defoe

Celtic possible starting lineup:
Bain; Lustig, Simunovic, Ajer, Hayes; Brown, McGregor; Forrest, Rogic, Sinclair; Edouard

Head To Head

Celtic have won two of the three previous encounters this season, including a 2-1 victory when the sides met at Paradise six weeks ago to move 13 points clear at the time.

The Hoops won 1-0 on home soil in August through an Olivier Ntcham goal shortly after the hour, but the most recent meeting at Ibrox ended in a 1-0 victory for Rangers thanks to Ryan Jack's 30th-minute effort.

Overall, Celtic and Rangers have played each other 416 times in major competitions. The Light Blues have won 160 matches, compared to 157 wins for their opponents.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Rangers 1-1 Celtic

Rangers are seeking a sixth win on the spin in the Scottish Premiership with victory over their Old Firm rivals. That would help to soften the blow of missing out on silverware, while also setting up Gerrard's men for a big summer. Celtic have become incredibly hard to break down, though, and that resilience should be on show at Ibrox.

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Who will win Sunday's Old Firm derby?

Celtic's Scott Sinclair celebrates scoring the winner with teammates on November 29, 2018
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