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  1. Soccer

Scottish Premiership - Football: Old Firm preview

It's Old Firm day in Scotland on Saturday as the Premiership's big two meet in a lunchtime showdown at Celtic Park.

Celtic versus Rangers, one of the great city derbies of the modern game, takes place at the famous East End arena with Ange Postecoglou's champions looking to extend their 100 per-cent start to the season.

For Rangers, two points behind their rivals after the first five rounds of matches, victory isn't an imperative but they will be desperate to avoid defeat, and the prospect of losing ground on Celtic even at this early stage of the campaign.

What

Celtic vs Rangers, Scottish Premiership

Where

Celtic Park, Glasgow

When

12:30, Saturday 3rd September, 2022

How to watch

Sky Sports

Odds

Celtic 10/11, Rangers 3/1, Draw 13/5

Free-scoring Bhoys hard to resist

Celtic are absolutely flying at the start of 2022-23, scoring goals for fun and sending out messages galore, not just to their domestic rivals but mighty Real Madrid as well, who they meet in Champions League action next week.

Celtic have played six matches this term and won the lot. That extends their unbeaten run to February. Their unbeaten run against Scottish opposition stretches back almost 12 months.

That loss was 1-0 at Livingston, the latest in a string of iffy results under new boss Ange Postecoglou. The knives were out back then for Mr Anonymous; now it's only plaudits flying around for Mr Victorious.

So far this season Celtic have won all matches by at least two goals, they crushed Dundee United 9-0 last weekend and have scored 25 goals with only two conceded. Ross County are the only side to have scored against them.

Gers juggle so far, so good

Rangers' boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst always knew the first month or so of the season was going to be a challenge juggling staying close to Celtic in the Premiership while trying to find a way into the Champions League.

And given what's unfolded over the last few weeks, they should be relatively pleased with their work so far.

There has been the one blip in the league, a self-inflicted wound with two players sent off in a 2-2 draw at Hibernian.

But the rest has worked out well. They have won their other four league games and, crucially, have made it through to the Champions League with an against-the-odds tenacity that should stand them in good stead for this examination.

Against Union Saint-Gilloise in the third qualifying round they had to recover from a 2-0 first-leg deficit and in the playoff round had to go to PSV and win. They've more than earned their right to enter into a group-stage campaign with Liverpool, Napoli and, next Wednesday, their first opponents, Ajax.

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Last season's formbook suggests a close call

Celtic are 10/11 to take care of business at a rocking Celtic Park with the Light Blues 3/1 shots. The draw is 13/5.

Last year Celtic romped to the title after Christmas as Rangers faltered but matches between the two were generally close.

The Gers won the first meeting 1-0, Celtic avenged that in February with a 3-0 win, backed that up with a 2-1 win at Ibrox two months later and the final league match ended 1-1.

They also clashed in an Scottish Cup semi-final at neutral Hampden Park where Celtic were firm favourites but it was Rangers who won it in extra-time, going on to beat Hearts in the final.

These matches are always feisty affairs, a real grudge match between two clubs whose long-standing rivalry is renowned the world over. And it's produced its share of spats, fights and controversies.

Last season, for example, there were 26 yellow cards flashed across the five matches. Remarkable, however, there wasn't a single red card. It's 1/16 both sides receive at least one card on Saturday, 4/11 both teams receive two or more.

Be wary of goal glut

There's a general assumption that if there are two things Old Firm matches produce, it is yellow cards and goals.

Over 2.5 goals is an 8/11 chance and clearly there is abundant striking power across both camps, Celtic's in particular.

But interestingly seven of the last ten match-ups between these Glasgow giants have yielded two goals or less.

Celtic fans would argue that they have goals in them from anywhere as eight different league scorers testifies. Incredibly, the bottom eight teams in the Premiership have scored fewer goals than Celtic have individual goalscorers.

Six-goal Kyogo Furuhashi has scored in the last four league games and is 7/2 to score first while Israeli team-mate Liel Abada has four goals to his name – despite only starting once. He's 6/4 to score at any time.

Penalty king James Tavernier, with three goals in all competitions so far, would perhaps be Gers' fans and backers' idea of a first scorer at 12/1.

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