Rangers v Celtic – Old Firm Derby Stat Attack

Rangers v Celtic – Old Firm Derby Stat Attack
Celtic v Rangers File Photo File photo dated 30-12-2017 of Rangers and Celtic fans segregated during the Scottish Premiership match. FILE PHOTO EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xIanxRutherfordx 56079597

As we head into the thick of March, followers of the Scottish Premiership strap themselves in for a rollercoaster ride. The top level of football in Scotland hangs in the balance as we near a grandstand finish with teams jostling for position across the board. At the summit, Glasgow Rangers stand proud after fighting back from a disastrous start under former boss Michael Beale. 

Successful Belgian manager Philippe Clement took the wheel and steered his employers away from the rocks and on course for a dramatic title race. Clement enjoyed a long winning run before bumping into last season’s treble winners, Celtic, at Parkhead. After suffering a narrow 2-1 loss in the Old Firm derby, the Gers quickly got back on track. From being eight points behind Celtic to leading the title charge, there’s something special happening in Govan. Fans can feel it in the air.

Will Rangers win a record 56th Scottish title, pulling further clear of Celtic? That remains to be seen, and fans can’t wait for the run-in. The leading soccer betting sites offer odds on the Premiership winner and have Rangers as favorites, despite Celtic enjoying a domestic clean-sweep less than 12 months ago. Regardless of what happens between now and the finish line, Premiership followers will enjoy a white-knuckle ride.

Five-star showing

Rangers hit the front in the title race for the first time on Sunday, 18th February, when beating St Johnstone 3-0 at McDiarmid Park. Celtic dropped two points the day before when the Hoops were held to a 1-1 home draw by Kilmarnock. That gave the Teddy Bears a golden opportunity to roar into pole position, and they did just that thanks to goals from new arrival Mohamed Diomande and a brace from captain James Tavernier.

Following that win over the Saints, Clement told the press his team was playing as a collective and showing signs they were reaching their potential. If fans were delighted with that battling win in Perth, there was more to come as the light blues returned to Ibrox. They hosted high-flying Hearts, who arrived in Govan sitting third in the league following an impressive winning streak. But Gers burst the Jambos bubble on a stunning Saturday.

Rangers put five goals past Hearts without reply, with Diomande again on the scoresheet, netting inside two minutes. Fellow January signings Oscar Cortes and Fabio Silva were also on the scoresheet, with number nine Cyriel Dessers scoring the other two goals. Those strikes completed a five-star performance and the rout of a capable Hearts side.

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All eyes on the Old Firm

There’s little to split the Old Firm in March, which puts extra emphasis on the next derby. Celtic have won both previous meetings this season, winning 1-0 at Ibrox and 2-1 at Celtic Park. They must complete the hattrick if they are to ensure the title race remains competitive, as a home win for Rangers could see the light blues pull further clear.

Will Clement’s men get the job done and put themselves firmly in the driving seat for the Premiership trophy by winning the next Old Firm derby from midday on Sunday 7th, April? The stats make for interesting reading as we dive into the numbers, looking for clues as to how the next derby might play out. Will Rangers use home advantage to secure a massive three points, or will Brendan Rodgers continue his unbeaten run against Gers this term?

The overall head-to-head stats show there’s very little between the teams, and that has always been the case. Rangers enjoy a slight advantage, having won the Old Firm derby 169 times against 166 victories for Celtic and 102 draws. Rangers last beat Celtic at Ibrox last May, easing to a 3-0 win thanks to goals from Todd Cantwell, John Soutar, and Fashion Sakala. 

Goals and specials

Sticking with the stats, we go a step further and look at the most recent trends. The warring neighbors from Glasgow have yet to produce a draw in seven games, a run stretching back to January 2023, and a 2-2 draw at Ibrox. That suggests another share of the points is unlikely in a game where a draw often feels like a loss or a missed opportunity.

The fixture has produced four goals in the two previous outings this season, with the aggregate score showing 3-1 in Celtic’s favor. Two of the last three games have produced three goals, but it’s worth noting one team has failed to find the net in three of the previous four. That may inspire some Rangers fans to support their team to beat Celtic without conceding a goal. Clement’s Bears kept a clean sheet against Hearts, St Johnstone, Ayr United, and Livingston in February.

When looking for scorers, the stats give us more to work with when preparing our predictions on the next Old Firm. Tavernier has scored three goals in his last five meetings with Celtic, and fans hope the captain leads by example again. The defender is the club’s top scorer at present with 15 goals, placing him one ahead of Dessers and the currently injured Abdallah Sima, who picked up a knock at the African Cup of Nations. It could land on Tavernier to fire his troops to the title.

Odds and predictions

What do the traders working at the leading online sportsbooks make of Rangers’ title chances this season? Gers have already lifted the season’s first piece of silverware, winning the League Cup late last year. They beat Aberdeen 1-0 in the final at Hampden, and bookies expect more of the same.

The current betting odds have Rangers as the favorites to win the Premiership, ahead of Celtic, with Hearts a distant third in another two-horse race. You can back Rangers to win the league or aim for a higher price and gamble your stake on a treble. Clement winning all three domestic trophies at the first time of asking would see the Belgian join an illustrious list of Rangers managers.

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