MX23RW : Saturday, December 4 15:03:45| >> :120:18470:18470:
Dec 29, 2019 at 12.30pm UK at Celtic Park (Glasgow)
Attendance: 58,902
Edouard (42')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Kent (36'), Katic (56')

Preview: Celtic vs. Rangers - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Scottish Premiership clash between Celtic and Rangers, including team news and predicted lineups.

Celtic boast a five-point lead over Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership ahead of Sunday afternoon's Old Firm derby at the home of the reigning champions.

The Hoops have collected 52 points from their 19 league matches during the 2019-20 campaign, while Rangers are second with 47 points and have a game in hand on their bitter rivals.

Match preview

Celtic manager Neil Lennon pictured on November 28, 2019© Reuters

Celtic have hardly put a foot wrong in the Scottish Premiership this season, winning 17 of their 19 matches, suffering just one defeat in the process. They are the highest scorers in the division with 54 and have won their last 12 league matches during a stunning run of form.

Indeed, the team's only wobble in terms of the league came at the end of September when they drew 1-1 at Hibernian before suffering a 2-0 defeat at Livingston in their next clash.

The victories have continued to arrive since then, although it has not always been straightforward as three of their last five Scottish Premiership wins have been by the odd goal.

Rangers do not appear to be going away this season, and the fact that the Gers have a game in hand over Celtic means that an away win this weekend would make things incredibly interesting in Scotland's top tier.

Celtic ran out 2-0 winners in the reverse match back in September, though, and another positive result on Sunday afternoon would be a huge blow to Steven Gerrard's team at this stage of the campaign.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard looks dejected after the match on December 8, 2019© Reuters

It seems incredible to think that Rangers have not won the Scottish Premiership since 2011, and it is going to take some effort from the club to finish ahead of Celtic come the end of the season.

The Gers have only actually won one of the last 10 league meetings between the two teams, while not since October 2010 have they managed to triumph in an away match against the Hoops in the top tier.

Gerrard's side are very much in a title race at the moment, though, as they sit just five points off the leaders with a game in hand, having picked up 15 wins from their 18 matches thus far.

Rangers will enter this match off the back of a 1-0 win over Kilmarnock on Boxing Day, meaning that they have been victorious in their last three in the league since being held at Aberdeen on December 4.

There is no downplaying the importance of this match ahead of the mid-season break in Scotland, and it would be some result for the visitors if they could find a way to pick up all three points.

Celtic Scottish Premiership form: WWWWWW
Celtic form (all competitions): WLWWWW

Rangers Scottish Premiership form: WWDWWW
Rangers form (all competitions): DLDWWW

Team News

Alfredo Morelos in action for Rangers on December 12, 2019© Reuters

Celtic will again be without the services of Daniel Arzani, Jozo Simunovic, Hatem Abd Elhamed and Mohamed Elyounoussi through injury, but the team have no fresh injury concerns from Thursday's win at St Mirren.

Odsonne Edouard will again lead the line for the champions with support from Ryan Christie and James Forrest, meaning that Leigh Griffiths is likely to start on the bench once again.

Jeremie Frimpong will also feature at right-back having developed into an important player for the club.

As for Rangers, Alfredo Morelos will be looking to break an 11-game drought against Celtic when he takes to the field for the visitors on Sunday afternoon.

The Colombian was on the scoresheet against Kilmarnock on Boxing Day and is expected to return to the starting XI at the expense of Jermain Defoe.

Filip Helander is still out with a foot injury, but Gerrard's side suffered no fresh concerns in Thursday's clash and therefore the bulk of the XI is expected to remain the same.

Celtic possible starting lineup:
Foster; Frimpong, Jullien, Ajer, Bolingoli; McGregor, Brown; Christie, Ntcham, Forrest; Edouard

Rangers possible starting lineup:
McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Katic, Barisic; Kamara, Jack, Arfield; Kent, Morelos, Aribo

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Celtic 1-1 Rangers

Both managers will fancy their chances of picking up a win this weekend, but we are finding it difficult to separate the two teams. The pair have won 32 league matches between them already during the 2019-20 campaign; we fancy a low-scoring draw this weekend, though.

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Borna Barisic in action for Rangers on October 3, 2019
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