Everything rides on Sunday’s Old Firm for Rangers

Everything rides on Sunday’s Old Firm for Rangers
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 30: Callum McGregor of Celtic challenges Dujon Sterling of Rangers during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Rangers FC at Celtic Park Stadium on December 30, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

There is no doubt this Sunday’s Old Firm is the biggest one for an eon. Rarely in the past 10+ years have both sides been so evenly matched at this point of the season – usually one side of the Old Firm is clearly the stronger, and one is the weaker, but this time there’s a real parity going on.

Of course, us Rangers fans will point to Philippe Clement’s superior record compared with counterpart Brendan Rodgers since the Belgian took over, but as things stand, albeit by one point and with having played a game more, Celtic still top the table.

Add to that Rangers’ disappointing loss in December to the Parkhead side, in what was scripted to be Philippe Clement’s big arrival in that fixture, and things are far from foregone.

So while we can see a huge uplift since our manager came in, he flubbed his lines at Parkhead and we are still second, albeit with a game in hand.

Even though Celtic have been poor by their previous standards this season, with Rodgers really not getting the same from his team as his predecessor did, it’s the old cliché of form going out the window when these two meet.

And we can rarely remember an Old Firm which was more even, or had more riding on it.

Usually by this point in a season, the title is pretty much clear – in recent campaigns generally going to Celtic, or in 2021, ourselves.

This time? It’s genuinely hard to call, even as a faithful Rangers fan. We want to say that our team is stronger, manager is better etc etc yada.

But that can only be proven on that turf in Govan on Sunday.

And these two titans have rarely been closer in level, so despite the fact Rangers are actually favourites with the bookies at 5/4 (Celtic 2/1) we can’t call it.

The uncertain actors of the fitness of Ridvan, their McGregor and Palma, the way Sterling is used if he even starts, and the danger of Kyogo means it’s very unpredictable.

Crossing the fingers is all we can do.

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