Who will Come Out on Top in the Old Firm Title Decider at Ibrox?

On Sunday April 7, Rangers will be facing Celtic in an all-important title decider at Ibrox. The Hoops are currently top of the league by a point, but the Light Blues have a game in hand. Celtic have won the last two Old Firm games winning 1-0 at Ibrox, and 2-1 at Celtic Park. 


When Philippe Clement took charge of Rangers in October last year, they were seven points behind Celtic in the league. Since then, the Ibrox club have won the Scottish League Cup, made the last 16 of the Europa League, and are right back in the title race. Something that seemed unlikely considering how bad the situation was in the league under previous manager Michael Beale, who was sacked after only 11 months in charge. 



The Parkhead side have gone backwards since Brendan Rodgers returned to the club as they crashed out of the League Cup in the last 16, finished rock bottom of their Champions League group, and have dropped a total of 19 points in the league. Rodgers has split opinion amongst the Celtic support, as many still haven’t forgiven him for he departed the club five years ago for Leicester City. So, there is massive pressure on the Northern Irishman to deliver the Celts’ 54th league title. 


Whoever comes out on top at Ibrox will be hot favourites to go on to secure the Premiership title. This is the most important Old Firm derby in nearly a decade, and it will have huge ramifications for the team that loses. There isn’t a whole lot between both sides but who are the key players that could make a difference?


James Tavernier 


James Tavernier has been on blistering form this season scoring 22 goals with ten assists and managed to find the back of the net in the last Old Firm game at Celtic Park scoring a free kick in the late stages of the game. The right-back will pose a huge threat from set-pieces and especially from the penalty spot. The Englishman can create something from nothing and thrives on playing in big occasions. 


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Callum McGregor


In the last two Old Firm games, Callum McGregor’s played a vital role in helping Celtic win both games as he dominated the midfield with ease. The Celtic captain has missed the last four games due to injury, but Rodgers said that there is a “very good chance” he could be ready for Sunday. The Scotland international could make all the difference if Celtic were to get a result.



Jack Butland


Jack Butland has been the Gers’ best player this season and is a massive reason why they’re back in the title race. The shot-stopper will no doubt be called into action, and he’ll have to be switched on at all times.


Matt O’Riley 

The playmaker of this Celtic side is Matt O’Riley. The midfielder has scored 12 goals and gained 16 assists and has found a new lease of life since Rodgers has returned to the club. Rangers will need to be wary of the threat that he will pose in that midfield area.


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Rabbi Matondo


After scoring a spectacular goal against Hibs last week, Rabbi Matondo has put himself in a strong position to start against Celtic. The quick and tricky winger could be a thorn in the side for right-back Alistair Johnston and will give Rangers that energy they’ll need in the final-third. 


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Kyogo Furuhashi 


Kyogo’s scored seven times in this fixture and was instrumental in Celtic’s last two Old Firm victories scoring in both games. Despite not hitting the same heights as last season when the striker scored 34 goals – he’s got 15 goals to his tally this campaign but has proven that he always rises to the occasion on derby day. 


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John Lundstram 


John Lundstram’s dictated the play of the Rangers midfield this season – being the vocal point of it and is an important part in how they play. The midfield battle could determine who goes on to win or lose this game. It’s crucial for Clement’s men they dominate that area as they’ve failed to do so in recent games against Celtic. 



Cameron Carter-Vickers


Cyriel Dessers will have to be at the top of his game if he’s to come up against Cameron Carter-Vickers. The centre-half has struggled with injuries this season but recently returned to the starting 11 in Celtic’s 3-1 win over St Johnstone. Carter-Vickers is a strong, commanding defender who is one of the best players in the country.



Tom Lawrence 


Tom Lawrence is another Old Firm player that’s struggled with injuries in the past but has been in fine form playing in that number ten role for Rangers. The Welshman’s movement and ability to pick out effective passes in the final-third could be a big advantage for the Ibrox club if he was to feature. 


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Cyriel Dessers


Cyriel Dessers has scored 16 goals this season but has failed to deliver against Celtic. The striker knows how to get into the right areas for chances to fall at his feet, and if he is to receive excellent service in the 6-yard-box, there’s a good chance he’ll slot the ball into the back of the net. 



The Old Firm game will be contested in front of 50,000 Rangers fans with not one Celtic fan in the stands present. This Rangers team have received criticism for not turning up when it matters but they have a great opportunity to prove the doubters wrong. If they were to win against Rodgers’ men, it will be their league title to lose, and the pressure will only increase on the Celtic manager.


By: Scott Bradley / @ScottBradleyX

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Masashi Hara / Getty Images