Celtic have a nine-point lead over Rangers in the Scottish Premiership title race; both sides are unbeaten in the league since the World Cup break; watch Celtic vs Rangers on Saturday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 12.30pm
By Alison Conroy, Digital Sports Journalist @AlisonGConroy
Celtic host Rangers on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, in a game that could make or break the Scottish Premiership title race.
Going into the clash, Ange Postecoglou’s side have a comfortable nine-point lead over their Old Firm rivals in the table.
Rangers are on their own impressive run under Michael Beale, but have failed to win any of their last five league matches at Celtic Park.
There will be no away supporters present at Parkhead, with Rangers set to run out to 60,000 Hoops fans as they look to hold on to the faint hope of overhauling Postecoglou’s side this season.
Here, we take a look at some of the key talking points ahead of this weekend’s hotly anticipated showdown…
This season’s meetings so far
Both sides have won every league match against the other 10 teams in the top flight since the World Cup break, meaning Rangers have been unable to cut into Celtic’s advantage in the title race.
Postecoglou’s side blew their rivals away in the first Old Firm of the season, winning 4-0, but needed a late goal from Kyogo Furuhashi to secure a 2-2 draw at Ibrox in January.
Celtic also claimed victory over their Old Firm rivals in the League Cup final at Hampden Park in February, with Kyogo scoring a double to ensure they retained the trophy.
Can Rangers still catch Celtic?
Beale has previously admitted the chances of Rangers winning the Scottish Premiership this season are low due to the “outstanding” form of Celtic.
However, if Rangers can find a way to end Celtic’s dominance at home, where they have not dropped any points this season, the gap would be cut to six points.
Rangers would then welcome Celtic to Ibrox for a further meeting after the split, meaning Beale’s team could then reduce the gap further, to three points.
The issue Rangers face is they would still require Celtic to lose a further match, and require a big 27-goal swing in the goal difference.
Who replaces Hatate as Mooy returns?
Celtic were not at their best as they overcame Ross County 2-0 in their last league game on Sunday.
Midfielders Reo Hatate and Aaron Mooy both missed that match through injury, with captain Callum McGregor playing higher up and Tomoki Iwata making his first start since joining the club in January.
On Saturday, Postecoglou will again be without Hatate, but the Parkhead boss says he is “confident” the depth in his squad is enough to see the league leaders see off their rivals.
Defender Anthony Ralston and striker Liel Abada are, however, set to be missing again.
How do Rangers line up?
Beale has told his Rangers players they will need to be more clinical than in recent weeks if they are to take anything against Celtic on Saturday.
They claimed a 1-1 draw at Parkhead last May with Joe Aribo playing as a false nine.
With Alfredo Morelos and Antonio Colak failing to make an impact in this season’s previous league meetings, Kris Boyd believes that could be an option for the manager again.
Malik Tillman will be ready to continue his good form after two goals against Dundee United while Nicolas Raskin could be in contention after returning from injury after a month out.
John Souttar and Ridvan Yilmaz are also back in the squad, with the former making an appearance off the bench in the win over ex-club Dundee United in their last game.
Ianis Hagi missed that fixture with illness but is expected to return, while Steven Davis, Kemar Roofe and Tom Lawrence are out for the rest of this season.
No away support
There will be no away fans at the last two Old Firm league games of the season.
After talks between the clubs, it was agreed travelling supporters would not be given an allocation for either game amid concerns about safety and security.
It follows a similar situation last season when there was no visiting support at the first two league games between the Glasgow rivals before that decision was reversed.
Less than 1,000 away tickets were given for the first two meetings of this season.
Scottish Premiership and SWPL on Sky Sports
Sky Sports – This season up to 48 cinch Premiership games will be available across Sky Sports’ flagship channels, including Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event, plus at least five SWPL matches. From 2024/25, up to 60 cinch Premiership will be live on Sky Sports, in addition to the SWPL.
Sky Sports News – Running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Scottish football fans can enjoy Sky Sports News’ (channel 409) rolling editorial coverage of the cinch Premiership and SWPL throughout the season.
Sky Sports Digital – Follow all the latest from Scottish football across skysports.com and app, including exclusive features and interviews, plus dedicated live blog coverage, in-game clips from matches live on Sky Sports and free highlights.
Sky Sports Social – Alongside coverage and visibility for the league across all Sky Sports’ main social media channels, the bespoke Twitter channel @ScotlandSky will continue to be the home of all Scottish football content on Sky Sports.
Highlights show – Tune in for a dedicated round-up from the cinch Premiership every week on Sky Sports Football.
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