Preview: Rangers v Celtic in crucial Scottish Premiership clash

Preview: Rangers v Celtic in crucial Scottish Premiership clash

CELTIC travel to Rangers today for the sides' second league meeting of the season in what is arguably a must-win game for the Ibrox side.

With the Scottish Premiership currently at the halfway point, Rangers trail their Glasgow rivals by nine points.

A win for Michael Beale's side in his first derby as Rangers manager would cut the gap to six points with two derby games remaining.

A morale-boosting victory would also give the Govan side a psychological lift as they look to claw back the deficit at the top of the table.

However, defeat to Ange Postecoglou's men would leave Rangers 12 points adrift and with a mountain to climb to rescue their title hopes.


Both sides enter the clash off the back of recent good form.

Since replacing Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Beale has won all four of his games in charge.

The first three of those were by the odd goal, with Rangers conceding four in that time.

Ryan Kent of Rangers vies with Celtic’s Liel Abada at Celtic Park in September 2022 (Image: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

However, they ended 2022 with a comfortable 3-0 home win over Motherwell.

Celtic, meanwhile, have won all 12 of their league games since a shock 2-0 defeat at St Mirren in September.

That loss was also their only league defeat in their last 51 Premiership matches.

The Hoops rounded off the year with a thumping 4-0 win over Hibs.


Celtic outclassed Rangers in the first meeting between the sides this season, running out 4-0 winners at Celtic Park, with Liel Abada grabbing a brace.

In his debut season last term, Postecoglou had the edge in the league, winning two of their four meetings — including a 2-1 victory at Ibrox — and drawing one.

Rangers, however, ended Celtic's treble hopes with a 2-1 extra-time win in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden in April.

As a coach at Ibrox under Steven Gerrard, Beale helped end Celtic's 10-in-a-row hopes in the 2020/21 season, with Rangers winning three and drawing one of their four league meetings that term.

Squad news

Celtic have a full panel to choose from, with all four of their World Cup players back in the fold.

New arrivals Alistair Johnston and Yuki Kobayashi are available but it is unlikely Postecoglou will throw either into the starting line-up in such a high-profile game.

Fellow new signing Tomoki Iwata is unavailable as he is reportedly yet to arrive in Glasgow since a loan deal was struck with Yokohama F. Marinos.

He will join the Hoops permanently in the summer.

Tomoki Iwata is unavailable for Celtic despite signing on loan from Yokohama F. Marinos (Image: Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

Rangers' influential midfielder Steven Davis has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury just before Christmas.

He joins summer arrivals Ridvan Yilmaz, Tom Lawrence and John Souttar on the injury list, with the latter two having missed most of the season so far.

All three are expected back this month, however Monday's game will likely be too soon for any to feature.

Felipe Helander (foot injury) and Ianis Hagi (knee surgery) have not featured at all this season.

What the managers have said

Speaking to Sky Sports, Celtic boss Postecoglou said: "It's one of the biggest games on the world football calendar.

"Not just in Scotland, but everyone around the world knows Celtic vs Rangers at any time of year is a special one, but especially around the new year time.

"I'm looking forward to it, it should be a great atmosphere, they're up and running, they've had some good form so it should be a good game."

Ange Postecoglou has lost just one of his last 51 league games in charge of Celtic (Image: Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

According to the BBC, Beale said he would look to exploit vulnerabilities in the Celtic side.

"Winning this game doesn't make everything rosy," he said.

"The result needs to be the same as the last four.

"The performance, whatever it takes to get it, as long as the result is the same I'll be happy.

Michael Beale has made a winning start to life as Rangers manager (Image: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

"We don't have the rhythm that Celtic have right now — that's a fact, it's not an excuse.

"All the form, all the consistency, all the continuity is in the other camp but that's fine, two teams play the game and I'm looking forward to it.

"They can be vulnerable, like any team.

"It's important my team focus on that and we play to our level and if we do the game will be close. If we don't it won't be."


Paddy Power have Rangers at 21/10, Celtic at 23/20 and a draw priced at 5/2.

Match details and TV options

The game kicks off at Ibrox at 12.30pm GMT.

Viewers in Ireland and Britain can follow the action on Sky Sports Main Event from 11.30am GMT.

US viewers can watch the game on CBS Sports Network, kick-off 7.30am ET.