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Rangers v Celtic
Sunday, May 2: 12pm
Sky Sports Football
All four Old Firms in league and cup this season have resulted in two goals or fewer and there is no reason to believe that Sunday’s clash will be any different. Rangers’ defence has been simply too good this season, boasting a staggering record of 12 goals conceded in 35 league games – a record of essentially one goal conceded in every three games.
Celtic have managed just one goal against Rangers all season, finding Allan McGregor in excellent form whenever they do find a way past the resilient back four. Celtic’s defensive record is nothing to be sneered at either. The Hoops have conceded 25 goals in 35 games – a record that would be deemed very good if it were not placed next to Rangers’. It is no surprise that none of the last four games have been high scoring.
Rangers’ excellent season is in serious danger of petering out to a forgettable conclusion following their shock Scottish Cup exit at the hands of St. Johnstone last week. Steven Gerrard’s side have been utterly dominant in the league and fully deserve their first title in 10 years, but it would be a kick in the teeth if they were to lose their invincible record at the hands of their arch-rivals.
Of course, there are two games remaining following the final Old Firm of the season and Rangers will still have to navigate their way past Livingston and Aberdeen, but Celtic will be desperate to prevent Rangers from emulating their achievement in the 2016/17 season.
Despite holding the upper hand in recent Old Firms, Rangers will undoubtedly be nervous on Sunday and would probably bite your hand off for a draw right now. Gerrard’s side are unbeaten in five meetings against Celtic in all competitions, winning four, but they weathered more than a few storms in that five-game spell.
Celtic passed up a host of glorious opportunities in the league clash between the sides in January, while they also spurned several gilt-edged chances in their recent Scottish Cup defeat. They will hope that they can convert their chances if similar opportunities come their way on Sunday but will almost certainly struggle to break down a Rangers defence that has conceded just three goals in 17 league games at Ibrox.
Alfredo Morelos finally ended his long goal drought against Celtic when he netted in a 1-1 draw between the sides at Celtic Park in March. The Colombian forward had failed to score in 14 previous appearances against their rivals, so a goal would have proved the perfect tonic, especially as it helped preserve Rangers’ unbeaten record in the league.
Morelos hasn’t scored for Rangers since netting that equaliser and has some work to do if he wants to finish as the club’s top scorer and avoid the ignominy of finishing behind a defender in the scoring charts. Morelos is currently two goals behind James Tavernier in Rangers’ scoring charts and has three games to catch the right back.
What better way to kickstart that comeback than by netting in a second successive league game against Celtic?
Celtic have gone behind in four of the last five Old Firms and have only managed to draw level with Rangers once in those four games. They will have to show more composure in front of goal if they want to avoid defeat at Ibrox on Sunday, but they are more than capable of doing so.
Rangers v Celtic tips
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