Celtic v Rangers – Saturday 12:00, Sky Sports 2
For the first time in four years, Celtic and Rangers rekindle their historic rivalry in the league at Celtic Park. Scotland’s two biggest clubs sit first and second and are both unbeaten. Celtic have started the Brendan Rodgers era in impressive fashion, notching up 10 goals in their first three domestic fixtures. Rangers have played one more game than their arch-rivals and have coupled a pair of wins with two draws.
Despite an impressive start to the new season it would appear the defensive frailties that hindered much of Rodgers’s reign at Liverpool have followed him to Glasgow. Rodgers took charge of 121 league games during his tenure at Anfield and his side conceded an average of 1.25 goals per game. In their three victories so far this season Celtic have conceded four times and this follows the trend that even though the Hoops tend to win they often struggle to keep clean sheets.
It’s a similar story with Rangers, who like Celtic are very strong going forward as shown by the 88 goals they scored in the Championship last term. They do however tend to concede, particularly away from Ibrox, with both sides finding the target in 11 of their 18 away games last term. Another reason to think there will be goals in this one is the welcome return for Gers fans of Martyn Waghorn. He’s scored five goals in four appearances this season but has been missing for the past month with a hamstring injury and when he’s started since the beginning of last season Rangers have averaged 2.65 goals per game.
There is no denying that Rangers have made a couple of shrewd signings over the summer in Barton and Kranjcar and they both strengthen the squad. However, they still look weak compared to Celtic, who have a number of players who’ve experienced the ferocity and tempo of an Old Firm derby before. We’re backing the Hoops to win a high scoring affair with both teams scoring, particularly as in the last 10 games both sides have played, there have been more than two goals in seven of Rangers matches and eight of Celtic’s.