Rangers vs. Celtic Ibrox, Glasgow, Scotland 7:30 AM EST Sunday October 4, 2009
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
In a one of the biggest rivalries in all of soccer Rangers take on Celtic at Ibrox in Glasgow, Scotland on Sunday afternoon. This game brings out the best, and worst, of all soccer fans, as this match up is always a fun one to watch where tensions are high.
It is no shock that these clubs are 1-2 in the Scotland Premier League standings, as Celtic is in 1st place with 16 points and Rangers is in 2nd place with 12 points. Celtic has started the season on fire, as they have yet to lose a match in league play (5 wins 1 draw). While Rangers also have yet to lose a match they have played to 3 draws with 3 wins, as their offense is struggling to score goals with only 10 goals in 6 league matches.
Generally every derby match between these 2 teams determines the outcome of the league winner and this match is no different, as Rangers really need to win this match to keep pace with Celtic.
Both teams are coming off disappointing European matches at home this past week, as Sevilla crushed Rangers 4-1 in a Champions League match while Celtic played to a 1-1 draw against Rapid Vienna.
Rangers have not scored in their last 3 Scotland Premier League matches, as in all of those matches they played to a 0-0 draw. Their last goal scored in league was from defender Steven Whittaker. Rangers need to find their offense in this game against a Celtic squad that has scored 14 goals in their 6 league matches.
The moneylines for this match has the home Rangers posted as the favorite at +125 with Celtic the underdog at +190 with a draw at +220.
Rangers Recent Form:
9/29/2009 Rangers 1 Sevilla 4 (Champions League)
9/26/2009 Rangers 0 Aberdeen 0 (Scotland Premier League)
9/23/2009 Queen of the South 1 Rangers 2 (Scottish League Cup)
9/19/2009 Kilmarnock 0 Rangers 0 (Scotland Premier League)
9/16/2009 Stuttgart 1 Rangers 1 (Champions League)
Celtic Recent Form:
10/1/2009 Celtic 1 Rapid Vienna 1 (Europa League)
9/26/2009 St Mirren 0 Celtic 2 (Scotland Premier League)
9/23/2009 Falkirk 0 Celtic 4 (Scottish League Cup)
9/20/2009 Celtic 2 Hearts 1 (Scotland Premier League)
9/17/2009 Hapoel Tel Aviv 2 Celtic 1 (Europa League)
Both Steven Davis and Sasa Papac returned from injury to play against Sevilla, although it did not help, and each will be available in this match. Kyle Lafferty may be a surprise addition to the Rangers squad in this match. Maurice Edu and Kirk Broadfoot are still out with long-term injuries.
Both Paddy McCourt and Andreas Hinkel of Celtic were rested against Rapid Vienna for this big derby match and each is available and Hinkel should start. Aiden McGeady will make the trip to Ibrox, but he is still bothered by an ankle injury.
Kyle Lafferty of Rangers may get a surprise start in this match if he is match fit and this would be his first appearance of the young season. Many Rangers’ fans have though that since he has not been on the pitch it is the main reason they are having trouble in front of the goal.
Striker Kris Boyd of Rangers may start on the bench, but if the Rangers’ offense continues to struggle they will need his offense and he may be an early substitution.
Rangers have their work cut out for them trying to score on a stingy Celtic defense, as recent addition defender Danny Fox has been solid in keeping opponents from getting open near the goal.
Conversely, Celtic has to try to break through a Rangers’ defense that has only allowed 3 goals in 6 league matches.
Celtic has been playing with fire all season, as they have a penchant for giving up an early goal and then having to come from behind, which they have been able to do in league play. However, that will not be easy against the back defenders of Rangers.
Jason’s Pick: This early in the season you can be sure that both teams will be cautious. This match is hardly ever a blowout, as one goal tends to be the difference maker. The Rangers have a decidedly home advantage in this match, as they tend to play well at Ibrox. I see a low scoring match and for a draw of 0-0 or 1-1 to be the outcome, but if I had to pick a winner I would go with the Rangers at home.